KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Djimi Traoré spoiled Kei Kamara's homecoming party, seconds before it ended.
Traoré's opportunistic goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time lifted the Seattle Sounders to a shocking 1-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday night, in Kamara's first game back with Sporting since the close of the winger's loan to English side Norwich City.
After a throw-in deep in Sporting's end, center back Aurélien Collin whiffed his clearance attempt on Brad Evans' pass into the middle of the box. Traoré was right there to take advantage, firing past Jimmy Nielsen from short range to hand Sporting (5-3-3) their third shutout loss in their last four matches.
Michael Gspurning made three routine saves and earned his third clean sheet for the Sounders (2-3-3), who extended their unbeaten streak to four in the first Seattle-Sporting match since Kansas City's shootout win in the 2012 US Open Cup final.
Until Traoré's goal, the match appeared headed for a controversial draw marked by a first-half no-call in Sporting's penalty area and the ejection of backup Sounders goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann.
Hahnemann was dismissed from the bench area in the 24th minute for “using foul or abusive language,” shortly after an apparent handball on Sporting's Ike Opara in Kansas City's penalty area. Replays showed a long throw-in appearing to hit Opara's upper arm, which was in an extended position.
Kamara, who returned from England on Sunday, drew the loudest cheers of the night when he came on in the 73rd minute for Jacob Peterson. He warmed up in the locker room, so fans did not know he was about to enter the match until he came out of the tunnel and took his place on the sideline.
The Sounders host San Jose on Saturday for a Western Conference matchup. Sporting travel Sunday to Houston, their first meeting with the Dynamo since Houston knocked them out of the 2012 Eastern Conference playoffs by a 2-1 aggregate.
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Djimi Traore (SEA)||Changed the course of a game destined for 0-0, and also defended well all evening.|
|2||Oriol Rosell (SKC)||The Spaniard continues to thrive in his tempo-setting duties at the base of midfield.|
|3||Brad Evans (SEA)||Covered plenty of ground and roamed forward to good effect, including a role in Traoré's winner.|