The Seattle Sounders reclaimed the Western Conference's top spot thanks to a huge 2-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City at Children's Mercy Park on Sunday behind goals from Cristian Roldan and Will Bruin.

After Roldan's opener and Bruin's 55th-minute tally put the Sounders up 2-0, Johnny Russell netted in the second half for Sporting to set up a nervy final half-hour for the visitors. But Seattle saw out all three points and vaulted over their Western Conference counterparts for the top spot on the table with 48 points from 25 matches.

Neither side generated much by way of chances through the opening half-hour, until Roldan found a breakthrough for the visitors on 31 minutes. Homegrown midfielder Josh Atencio started the sequence by winning the ball in the Sporting KC end, with Brad Smith whipping in a cross that Roldan redirected on target. Sporting goalkeeper Tim Melia got a hand to the shot, but couldn't keep the deflection from trickling into the net.

Sporting KC looked reinvigorated to start the second half, but the Sounders doubled the lead arguably against the run of play in the 55th minute on a bizarre sequence that started with Raul Ruidiaz winning the ball deep in the attacking end. The Peruvian evaded two SKC defenders in the box and made an audacious attempt to chip the ball over Melia before the ball got popped into the air to a waiting Bruin, who sent a header into the net at the far post.

The hosts struck back though, cutting the lead in half through Russell right on the hour mark. The Scottish attacker got free at the back post and finished off a well-executed set piece with a shot that deflected off Frei and into the net from a tough angle.

Sporting pressed hard for an equalizer, but the Sounders' defense protected the one-goal lead and closed out the Rave Green's eighth road win of the season, tied with the Supporters' Shield-leading New England Revolution for the top mark in MLS.

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Goals

  • 31' - SEA - Cristian Roldan | WATCH
  • 55' - SEA - Will Bruin | WATCH
  • 60' - SKC - Johnny Russell | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: After a heartbreaking Leagues Cup Final defeat on Wednesday, Seattle couldn't have picked a better way to bounce back in MLS play than a road victory over a fellow Western Conference frontrunner. It all sets up what should be a fascinating stretch run in the West as these two teams jostle for that coveted top spot, with the Colorado Rapids and Portland Timbers also bound to have their say.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: If there was a moment that aptly captured the frantic nature of this contest, it was this chaotic sequence that culminated with Bruin's game-winning goal.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: As has frequently been the case throughout the 2021 season, Joao Paulo was massive for the Sounders on both sides of the ball. His work on defense proved key in allowing Seattle to hold Sporting to the one goal.

Next Up

  • SKC: Wednesday, September 29 at San Jose Earthquakes | 10:30 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)
  • SEA: Wednesday, September 29 at FC Dallas | 8 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)

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