KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A little more than two months after it began, Sporting Kansas City’s 14-game unbeaten streak is finally over after yet another thrilling game at Livestrong Sporting Park.
Left for dead through 90 minutes, the Seattle Sounders scored two goals in stoppage time courtesy of Mauro Rosales and Lamar Neagle as Kansas City failed to hold onto a 1-0 lead and lost 2-1 in front of 17,493 fans at LSP on Saturday night.
Omar Bravo was shown straight red card in the 59th minute, but Kansas City still appeared to be in line for three points in the final minutes before Seattle struck twice to end what had tied for the longest unbeaten streak in Major League Soccer this season.
Rosales played the hero, first dancing through the Sporting defense before cutting his shot inside the far post, to tie the game 1-1. Moments later the Argentine maestro played creator, carving up SKC’s back line and squaring for Neagle. The young forward’s shot cut against the grain, pinged off the post and in for a spectacular road win.
As they did against Real Salt Lake, Sporting took the game to the visitors from the very start in their home digs. C.J. Sapong had the first chance in the seventh minute when he rose in a crowd to get a head on the ball, but Kasey Keller was equal to the effort and pushed it over the bar.
Kansas City continued to stream forward, using the wide areas to break down a Seattle side that appeared worn out from their recent travels and packed schedule.
Sporting punished them, getting the opener from another long throw by Matt Besler in the 20th minute. Just four days after a Besler throw led to Teal Bunbury’s goal against RSL, the central defender found Kamara unmarked at the top of the box, where the he beat Keller to the ball and flicked it into the empty net.
Seattle had their best chance of the half eight minutes later when James Riley found space at the edge of the penalty area to send a cross to the back post. Álvaro Fernández was there with time and space to put his effort on frame, but the Uruguayan scuffed the header badly and sent the ball wide of the post.
Five minutes later it was Sapong again who put a scare into the Sounders defense. The rookie forward used some fancy footwork to cut two players in the penalty area and looked to be in alone on Keller, but center back Zach Scott came flying in to deliver a timely sliding tackle to put the ball out of play. Besler had an open header from the ensuing corner kick but put his effort just wide.
Seattle started the second half in the same vein as their first half performance, forcing coach Sigi Schmid to look to the bench. On the 55-minute mark he removed the ineffective Fernández and Fredy Montero for Pat Noonan and Mike Fucito.
And although Seattle still couldn’t find space going forward, the game changed completely in the 59th minute when Bravo was sent off for a vicious two-footed tackle on Noonan. Referee Jair Marrufo correctly judged it a dismissible offense, showing Bravo a red card and sending the crowd into hysterics.
Down a man and holding onto a one-goal lead, Kansas City manager Peter Vermes went to his bench, replacing the dangerous Sapong with Bunbury in the 65th minute. Quiet for the better part of 70 minutes, Seattle then began to threaten, forcing some spectacular goalkeeping out of Jimmy Nielsen.
Fucito created space at the top of the penalty box in the 69th minute and struck a shot with his left foot that the Dane parried away only as far as Neagle. The substitute immediately uncorked a drive that appeared destined for net, but Nielsen came out of nowhere to pull off a stunning kick save and keep the score 1-0 for the home team.
It was a lead that would last until Rosales took the game into his own hands with the late goal and set-up.
With the win, Seattle (11-5-8, 41 points) stay solidly in the Supporters’ Shield race. Sporting (7-7-9, 30 points), meanwhile, stay in the thick of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference.
SKC – Kei Kamara 6 (Matt Besler 2) 20
SEA – Mauro Rosales 3 (unassisted) 90
SEA – Lamar Neagle 2 (Mike Fucito 1) 92
SKC– Birahim Diop (caution; Reckless Foul) 37
SKC– Omar Bravo (ejection; Serious Foul Play) 59
Seattle Sounders– Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Zach Scott, Tyson Wahl, Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Servando Carrasco, Alvaro Fernandez (Pat Noonan 55), Roger Levesque (Lamar Neagle 67), Fredy Montero (Mike Fucito 55)
Substitutes Not Used: Josh Ford, Erik Friberg, Patrick Ianni, Nate Jaqua
Sporting Kansas City – Jimmy Nielsen, Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Julio Cesar, Michael Harrington, Jeferson (Luke Sassano 39), Birahim Diop, Graham Zusi, Kei Kamara (Chance Myers 82), C.J. Sapong (Teal Bunbury 65), Omar Bravo
Substitutes Not Used: Eric Kronberg, Daneil Cyrus, Chance Myers, Milos Stojcev, Soony Saad
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Referee's Assistants: Frank Anderson, James Conlee
4th Official: Fotis Bazakos
Weather: Sunny and 94 degrees