A rough season may finally have its turning point.
Defender Djimi Traoré's stoppage-time winner allowed the Seattle Sounders to steal three points in a 1-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday – their first stoppage-time winner since Aug. 6, 2011, coincidentally in the last league game they played at Sporting Park.
The goal was also the latest in team history, besting Jeff Parke’s 93rd-minute winner against Kansas City on May 21, 2011.
“We’ve always had good success in this building,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. “We thought we were a little hard done by in the US Open Cup final last year, but that’s over with. We’re happy to get the win because we needed the points. We’ve played well, and today we finally got some luck.”
Lucky is probably a good way to describe Seattle's win, as they seemed perfectly content to go home with a hard-fought tie.
But with a throw-in deep in Sporting KC’s end, the Sounders decided to throw numbers forward in an attempt to steal all three points in the dying minutes. Zach Scott’s throw took a bounce and appeared to be deflected by Sounders midfielder Brad Evans.
“I was surprised to receive the ball in that area, but I just did my best,” Traoré said. “To score at that time is very important for us. It’s great for showing our character and it was a fun match to play.”
Traoré’s goal allowed Seattle to cap their three-game road trip with seven points and pulled them out of the Western Conference basement. The Sounders also record their third shutout in four games after failing to register a shutout in their first eight games across all competitions.
This may have been their best defensive effort of the season, as Sporting KC only directed three shots on frame and were rarely threatening.
“We didn’t have a very good start to the season, and we knew we had to turn things around,” forward David Estrada said. “One of the ways you can do that is by going on the road. It tests your character. A lot of guys have had to step up that normally don’t play, which has helped us.
"Now we’re looking forward to bringing this momentum home to get three more points.”