KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Sporting Kansas City do have one win over Seattle since Sporting Park opened in 2011, and it was a big one: Their shootout win in the 2012 US Open Cup title match.
They're still waiting to match that achievement in league play, though. In two MLS matches against the Sounders at their gorgeous home, Sporting have yet to ring up even a single point – and both times, it's because they lost the plot after the 90th minute.
“That's very, very disappointing,” goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen said after Djimi Traoré scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time to give Seattle a 1-0 victory. “We've got to be more focused in that situation. That's too sloppy.”
Nielsen minced no words: “That guy cannot be that free, in that area, in that minute.”
Manager Peter Vermes agreed, adding that Sporting shouldn't have been deep in its own end anyway. Traoré's game-winner came off a throw-in, after Collin's errant square pass toward the sideline.
“It is a monumental mistake as we came out of the back to play that ball square,” Vermes said in the postgame news conference. “At that point we have C.J. Sapong and Kei Kamara up front and that ball needs to be played forward. Absolutely unacceptable that we played that ball the way it was played.
“That ball needs to go forward into those guys. That’s why they are there running off the ball. We’re now 18 yards from their goal. It was a monumental mistake on our part. There’s nothing else to say.”
Wednesday's result was reminiscent of Seattle's first visit to the stadium, on Aug. 6, 2011. Sporting took a 1-0 lead into the 90th minute, only to see the Sounders equalize before the end of regulation and win 2-1 in the 92nd minute.
“It's just coincidence,” midfielder Graham Zusi said. “Lack of concentration in the last few minutes.”
This time out, Sporting controlled the first half – outshooting the visitors 10-5 in the first 45 minutes – but got off just one shot after the break.
“I thought the first half we created a lot of good chances in and around the box, and I thought we dictated, play,” Vermes said. “But look, they scored a late goal on us and it was just one mistake after another and just completely unacceptable.”
It wasn't just a failure to find the net for the third time in their last four games that hurt Sporting, Zusi said.
“As well as we played in the first half, that's how badly we played in the second half,” he said. “That was a horrible second half. It's not anything that they did. They didn't have many good looks at our goal. I don't know what to tell you. The passing was off. The touches were off. It was just a poor second half.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.