SEATTLE—Through the first 41 minutes of their season-opening matchup with Sporting Kansas City at CenturyLink Field on Sunday, the Seattle Sounders found themselves in a scoreless deadlock in which neither side had a definitive upper hand.
That all changed in an instant following right back Oniel Fisher’s first-half red card for a sliding, two-footed challenge on SKC’s Connor Hallisey that put Seattle a man down for the rest of the match. The Sounders wouldn’t recover, falling 1-0 courtesy of a distance strike from Kansas City center back Nuno Andre Coelho in the 73rd minute.
“I thought when the teams were even, I thought we were the better team,” said Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid. “I thought we created the earlier chances. If we bury those chances, goals change games.”
One of those chances came in just the ninth minute after rookie forward Jordan Morris sprinted on goal off a nifty first-touch setup from Andreas Ivanschitz. But Morris skied his attempt over the crossbar.
“Jordan Morris, if he buries that chance, that changes the game a little bit for us,” Schmid said. “We had a couple others off the post, crossbar, their goalkeeper made some great saves for them.”
Morris – making his much-anticipated regular season debut for his hometown club – also pointed to the missed first-half opportunity as a potentially game-defining moment.
“It was a great build-up, great ball by Andreas. Took the first touch and just got underneath the ball,” Morris said. “Just kind of rushed it a little bit. Should have looked up and taken my time a little bit more. It was frustrating because that would have changed the game for sure.”
The result handed the Sounders their first loss in a home-opener since 2013, a dubious start to their 2016 campaign and one that Schmid said his team will put in the rearview mirror as soon as possible as they gear up for next weekend’s road clash with Real Salt Lake.
“It’s just a blip,” Schmid said. “Journeys aren’t always easy. Obviously this journey for this year started off a little bit rocky. We’ve just got to get onto the road and push forward.”