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False Nine? Just Fine: Sporting Kansas City defeats Seattle Sounders 1-0

Benny Feilhaber puts home an 84th minute penalty to give Sporting KC a monumental 1-0 win over Seattle.

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Two big calls played large parts in this match. One ruled a potential Seattle Sounders goals offside, while the other gave Sporting KC the opportunity to take the lead and, in the end, Sporting KC took advantage of both in a 1-0 victory.

Benny Feilhaber scored his fifth goal of the year to match his career-high, and with twenty matches to go he is more than on pace to break the record. Dom Dwyer returned to the pitch for the first time since his late scratch against Seattle two weeks ago and earned the penalty.

The match between the two heavyweights was watered down with the absences of Clint Dempsey, Obamefi Martins, Krisztian Nemeth and Dom Dwyer in the starting lineup, although Dwyer was available on the bench. This led Sporting KC to play Graham Zusi as a false nine and for Seattle to start Lamar Neagle at the top.

The first half was nothing to write home about with both sides failing to muster much of an attack. Tim Melia provided another strong performance and had several saves in the first half to help stifle any offense the away side came up with.

The second half was much more interesting. The first big call mentioned earlier came in the 66th minute when Lamar Neagle put home a low cross but it was waved offside. The call was very close, but the score remained the same at 0-0.

Sporting KC got one of their strikers back in the 58th minute when Dom Dwyer returned from injury, and his impact was felt in the 83rd minute. He ran into the box chasing a ball and made physical contact with both the defender and goalkeeper Stefan Frei, which earned Sporting Kansas City the penalty.

Benny Feilhaber put home the kick from the spot on the ensuing play and Sporting KC took a 1-0 lead. With only seven minutes plus three of stoppage to maintain the lead, Sporting KC was able to hold on for the one-goal victory.

With the win, Sporting moved up to second place in the Western Conference and within two points of conference-leading Sounders. They also moved to seven-straight unbeaten and maintained their undefeated home record in 2015. Sporting KC returns to action June 16 against St. Louis FC in the fourth round of the US Open Cup.