Sporting Kansas City traveled to the Seattle Sounders needing points and are coming home with all three after a hard fought match against a top Western Conference rival. Sporting KC was again forced to change the lineup with Botond Barath, Krisztian Nemeth and Yohan Croizet all missing with injuries and Johnny Russell starting on the bench.
Despite the Sounders coming out strong, it was the visitors that jumped out to a lead in the 12th minute. Seth Sinovic and Daniel Salloi played quick one-touch passes on the left and then fed Felipe Gutiérrez running to the side of the box. The Chilean midfielder slid it low through the defense and past Stefan Frei to make it 1-0.
When Gerso Fernandes was running into the box and shielded the ball, Nouhou Tolo went through the speedy Sporting KC winger to get to the ball. Ismail Elfath did not initially make the call but when he went to VAR and it was easy to call a penalty.
Gutiérrez stepped to the spot, placing his shot down the middle and under the crossbar past a diving Frei in the 33rd minute to score his second goal of the match.
With a two goal deficit, the Sounders stepped up the pressure for the rest of the half.
It took less than a minute after halftime for the Sounders to cut the deficit in half when Jordan Morris received a through ball from Nicolás Lodeiro. Morris stayed a half-step ahead of Matt Besler and slotted the ball past Tim Melia inside the near post.
The Sounders were punished when they were unable to finish a good chance in the 58th minute. Graham Zusi cleared the ball to Gerso who then found a pass through to Erik Hurtado. A quick touch gave Hurtado some space around Kim Kee-hee and the race was on.
Hurtado held off Kee-hee as he powered towards goal. The Sporting KC forward timed his shot and placed it past Frei as he started to come out to close the angle. It was Hurtado’s first goal of the season in his first start of the season. Hurtado is just coming back after missing most of the year with an injury.
The Sounders had a great chance to respond in the 60th when Morris blew by Andreu Fontas forcing Melia into multiple heroics to prevent an opportunity on goal.
Johnny Russell came on for Hurtado with 10 minutes left and almost added a quick goal of his own. Frei just made the save and a mad scramble almost saw Ginaluca Busio get to it before it was cleared. The ball did not go far enough as it fell to Seth Sinovic who then blasted the ball over the goal.
It was Seattle’s turn to respond when they forced a turnover and Morris was again racing in on the Sporting KC goal. Melia was unable to come with the big save on this attempt and Seattle again closed the gap to a single goal.
Right at the 90th, Handwalla Bwana’s hard shot beat Melia but hit the crossbar. The ball rebounded directly to Morris who did not have time to control it and the ball went out harmlessly.
The Sounders kept up the pressure but Sporting KC was able to close out the match, earning their third road win of the year and closing the distance to the playoff line to just five points.