Sporting Kansas City and Seattle Sounders FC renewed their rivalry on Saturday at Lumen Field. Conditions were brutal for both squads, as the 75 degree weather required the Teen Wolf Referee, Alex Chilowicz, to call a hydration break in the first half.
The first few minutes of the game started slowly as both teams were feeling each other out. In the 8th minute, Seattle sprayed a ball out wide to fullback Alex Roldan. Logan Ndenbe shifted out to cover him, and Roldan cut the ball back to his brother, midfielder Cristian Roldan. Nobody stepped up to the US international as he put a ball into the box. Striker, Will Bruin, rose above Nicolas Isimat-Mirin, and headed the ball back across goal and past the outstretched arms of Tim Melia.
Despite possessing a one goal lead and a deeper roster, Seattle did not press their advantage creating a few half chances, but only putting one additional shot on target. Sporting Kansas City’s best chance of the half started in the 34th minute. The ball was played to Johnny Russell out wide on the right. He picked an inch perfect pass to Khiry Shelton who snuck between the center backs and poked the ball towards the goal. It rang off the crossbar and was cleared away by the Sounders. Had he scored, the goal would not have counted as the Assistant Referee had (correctly) raised the offside flag.
The second half started more optimistically for Sporting Kansas City as Cam Duke was able to work his way into the box for a half chance in the 46th minute. His shot sprayed wide but Sporting won the ball back to put more pressure on the Seattle defense.
Jordan Morris had an open look at goal in the 51st minute after Seattle put a cross in the box. However, he could not cleanly make contact and Tim Melia was able to dive down to collect the ball.
In the 55th minute, Sporting Kansas City had a double PK shout as Felipe Hernandez was pushed to the ground in the box after the ball bounced off the elbow of a Seattle defender. Neither Teen Wolf nor the VAR saw anything in either play and Seattle continued to maintain their clean sheet.
Sporting got their first shot on target in the 65th minute with a Johnny Russell header off of a corner kick. However, the ball was right at Seattle goalkeeper, Stefan Frei, who was able to safely corral it. Seattle immediately broke the other way and earned their first corner of the game in the 66th minute.
Despite his superhuman hair growing skills, Teen Wolf Referee, Alex Chilowicz’s eyes failed him after he failed to card Kelyn Rowe for a late, dangerous challenge on Felipe Hernandez. He then further covered himself in glory by making a controversial (at least it at the bar) call against Graham Zusi in the 69th minute that led to a Seattle set piece.
Seattle doubled their lead in the 71st minute with a Jordan Morris header during the run of play. Nouhou Tolo fed a ball into the box after Zusi failed to close him out and Nouhou rose above Andreu Fontas to put it in the upper left corner.
In the 73rd minute, Zusi and Felipe Hernandez made way for Kayden Pierre and Roger Espinoza. Seattle followed by substituting Will Bruin for U-22 signing, Leo Chu, in the 74th minute. Things went from bad to worse following the substitution as Seattle carved a hole right through Sporting Kansas City’s defense. Seattle fed a through ball to Jordan Morris down the left side of the attack. Tim Melia rushed to meet him and Morris squared it to a streaking Cristian Roldan for an easy tap in.
In the 79th minute, former Kansas City fan favorite, Jimmy Medranda, entered the game for Kelyn Rowe and Fredy Montero entered for Nico Lodeiro.
After a long Seattle clearance, Nicolas Isimat-Mirin misplayed the ball and passed it to a streaking Jordan Morris who was one-on-one with Melia. Melia made a great save but Sporting failed to clear the ball, which led to shots by Cissoko and Montero, both of which were also saved by a vintage, heroic performance from Tim Melia. Sporting Kansas City was able to eventually escape danger still down 3-0.
In the 84th minute, homegrown player, Danny Levya, entered the game for Albert Rusnak. Sporting maintained a spell of possession but looked short of ideas and toothless in the opposing half.
Sporting made two additional subs in the 86th minute with Ben Sweat replacing Logan Ndenbe and Marinos Tzionis replacing Johnny Russell. Tzionis immediately took a shot on a full volley off of a corner kick, but sprayed it wide right.
In the 92nd minute, Seattle had another half chance after Kayden Pierre was beaten in the box. He recovered enough to pressure the shot wide of goal to keep the score at the second most dangerous lead in soccer, 3-0.
The last 10 minutes of this game felt like an eternity but ended after four minutes of stoppage time, just as Sporting was beginning their comeback. (Robbed cruelly again by PRO).
Sporting Kansas City’s next game is at home against New York Red Bulls on July 3, 2022 at Children’s Mercy Park.
*Teen Wolf was originally played by the incredible Michael J. Fox. He was succeeded in the role by Jason Bateman, Tyler Posey, and today’s center referee, Alex Chilowicz.