Sounders fall to Sporting Kansas City on goal in 73rd minute

Mar 6, 2016, 7:19 PM | Updated: 7:48 pm
Sounders defender Brad Evans falls over Dom Dwyer after Evans went up for a header in the second half of Sporting Kansas City's 1-0 win. (AP)
(AP)

Seattle Sounders FC opened the Major League Soccer season Sunday by hosting Sporting Kansas City at a jam-packed CenturyLink Field. Coming off a demoralizing second-leg loss to Club America in Mexico City on Wednesday, Seattle hoped to bounce back with a strong showing to kick off the season. Unfortunately it lost 1-0 after Nuno Coelho’s goal in the 73rd minute.

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The first half was both exciting and uneventful, with only a handful of shots on goal – one for Seattle, three for Sporting KC – but plenty of chances created by both sides. Rookie Jordan Morris almost had his dream debut, going through on goal within the first ten minutes but firing just over the bar. Clint Dempsey nearly replicated his goal against Club America with a fantastic free kick that was tipped over the bar. The most significant event, unfortunately for Seattle, was the red card for right-back Oniel Fisher in the 41st minute after his tackle was deemed too dangerous by the referee.

The second half was even more dire for Seattle, as Sporting KC’s personnel advantage proved to be too much. Kansas City eventually broke the deadlock when Coelho’s strike from outside the box slipped into the net under the outstretched Stefan Frei. The Sounders were unable to get back into the match, as Sporting KC held the weakened Sounders at bay until the final whistle.

Fouls abound from both sides, but especially from the away side, which ended with 19 fouls that drew only two yellows. The Sounders did have eight fouls and a red card, but no yellows were given. Both sides could probably have complaints about the officiating, but the Sounders probably have the best case. This was even more apparent when Brad Evans went down from a sneaky tackle by KC forward Dom Dwyer that Sigi Schmid described as an “undercut” that could have been punished had the referee had a better view.

Regardless, the Sounders were simply unable to find the net, despite a number of chances in open play and from set pieces.

Sigi Schmid’s squad will hope to bounce back for next weekend’s away match at Real Salt Lake.

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