Seattle Sounders 3, Sporting Kansas City 1 | 2018 MLS Match Recap
The two hottest teams in MLS met on Saturday afternoon, and both the Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City wanted to cement their status as contenders in the West. Thanks to an unlucky deflection and a penalty kick, Seattle won 3-1 and moved within five points of the top of the conference standings. The win is their eighth straight, the most in a single season in the post-shootout era.
The game did not start well for the Rave Green, as Diego Rubio capitalized on a mistake from Chad Marshall, hammering in his eighth goal of the season. But Sporting's lead wouldn't last long as a line-breaking pass from Osvaldo Alonso fed a streaking Brad Smith. The Australian left back found Raul Ruidiaz alone in front of the net and the Peruvian international bagged his third goal of the season.
After a mostly quiet 40 minutes, Seattle broke the game open. First a Harry Shipp cross took a fortuitous deflection (if you're a Sounders fan) off of Graham Zusi and landed in the back of the net. A couple minutes later Nicolas Lodeiro found Smith streaking again down the left side and his cross hit the extended arm of SKC center back Ike Opara. Lodeiro coolly finished the penalty kick past Tim Melia, giving Seattle a two-goal cushion.
The Sounders were able to hold the visitors off over the final 30-plus minutes, even with Marshall shown a red card for serious foul play after Video Review. It is just his second red over his illustrious 15-year MLS career.
The Sounders' eight-game winning streak breaks the single-season record previously held by Sporting's 2012 team and is just one off the nine-game run that SKC pulled off at the end of 2011 and into 2012.
- 2' — SKC — Diego Rubio | WATCH
- 12' — SEA — Raul Ruidiaz | WATCH
- 52' — SEA — Graham Zusi (OG) | WATCH
- 56' — SEA — Nicolas Lodeiro (PK) | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: The Sounders' patented late-summer surge has now become historic, as the eight-game winning streak puts them in fourth place, at least temporarily. Sporting will feel hard done by, but a loss at CenturyLink to an extremely hot Seattle team is nothing to get too down about.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: While the Ruidiaz goal gave Seattle life after a tough start, the game turned when the ball caromed off of Zusi at an impossible angle.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Alonso made the gamebreaking play on Seattle's first goal and went on to produce a signature performance. He won 10 of his 17 duels and completed 89 percent of his passes, a team high.