Friday, May 10, 2013

"NOT AGAIN": Yes again..... Sounders snatch one late against Sporting Kansas City

SKC left standing with their heads in their hands
after conceding yet another late goal to the Sounders.
By Money Mike

Coming off a 2-2 draw in Philly, the Seattle Sounders closed out their three game road trip in Kansas City. Many exports expected SKC to come away with an easy victory. The Sounders had other plans like eh, I don't know........ scoring another late goal. That's exactly what happened. It looked like the match was going to end scoreless, but deep into stoppage time, Sporting whiffed on an attempted clearance and Djimi Traore made them pay as he scored the winning goal to give the Sounders a 1-0 victory. After an 0-3-2 start, the Sounders have picked up 7 points during this road stretch and are starting to turn things around in this early part of the season. The Sounders return home for a Saturday afternoon match against the San Jose Earthquakes. The Rave Green have a major score to settle with them, having lost the last four meetings between the two.

In the opening seconds of the game, Michael Gspurning was immediately put to the test. Zach Scott failed to clear the ball out of his own half and Jacob Peterson looked to take advantage by hitting one inside the far post, but Gspurning got down, made the save and held on before C.J. Sapong had any chance at a rebound.

In the 13th minute, Sporting tried to catch the Sounders off guard. Peterson Joseph took the corner and rather than swinging the ball into the box, he elected to play it short to Josh Gardner who slid the ball through to Graham Zusi. The idea was right, but Zusi took a heavy touch which allowed Brad Evans to get a foot to it, but Peterson Joseph stepped up and tried a curling shot to the far corner, but he didn't quite get enough bend on it.

In the 22nd minute, Seattle Sounders should've had a penalty. Zach Scott took a long throw in from the near side. His throw in just missed the head of Brad Evans and bounced off the arm of Ike Opara right in front of the goal, but nothing was given. And why not? Opara raised his arm up, the ball bounced off his arm....... Can somebody explain to me how that is not a penalty? Seconds later, play was stopped after some yelling from the Sounders bench. Referee Geoff Gamble ran over to the bench and I thought he ejected one of the Sounders assistant coaches because one of them got up immediately and argued, but it just so happened that it was backup goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann who was dismissed. Now I've never seen anything like that before. Normally if a referee goes over to eject somebody, it would be one of the coaches, but a bench player? I've never seen that. Now for those of you who are confused with the rules regarding somebody getting sent off from the bench, it's just like a player getting a red card. They're ejected from the game and are suspended for the next game. The only difference here is that Seattle doesn't have to play with 10 men because the player sent off of course, was on the bench. Another thing to add to this is now Seattle doesn't have a backup goalkeeper for the match this Saturday against the Earthquakes. So it looks like they're gonna bring in Doug Herrick who's currently contracted by the MLS League-Wide Reserve Goalkeeper Pool, which means any team can bring him up for a game if needed. Some of you remember him from last season with the Sounders U23. There's also a guy by the name of Brad Stuver who is also contracted by the MLS reserve pool, but it's likely to be Doug Herrick who will be called into the squad as an emergency backup to Michael Gspurning for this Saturday. I think this is the third time that the Sounders have had to bring in a keeper from the reserve pool. First couple weeks of the 09' season, they had to bring in Ben Dragavon to the fold when Chris Eylander was banged up and he actually came on in a match against Kansas City after Kasey Keller was sent off. The other guy they brought in was Alex Horwath in 2010. That guy didn't make an appearance however.

Alright enough talk about the goalkeeper situation, let's move to the 26 minute. The Sounders hadn't created many opportunities in this game, but they had one here. Mario Martinez chipped the ball to Brad Evans from about 20 yards out. Evans chested the ball down and tried to volley it with his left foot, but it was a weak attempt and didn't look like it was gonna test Jimmy Nielsen had it been on target.

A minute later, Nielsen nearly got caught wrong footed. Mario Martinez took the free kick from outside the penalty area, well within his shooting range. He curled the ball low and around the wall and I thought it was going in but the ball wasn't hit far enough from the goalkeeper and Nielsen got down and made the save.

Now we're gonna fast forward all the way to the 80th minute. The Seattle backline has been put under a lot of pressure all game long. Graham Zusi tried to work a give and go with Claudio Bieler, but the pass was to far for him. However, the Sounders had some trouble clearing the ball away and the attack wasn't over. Chance Myers let the ball bounce to him before he can settle and whip in a long ball into the area looking for Kei Kamara (yes, he's back from his loan stint with Norwich City). Djimi Traore got a head to it, but right to Claudio Bieler who volleyed it well wide. I think that was their first shot attempt of the second half despite all the pressure they put on the Sounders back line.

A couple minutes later, Kei Kamara took on Leo Gonzalez from the near side and sent a low driven ball into the area where he had C.J. Sapong lurking, but his cross was too close to Michael Gspurning.

Now lets fast forward deep into stoppage time. Remember the stoppage time goal by Mike Fucito in 2010? Or the one by Jeff Parke in 2011? Hell, what about the two stoppage time goals by Mauro Rosales and Lamar Neagle later on in 2011 at Sporting Park? Well, in the final seconds of stoppage time (more time was added because of an injury delay), the Sounders burn them again. Zach Scott rather than throwing it long towards goal, he purposefully threw it short to Brad Evans who flicked the ball across and after Aurelien Collin whiffed on his attempted clearance which would've ended the game there, the ball bounced to Djimi Traore who turned and smashed it home and the Sounders steal one from Sporting Kansas City yet again. There were a few appeals that Traore touched it with his hand, but if the referee called handball on that play, then he should've called handball on Opara. Also, Traore didn't touch the ball with his hand, it bounced off his knee. So if any of you think that was a handball, you better go back and watch it over and over again. Nothing was called anyway, the goal stood and the Sounders win 1-0.

Scoring summary:

Seattle Sounders FC - Djimi Traore 1 (Unassisted) 94'+

Misconduct summary:

Seattle Sounders FC - Marcus Hahnemann (dismissed; dissent) 24'

Sporting Kansas City - Ike Opara (caution; foul) 45'

Sporting Kansas City - Aurelien Collin (caution; foul) 91'+


Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Gspurning; Zach Scott, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Djimi Traore, Leonardo Gonzalez; Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Servando Carrasco, Mario Martinez (Alex Caskey 93'+); Eddie Johnson, David Estrada (Mauro Rosales 85')

Sporting Kansas City - Jimmy Nielsen; Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Ike Opara, Josh Gardner (Seth Sinovic 75'); Benny Feilhaber (Claudio Bieler 66'), Oriol Rosell, Peterson Joseph; Graham Zusi, C.J. Sapong, Jacob Peterson (Kei Kamara 73')

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