The Sounders desperately need a victory at Sporting Kansas City Wednesday to remain in playoff contention in the Western Conference. They are 1-3-3 this season.
MATCH: Seattle Sounders FC (1-3-3, 6 points, 9th, MLS West) at Sporting Kansas City (5-3-2, 17 points, T1, MLS East). TYPE: MLS. WHEN: Wednesday, 5:30 p.m., Sporting Park, Kansas City. MEETING: 9th (Sounders lead 5-1-1 all-time in MLS). TV: KONG. RADIO: 97.3 KIRO FM; SPANISH: KOMO2 (Comcast Ch. 114) and La Gran D 99.3 FM.
Following Saturday’s 2-2 draw with the Philadelphia Union, in which the last-place Sounders received two red cards (Lamar Neagle, DeAndre Yedlin) and a yellow (Eddie Johnson), head coach Sigi Schmid made an obvious point when he discussed developments with assembled scribes.
“I am not happy about us getting the two red cards,” Schmid said.
Schmid also won’t be happy with the consequences. As a result, Neagle, sent off for engaging in a shoving match in the 84th minute, and Yedlin, tossed for a reckless slide tackle in the first minute of stoppage time, are sitting out Wednesday’s meeting with Sporting Kansas City.
Schmid has used 11 starting lineups in 11 MLS matches, and it will be 12-for-12 when the Sounders contest Sporting.
“It’s been our story all season,” Schmid said.
Unlike Saturday, Schmid should have Obafemi Martins and Osvaldo Alonso available Wednesday. Each missed the Union draw, Martins with a chronically sore knee, Osvaldo due to attending the birth of his second child. Still to be determined is whether Schmid can call on Steve Zakuani (groin) and Shalrie Joseph (hamstring). Both didn’t make the trip to Philadelphia.
The Sounders scored two goals against Philadelphia, the first time this season they have tallied more than one in any match. Overall, the Sounders rank last in MLS with 23 shots on goal, half of Real Salt Lake’s total of 46.
That’s an historic low for Seattle. How the Sounders’ 2.38 SOG average ranks in team history: 4.46 (2010), 4.44 (2011), 4.20 (2009), 4.14 (2012).
Kansas City is tied for third in MLS with 14 goals and tied for second with a plus-six goal differential. Sporting also leads the league in shots (146) and ranks fifth in shots on goal (43) and second with 16 assists.
Coach Peter Vermes’ club is 3-1-1 at home with a 9-3 goal advantage, the lone loss coming to Portland April 27.
Kansas City is led by new designated player Claudio Bieler, who is tied for the league lead with six goals in his first MLS season, including a pair in a 4-0 win over Chivas USA last Sunday. The 29-year-old Argentine signed with Kansas City in December after a successful career in South America.
Graham Zusi, last year’s second runner-up for MVP, is tied for the league lead with four assists and earned Player of the Week honors for scoring a goal and an assist against Chivas. Striker Kei Kamara, who has 45 career goals seven seasons, recently re-joined the team after a loan spell with English Premier League side Norwich City.
Defending Goalkeeper of the Year Jimmy Nielsen leads the league with six shutouts and his clean sheet Sunday gave him the franchise record with 38 in his career. The 35-year-old Dane is fourth with a 0.80 goals against average.
SOUNDERS PROBABLE LINEUP: Goalkeeper — Michael Gspurning. Defenders – Leo Gonzalez, Djimi Traore, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Zach Scott. Midfielders — Alex Caskey, Brad Evans, Steve Zakuani, Osvaldo Alonso, Mauro Rosales. Forwards — Eddie Johnson, Sammy Ochoa.
SPORTING PROBABLE LINEUP: Goalkeeper — Jimmy Nielsen. Defenders — Mechack Jerome, Aurelien Collin, Ike Opara, Seth Sinovic. Midfielders — Oriol Rosell, Paulo Nagamura, Peterson Joseph, Graham Zusi, Jacob Peterson. Forwards — Claudio Bieler.
INJURIES: Seattle — GK Josh Ford, out. Sporting — Teal Bunbury, out. SUSPENSIONS: Seattle — Lamar Neagle, DeAndre Yedlin.
SERIES: Dates to April 11, 2009, when the Sounders lost 1-0 at Kansas City. The Sounders won every match after that, before playing to a 2-2 draw in Kansas City June 20, 2012. The clubs met again Aug. 8, 2012 in the U.S. Open Cup final, Kansas City winning 3-2 on penalty kicks.
SOUNDERS STATS / NOTES
SOUNDERS MLS LEADERS
|Starts||Yedlin, Gspurning, Hurtado, all 7|
|Goals||Johnson 2, Rosales 1, Evans, Martins 1|
|Assists||Rosales 2, 4 tied with 1 each|
|Shots||Johnson 11, Alonso 10, Evans 9|
|Shots On Goal||Johnson 6, Evans 3; 4 tied with 2|
|Fouls Caused||Yedlin 13, Alonso 12, Evans 9|
|Fouls Suffered||Alonso 13, Rosales 12, Johnson 9|
|Offsides||Johnson 8, Evans 3, Neagle 3|
|Corner Kicks||Rosales 30, Martinez 6|
|Cautions||Johnson 2, 4 tied with 1 each|
|Ejections||Lamar Neagle, DeAndre Yedlin, 1 each|
SPORTING NOTES: Sporting is coming off a 4-0 victory Sunday over Chivas USA. Goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen recorded his 38th career shutout and his league-leading sixth of 2013, and didn’t have to record a save to notch it. Prior to beating Chivas, Sporting had a two-game losing streak . . . Wednesday’s match will be Sporting’s only league meeting with the Sounders this season . . . Seattle’s Eddie Johnson played for Sporting from 2006-07 . . . KC has sold out 21 consecutive matches at Sportsman’s Park.
COMING UP: The Sounders return to CenturyLink Field Saturday for a Western Conference match against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Seattle Sounders FC 2013 Schedule / Results
(1-3-3, 6 points, MLS; 1-1-0 CCL; 0-0-0 U.S. Open Cup)
|3/6||*at Tigres||7:00||Fox Soccer||L||1-0||0-0-0|
|3/23||^at San Jose||7:30||KING 5||L||1-0||0-2-1|
|5/26||^at LA Galaxy||8:00||ESPN2||—||—||—|
|7/13||^at San Jose||7:30||KING/KONG||—||—||—|
|9/21||^at LA Galaxy||7:30||NBCSN||—||—||—|
|10/19||^at FC Dallas||1:00||NBCSN||—||—||—|
*=CONCACAF; ^=Major League Soccer