Buzzer-beaters do not exist in soccer, but defender Djimi Traore essentially hit one Wednesday night to give the Sounders a 1-0 win over host Sporting Kansas City. After the first 90 minutes ended scoreless, three minutes of stoppage time were allotted. But an Eddie Johnson injury added an extra minute, enough for Traore to find the back of the net with his first MLS goal.
After a failed defensive clear by KC following a throw-in, Traore corralled a Brad Evans header in the middle of the goal box and sneaked the ball inside the far post — the latest goal in club history. Play continued for less than a minute before the whistle blew.
Last in the Western Conference, the Sounders improved to 2-3-3 after their third road game in a row, which also included a 1-0 win at Colorado and a 2-2 draw at Philadelphia Saturday.
“We have eight points over our last four games, so we’re averaging two a game, which is what we need to do to put ourselves back in the running,” said coach Sigi Schmid. “Our fans see that we’re fighting and clawing to get back to being the team we’ve been over the last four years.”
Seattle is 4-0 on the MLS road against Sporting KC (5-4-2), which has dropped two of its last three, but remains tied atop the Eastern Conference.
Continuing a season-long theme, Seattle played short-handed as Schmid rolled out the 12th starting lineup in as many matches.
DeAndre Yedlin and Lamar Neagle were inactive after drawing red cards in Philadelphia. Obafemi Martins, Steve Zakuani and Shalrie Joseph did not play because of injuries.
In honor of teammate Osvaldo Alonso’s new family member, Traore pretended to a cradle a baby after hitting his goal.
Outside of Traore’s tally, Seattle’s best scoring opportunity may have come in the controversial 22nd minute.
Evans sent a ball into the Kansas City box where it was deflected by Ike Opara’s outstretched arm. Seattle screamed for a hand ball, which would have resulted in a goal kick. No call was made.
Seattle’s backup goalie, Marcus Hahnemann, was ejected from the sidelines for apparently verbalizing his displeasure with the no-call.
Mario Martinez provided Seattle’s only other shot on goal when he spun a free kick from the top of the goal box around the defensive wall but into the diving arms of veteran goalie Jimmy Nielsen.
Kansas City managed just three shots on goal against Seattle’s understaffed defense. One was in the first 10 seconds after Jacob Peterson wiggled through the secondary and won a loose ball before sending the ball into Michael Gspurning’s gut.
Gspurning pitched his third shutout of the season, all in the last four games.
Seattle improved to 6-1-1 all-time against Sporting Kansas City. The Sounders play host to San Jose Saturday at 1 p.m., the team’s first game at home in more than a month.