Sporting KC vs. Sounders: Highlights, stats and quotes

The numbers might not be as bad you assume, as the Sounders actually played this game reasonably even before Djimi Traore came through with the stoppage-time winner.

I don't know how often most of you read the opposing team's quotes, but any fan of schadenfreude is going to want to do it this week. Jimmy Nielsen, quite possibly the least-liked player among Seattle Sounders fans, was simply beside himself after Sporting Kansas City's 1-0 loss on Wednesday.

The best line: "Like jumping in an ice bath," he said when asked about the late goal. "It was like, 'Jesus Christ, what's going on here?'"

Anyway, you might actually be pleasantly surprised to look at some of the numbers in this one. While the Sounders were hardly great, they were only out shot 11-9 and Michael Gspurning was only forced to make three saves, none of which really challenged him.

Reserves like Zach Scott, Servando Carrasco and Mario Martinez all played solid matches, all at least proving they have spots on this team and maybe even earning some future starts. Scott, in particular, showcased a lot of positive attributes. Even though he was burned for pace a couple times early, he started taking good angles and generally allowing Jacob Peterson to do a lot of extra work with virtually no payoff. Carrasco was an absolute animal in the air, claiming a game-high 10 headers and looking very active on a day in which Osvaldo Alonso seemed to feel a little bit of the after-effects of having a new baby in the house. Martinez did not have a spectacular performances, but he once again showed a willingness to get around the field, was good about receiving passes farther forward and was generally tidy in possession.

Now that the Sounders have won 2 of 3 and are unbeaten in their last four MLS games, this is a game that really feels like it could propel them forward.

"We didn't have a very good start to the season, and we knew we had to turn things around," forward David Estrada said. "One of the ways you can do that is by going on the road. It tests your character. A lot of guys have had to step up that normally don't play, which has helped us. Now we're looking forward to bringing this momentum home to get three more points."

Scoring Summary:

SEA - Djimi Traore 90+4'

Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Gspurning, Zach Scott, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Djimi Traore, Leo Gonzalez, Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Servando Carrasco, Mario Martinez (Alex Caskey 90+4'), David Estrada (Mauro Rosales 85), Eddie Johnson.

Substitutes Not Used: Marcus Hahnemann, Patrick Ianni, Dylan Remick, Andy Rose, Eriq Zavaleta.

TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Evans, Martinez 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Martinez, Traore 1); FOULS: 11 (Carrasco 3); OFFSIDE: 5 (5 players, 1); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Martinez 5); SAVES: 3 (Gspurning 3).

Sporting Kansas City - Jimmy Nielsen, Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Ike Opara, Josh Gardner (Seth Sinovic 75), Benny Feilhaber (Claudio Bieler 65), Oriol Rosell, Peterson Joseph, C.J. Sapong, Jacob Peterson (Kei Kamara 73), Graham Zusi.

Substitutes Not Used: Mechak Jerome, Eric Kronberg, Mikey Lopez, Lawrence Olum.

TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (3 playes, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (3 players, 1); FOULS: 15 (Collin 6); OFFSIDE: 1 (Zusi 1); CORNER KICKS: 3 (Zusi 2); SAVES: 1 (Nielsen 1).

Misconduct Summary:

SEA - Marcus Hahnemann (ejection) 24'

KC - Ike Opara (caution) 45'

KC - Aurelien Collin (caution) 90+1'

Referee: Geoff Gamble

Referee's Assistants: Joe Fletcher, Marco Arruda

4th Official: Tyler Ploeger

Attendance: 18,602

Time of Game: 1:52

Weather: Cloudy and 73-degrees

All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial

Seattle Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid

On Seattle's 1-0 win over Sporting KC...
We've always had good success in this building. We thought we were a little hard done by in the U.S. Open Cup Final last year, but that's over with. We're happy to get the win because we needed the points. We've played well, and today we finally got some luck.

On improving to 4-0-0 in Kansas City in MLS competition...
It's sort of hard to figure out. Sometime you have a bogie team you can't seem to get past, and then you have a team where it always seems to fall into place. We've done it in different ways at this stadium. I was very pleased with our fitness because we weren't able to rest as many guys as (Sporting) Kansas City did before this match.

On Seattle's defensive performance...
I thought we were very good tonight defensively. We didn't give them time or very many looks. I didn't think Michael Gspurning was forced to make very many saves. He did well to hold onto a shot from Chance Myers in the first half.

On Djimi Traore's goal in the 95th minute...
It was a long throw, and I don't know if it was Brad Evans or one of their players who flicked it on, but Djimi (Traore) was in the right spot in the middle. He took a touch quickly and finished with his second.

On earning a hard-fought road victory...
It's important for our team. We have eight points over our last four games, so we're averaging two points a game, which is what we need to do to put ourselves back in the running. Now we've got a big Western Conference game, and we want to get points at home. 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 Sounders forward David Estrada

On Seattle's 1-0 win over Sporting KC...
It was nice to sneak away with a victory and all three points. One of the things we tried to do was drive the ball at (Sporting KC defender Ike) Opara. We're a little short-handed with injuries and suspensions, but anyone who steps onto the field for us can do well. Whatever the matchups are, I think we can always do a good job.

On the importance of Seattle's victory...
We didn't have a very good start to the season, and we knew we had to turn things around. One of the ways you can do that is by going on the road. It tests your character. A lot of guys have had to step up that normally don't play, which has helped us. Now we're looking forward to bringing this momentum home to get three more points.

Seattle Sounders defender Djimi Traore

On Seattle's 1-0 win over Sporting KC...
It is a big victory for us away from home. We worked hard the whole game, and in the first half it was hard for us. But in the second half we found a way. I don't know if we deserved it, but it's important that we got the three points.

On Seattle's defensive performance...
We pressed them all over the pitch. It was good pressure from us to not let them be comfortable passing the ball. Everyone was involved. You can even thank our strikers for (applying) pressure. They didn't make it easy on us. They are a good team, but we did what we had to do.

On his game-winning goal in the 95th minute...
It was the last minute and I was happy to contribute. I was surprised to receive the ball in that area, but I just did my best. To score at that time is very important for us. It's great for showing our character and it was a fun match to play.

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

On giving up the late goal...
It is a monumental mistake as we came out of the back to play that ball square. At that point we have C.J. Sapong and Kei Kamara up front and that ball needs to be played forward. Absolutely unacceptable that we played that ball the way it was played. That ball needs to go forward into those guys-that's why they are there running off the ball-we're now 18 yards from there goal. It was a monumental mistake on our part. There's nothing else to say. It's a simple one. We were coming up the field and we play the ball square across the field. For what reason? I have absolutely no idea. Monumental mistake. There's nothing I can say around the goal other than it was a major mistake on our part. We gifted that to them.

On Sporting KC's recent results against Seattle...
I don't buy into that stuff. That's a concentration mistake. It's a mistake on a player coming out of the back. Instead of playing that ball forward he plays it square and puts the other team in the game. He had 20-30 yards of space in front of him, but it's just a mistake unfortunately. The great thing is, we played very well. Again having to change the lineup based on a short turn around given that we played Sunday and they played Saturday. I thought we did a good job and we had good run of play. I thought the second half we got a little tired in the middle of the park it was hard to make subs based on what we needed. The first half I thought we created a lot of good chances in and around the box and I thought we dictated play. Look, they scored a late goal on us. We won the ball to Jimmy, to the ball being thrown out, to the ball played square, to the ball going out of bounds, and missing our mark, and all those things. It was just one mistake after another. So, just completely unacceptable.

On Kei Kamara's return...
I knew it was going to be one where he was going to be a little bit disconnected at times being the fact that he played a lot in a 4-4-2 or a 4-5-1 and playing in the middle. Now he's coming to the wide channel again which is what he plays for us. It was a good return for him, to get him out on the field for us, but he needs a little time with us for sure to get back to his form with us.

On Seattle's tactics...
They didn't step up and high press us in this game. They tried a couple times maybe, but we broke their pressure. We had 60-70 yards on the field ourselves. Especially in the first half. Second half, yeah they tried to make our center backs have the ball, but it wasn't like they posed some major problems for us and it wasn't like we weren't getting up the field.

On the crowd at Sporting Park...
The crowd was awesome tonight. They were loud. They were into it. For a Wednesday night it was a tremendous environment. It still is a fortress. It still is a great environment and it will continue to be that. It's a great place to play. For anybody. For both teams for sure.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi

On Sporting's recent results against Seattle...
I don't know it might just be coincidence and a lack of concentration in the last few minutes.

On Sporting's second half performance...
For as well as we played in the first half, that's how bad we played in the second. A horrible second half for us. It's not anything they did. They didn't really have too many sniffs at our goal. Passing was off. Touches were off. Just a poor second half.

I don't know. It could have been a lack of energy. I thought we were just dull the second half.

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen

On giving up the late goal...
That's not good enough to give up a goal in whatever minute. It's very very disappointing. We have to be more focused in that situation. That's too sloppy.

There was a few actions before the goal too. It's just not good enough at that point. I think we should try to play the long ball up. We have CJ (Sapong) and Kei (Kamara) and we should try to play the long ball up there. That was a mistake and w made a mistake on the throw in too. Throw it to the near post and he flicked it in. The guy can't be that open in that area.

On his thoughts during the play that lead to the Seattle goal...
It went pretty fast so I'm not really sure what happened. In a split second I thought it was a handball but I'm not sure.

On his reaction to the goal...
Like jumping in an ice bath. It was like, "Jesus Christ, what's going on here?" I thought we played a pretty good game. It was an intense game. A lot of battles out there and I think everybody did a great job. We just got to be better to finish the game off. We can't give up a goal like that. Very disappointing.

It can't knock us back. We have a game on Sunday. We have to bounce back from this here. It's something that we have to take with us. The last few minutes we have to be better to finish the game like this, if we don't win, at least get a point. That was too easy.

On the crowd's reaction to Kei Kamara's return...
It was unbelievable. What a welcome. Fantastic crowd and it was fantastic to have Kei back.

On Sporting KC's recent results against Seattle...
That's not the first time that's happened. There's definitely something we can learn from this. I'm sure that Coach will point that out to us tomorrow.

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