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Sounders vs. Sporting KC, recap: Two straight losses at home

Jordan Morris’ brace not enough to offset awful start.

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

SEATTLE — Despite one Jordan Morris’ best-ever performances, the Seattle Sounders were repeatedly exposed on the counter-attack and dropped a 3-2 decision to Sporting Kansas City on Sunday. Morris scored a brace, but was likely left kicking himself for failing to convert on a tough, but close-range attempt deep into stoppage time that would have salvaged a tie.

Key moments

  • Things started poorly for the Sounders when Felipe Gutierrez was allowed far too much room on the left wing and blasted a shot past Stefan Frei to give Sporting KC a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute.
  • The Sounders got a decent look at an equalizer when Harry Shipp found Jordan Morris with a pass behind the defense. But Morris’ first touch was too heavy allowing Tim Melia to cut out the angle and make the save.
  • It got worse in the 33rd minute when Nouhou tackled Gerso Fernandez from behind in the penalty area. Referee Ismail Elfath originally only called for a corner kick, but was switched to a penalty after video review. Gutierrez converted to make it 2-0.
  • After a first half that was probably their worst of the season, the Sounders came out flying the second. Morris got the Sounders on the board in the 46th minute, taking a pass from Nicolas Lodeiro on the wing and then sliding it past Melia.
  • The Sounders continued to apply pressure and had one particularly good look in the 58th minute when Shipp sent in a cross that Morris was nearly able to get for what would have been an open header. Instead, it sailed over him and Sporting were able to get out on a counter. Erik Hurtado beat Kim Kee-hee to a ball a Gerso pass at midfield, then outraced the centerback and beat Stefan Frei with a shot that made it 3-1.
  • The insertion of Handwalla Bwana in the 69th minute seemed to give the Sounders another spark. In the 81st minute, it came to something when he put Morris into space with a clever pass. Morris took one touch to put him in behind the defense and then let loose a shot from just outside the penalty area that made it 3-2.
  • Bwana then nearly bagged the equalizer in the 91st minute when his shot from the corner of the penalty area beat Melia, but hit the inside of the far post. The ball rebounded out to Morris, but he was able to do much other than deflect it wide.
  • Bwana was at it again just a few minutes later when his pass into the box found Kim Kee-hee, who deflected to Justin Dhillon, who touched it back to Morris. Morris controlled it well, but had his close range shot saved by Melia.

Talking points

Slow starts: Facing a Sporting KC team that seemed ripe for putting away early, the Sounders again took far too long to get into the game. Unlike last week’s game against the Houston Dynamo, though, they went into halftime trailing 2-0. They played well in the second half, and arguably should have found the equalizer, but it’s a situation they should have never found themselves in. They’re now scoreless in their last 11 first halves.

Losing at home: Up until a few weeks ago, the Sounders had been as good as anyone at home, compiling an 8-0-2 record. After their second straight loss at CenturyLink Field, it’s now looking like they’ll need to pick up a few unexpected road results just to stay in the top half of the Western Conference standings. Even worse, both of those losses are two teams in the West.

The standings tighten: The Sounders are now technically in fourth, equal on points with three other teams. That will still be good enough to host a first-round playoff game, but they’re just one point ahead of the fifth-place LA Galaxy and six points ahead of eighth-place Portland Timbers. They can’t afford to be dropping points.

Did you see that?!?

Morris has not always looked great at striker, at least not this year. But if there was one positive to take away from this game it was Morris’ performance. Both goals were the exact kind of thing we want to see from him, as he got behind the defense and finished well. He even scored with his ... left foot.

He said what?!?

“I think we just needed to start with some more energy. When we are at home, I think we really need to come out and come out flying and take it to teams. Today we didn’t do that. And they took advantage of that. We need to be a little better there.” - Morris

One stat to tell the tale

5 — It’s worth remembering the Sounders were effectively without five starters for a second straight week. Of course, the standings don’t really care about that sort of thing.

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