What a way to start the 2014 MLS season. The Seattle Sounders defeated defending MLS Cup champions, Sporting Kansas City, 1-0 from a Chad Barrett goal in the 94thminute in front of a capacity crowd at CenturyLink Field.
The Emerald City Supporters were out in full force on a classic rainy day in Seattle, and they were not disappointed. In a match filled with 40 fouls, and 5 bookings, decent chances to score were few and far between. Both teams had periods of possession, but the overall pace of play was hectic. The goalkeepers for each side are new to their respective XI, and proved their worth today as they combined for 7 saves.
Kansas City had its share of chances, mainly from the play of midfielder Graham Zusi, but failed to convert. At times Zusi carved up the Seattle defense through the center of the pitch, and was one of the best players on the pitch (along with DeAndre Yedlin.) Forward Dom Dwyer found himself on the end of a few chances, with nothing coming from them. The backline for KC held up relatively well considering they lined up with inexperienced fullbacks. Center back Matt Besler showed why he is the captain for KC, as he held the defense together throughout the match. With former ‘keeper Jimmy Nielsen retired, backup of 8 years Eric Kronberg got his chance to cement his place in the XI. He made a few huge saves, but could not keep out the winner.
Seattle looked the more complete team today; their fullbacks were storming forward for 90 minutes to create chances from the wide areas, and the midfielders linked up well down the pitch. Just as Graham Zusi stood out for KC DeAndre Yedlin stood out for the Sounders. The right back defended very well, and led many of the attacks for Seattle as well. With performances like this Seattle’s first homegrown player will quickly become a star. Newly acquired forward Kenny Cooper had chances as well. He got on the end of a couple long balls but did not leave much of an impression on the final product. New goalkeeper Stefan Frei played solid for the Sounders as well, making saves and coming off his line when needed. Clint Dempsey did not start, but did appear in the 57th minute being subbed in for Marco Poppa. Dempsey was (generously) credited with an assist on Barrett’s goal as well.
Seattle: Frei; Yedlin; Marshall; Traore; Remick; Neagle (Okoli 86′); Alonso; Evans; Pappa (Dempsey 57′); Cooper (Barrett 78′); Martins
Kansas City: Kronberg; Ellis; Collin; Besler; Gardner (Jerome 90′); Zusi; Olum; Feilhaber (Opara 90′); Sapong; Dwyer; Peterson (Zizzo 58′)
Man of the Match
Seattle RB DeAndre Yedlin: He was all over the pitch today. Helped his team win by defending and attacking. KC did not have an answer for his runs forward, nor could they get anything past him on offense.