After their 4-1 loss at Montreal last weekend, Sounder after Sounder said they were grateful for another game coming up quickly so they could make amends. Now that game is just hours away, and with it, the Sounders' chance to end a five-game winless streak.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY (9-3-1; 28 POINTS)AT SOUNDERS FC (7-4-3; 24 POINTS)7 p.m., CenturyLink Field.TV: KONG 6/16. RADIO: 97.3 FM.CLUB LEADERS: For SKC: G 5, Kei Kamara and C.J. Sapong; A 8, Graham Zusi; S 54, Kamara; SOG 23, Kamara; GAA 0.77, Jimmy Nielsen. For Seattle: G 5, David Estrada; A 4, Fredy Montero; S 66, Montero; SOG 24, Montero; GAA 1.33, Bryan Meredith. HEAD TO HEAD: Seattle leads, 5-1; and 2-1 at home. The Sounders swept both meetings last season. This is the only scheduled meeting this season. NOTES: These are the top two teams in MLS over their last 34 games: Seattle going 20-7-7 and SKC 19-6-9. … The Sounders are 0-3-2 over their last five games and coming off of a 4-1 loss at Montreal on Saturday. Kansas City has won two straight. SKC also is 6-1-1 this season against Western Conference opponents. … Seattle coach Sigi Schmid indicated there could be a goalkeeper change tonight. For SKC, Nielsen is tied for first in MLS with six shutouts and his goals-against average is tops among keepers with at least 10 starts. … Seattle defenders Patrick Ianni (back), Leo Gonzales (quad) and Adam Johansson (hamstring) trained this week and could be available. Steve Zakuani (leg) is listed as doubtful, but Schmid did not rule him out as a candidate for the 18-man roster for the first time since his leg injuries early last season. … Sapong (groin) is listed as probable. … Seattle forward Eddie Johnson played for Kansas City from 2006-07, scoring 17 goals in 43 appearances. … Seattle defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado is ineligible after receiving a red card Saturday at Montreal. … Montero and Johnson are one caution away from yellow-card suspension. … The referee is Jair Marrufo.QUOTABLE: “"They're just a very aggressive team. I was going to say attack-minded, but when you look at their goals scored it's not like they've scored that many more goals than somebody else has. They're very aggressive in terms of their overall approach to the game. They're aggressive defensively. They run all over. They try and high pressure. They're aggressive offensively. They're a big team. I think when they have all their weapons each one of their forwards is bigger than six-foot. You look at their two central backs and they're both bigger than six-foot. Their central midfielder is bigger than six-foot. They're a big team. They try and throw the ball in the box. Anytime they get a free kick, everything from midfield on in, Graham Zusi serves a good ball-he's going to knock it into the box. If it goes out of bounds [they do] a long throw-in. They try and cause havoc in your box whenever possible, and hope through that pressure that eventually a mistake occurs. They're a very aggressive team offensively and defensively.".” – Schmid on SKC.NEXT: 2 p.m. Sunday, at Portland Timbers, ESPN.
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Sporting Kansas City has won four straight in all competition and will have the opportunity to move into first place in the Eastern Conference with a win on Wednesday. The team is led by playmaker Graham Zusi, whose eight assists are most in MLS, and captain Jimmy Nielsen, who has a League-high six shutouts.
After scoring two goals for Sierra Leone in their African Cup of Nations qualifier on Saturday, Sporting KC striker Kei Kamara returns to the team to join C.J. Sapong and Teal Bunbury in the attack. Collectively, the three players have combined for 12 of the team's 19 goals on the offensive end, while the Sporting KC defense has allowed a League low 10 goals this season.
Sporting KC will again be without central defender Matt Besler (appendicitis) and left-sided forward Bobby Convey (calf strain) as the team plays its second of five games in a 14-day span following a 2-0 win over Toronto FC on Saturday.
The Sounders FC enter the contest winless in their past five MLS matches, their worst such stretch since entering MLS in 2009, and are coming off a 4-1 loss at Montreal on Saturday. Colombian defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado will be unavailable on Wednesday after receiving a red card in the defeat, but midfielder Osvaldo Alonso returns having served his two-game suspension.
Seattle has won five straight in the series with all five game-winning goals coming in the final 15 minutes, including three in second-half stoppage time. Led by head coach Sigi Schmid, the most victorious manager in MLS history, Seattle have won three straight Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles and, like Sporting KC, are in the quarterfinals of this year's tournament.
For the second straight week, Sporting KC will face a team with the MLS maximum of three Designated Players. Colombian forward Fredy Montero, Argentine midfielder Mauro Rosales and Uruguayan midfielder Alvaro Fernandez again feature for the club following standout seasons in 2011.
The Sounders FC also added striker Eddie Johnson in the offseason and he will face his former club for the first time since his memorable 2007 season in which he recorded 15 goals and six assists before signing with Fulham of the English Premier League.
Since 2008, the eight meetings between Sporting Kansas City and Seattle Sounders FC in all competition have been decided by a single goal with Sporting KC's lone win coming on the road in 2009. The evenly matched foes have been the best in MLS over the course of the past year, amassing the most points of all 19 MLS teams in their last 34 MLS regular season matches.