by Brian Turrel
Snow filtered down into Children’s Mercy Park, pushed about by sub-freezing breezes under gray skies. The outcome of the match was slightly more positive — a 2 – 2 Sporting Kansas City draw against the previously winless and goalless Seattle Sounders.
Veteran defender Graham Zusi scored the equalizer in the 78th minute. After serving up crosses to his teammates earlier in the game, this time Zusi instead dribbled in from the right side to about four yards before chipping the ball past Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei.
Seattle had taken a 2 – 1 lead five minutes earlier on Cristian Roldan’s shot from just outside the penalty area, set up by well-executed passes from Alex Roldan and Will Bruin. The buildup beat the Sporting defense, which was caught off guard by the challenge.
Seattle scored its first goal of the season in the final seconds of first half stoppage time, tying the score at 1 – 1. Midfielder Will Bruin received a long throw-in from Nicolas Lodeiro just in front of the goal and slipped it under Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia.
Sporting KC opened the scoring in the 34th minute when Ilie Sanchez scored on a penalty kick. The penalty was awarded when forward Johnny Russell was brought down in the penalty area by Seattle’s Nouhou Tolo.
Sporting kept Frei busy all night, placing eight shots on goal, including a header by Ilie Sanchez in the 83rd minute that would have put Kansas City on top.
About 200 fans stayed after the game for a Faith and Family event moved indoors because of the frigid temperatures outside. Former KU and NBA star Wayne Simien led Sporting Kansas City’s Seth Sinovic, Ike Opara and Matt Besler in a discussion of how their Christian faith affects their lives on and off the field.
Sporting KC remains on top of the MLS Western Conference, four points ahead of the Los Angeles Galaxy. The draw extends their unbeaten streak to six games. Sporting will play at home this Friday evening against the Vancouver Whitecaps, kicking off at 8 p.m.