The Sounders are back in a share of first place for the first time since July 2015 after defeating Sporting Kansas City 1-0 on Saturday and running their shutout streak to a club record 400 minutes.
Forget for a moment the flurry of offensive chances early for a Sounders squad with designs on first place.
Instead, consider the lack of chances by a Sporting Kansas City side that entered Saturday’s contest at CenturyLink Field as top dog in a crowded Western Conference. By the time this one ended in a 1-0 win by the Sounders, they had extended their unbeaten streak to eight games and shutout string to a club record 400 minutes and counting.
That streak of games without allowing a goal is now at four, coinciding with a turnaround for a previously moribund Sounders attack that now has them in at least a share of first place for the first time since July 2015.
The Sounders scored the only goal they’d need in the 36th minute when Jordan Morris played a ball down the right side and put a nice cross in to the box. Clint Dempsey was there and headed the ball past K.C. keeper Tim Melia into an open right corner for his third goal in two games.
Morris to Dempsey. Header. Money https://t.co/sMIqnmfWki
— Seattle Times Sports (@SeaTimesSports) August 12, 2017
The crowd went wild after what had been a thoroughly dominating opening 30 minutes. Morris played a key role in engineering the scoring chance when, having initially overrun the ball on his first attempt, he regained control and played it back to reset the attack.
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Sporting KC had entered the match looking to extend a club record 13-game unbeaten streak in all competitions since June. But they were in a depleted state, having won a tense shootout thriller over San Jose on Wednesday in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals.
The Sounders had nearly opened the scoring much earlier on in the first half when Dempsey got off a ninth-minute left-footer from deep in the box that went right in to Melia’s chest.
Not long after, Will Bruin made a nice tip to Cristian Roldan, who rocketed a shot from outside the box just wide of the far corner of the net. Then, in the 42nd minute, Nicolas Lodeiro had about as good a chance as he’ll ever see, pouncing on a loose ball from 10 yards out.
But Lodeiro’s left-footed strike hit the side of the net. Lodeiro…