Sounders expect Sporting KC to come out “fighting”

TUKWILA – To suggest that the Seattle Sounders have spent much of the past seven months thinking about their last fight with Sporting KC would be a bit of an exaggeration. Around that time, the Sounders reached the playoffs for the 13th consecutive season, became the first MLS team to win the Concacaf Champions League, and made it through a rough start to the 2022 regular season to get back into the playoff position.

To say that they completely forgot about that meeting? It would also be a bit of a stretch.

It’s not so much that the game itself was particularly memorable, but rather a moment. With Sporting KC leading 1-0, Tim Melia hit Cristian Roldan in such a striking way that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson noticed.

“It adds a bit of style to the game,” Roldan said Wednesday. “The games against Kansas City are always lively. They are well trained and always have a chip on their shoulder. “

Roldan insisted that he has no personal animosity towards Melia, even though the apology soon after was a bit silly.

“It was as if nothing had happened,” Roldan said of Melia’s mea culpa. “I was a little shocked to be honest. It was just like “I’m sorry about that”. He was rather negligent.

“But Tim is a good person and he’s competitive just like me, so I don’t blame him.”

What adds a little more intrigue to the game is the general feeling that punishment does not equal crime. Not only were Melia allowed to finish the match – the VAR didn’t even deign to intervene and at most suggested that Ismail Elfath issue a yellow card – but Sporting KC conceded a late goal to win. By twisting the knife just a little, the Disciplinary Commission granted Melia the minimum suspension of one match. During that suspension, Melia’s Sporting KC teammates appeared to tease the situation by running a wrestling-inspired celebration after a goal.

However, there appears to have been some karmic retribution. Since that celebration, Sporting KC have only gone 5-13-4 in the MLS and arrived at Saturday’s game with just two points clear of the “leaders” of Wooden Spoon.

As much as Sporting KC have struggled, they are coming out of a season-changing win against Nashville SC – ending Nashville’s 25 straight home wins – and could go within a point of the playoff line with a win. Together with Sporting KC who have won all three away games at Lumen Field, the Sounders are taking nothing for granted.

“They have the skills, they have the players, they just performed poorly,” said Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei. “Whether this is bad luck or bad play, it doesn’t matter. If they have a good game with what they are capable of, they are a great team that can make a solid turn. We know it. We expect them to come out fighting. “

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