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May 072013

Kei+Kamara+Sporting+Kansas+City+v+New+England+d9gNeUss61Dl Sporting KC hosts Seattle Sounders on Wednesday in rematch of 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final

Sporting Kansas City welcomes the Seattle Sounders FC to Sporting Park at 7:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday in a rematch of the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final. The two teams meet for the first time since Sporting Kansas City prevailed in a penalty kick shootout last August at Sporting Park to end the Sounders’ three-year reign as U.S. Open Cup champions.

Sporting Kansas City forward Kei Kamara, the team’s leading goal scorer each of the last three seasons, returned to the club on Monday upon the completion of his loan agreement with Norwich City FC of the Barclays Premier League. He scored one goal in 11 appearances for the Canaries and is expected to be available for selection on Wednesday after training with the team today.

The mid-week match-up comes three days after Sporting Kansas City posted a 4-0 victory over Chivas USA to move into first place in the Eastern Conference. Graham Zusi was named MLS Player of the Week with a goal and game-winning assist in the performance, while Designated Player Claudio Bieler added two goals to move into the League lead with six on the season.

Jimmy Nielsen leads the League with six shutouts, moving atop Sporting KC’s all-time chart with 38 clean sheets in his MLS career. Wednesday’s meeting will feature two of the top goalkeepers in MLS as Nielsen and Seattle’s Michael Gspurning were the only two goalkeepers with goals against averages below 1.00 last season.

Seattle enter the fixture unbeaten in their last four matches in all competition, but at the bottom of the Western Conference standings seven games into their season. Their trip to Sporting Park will be a third straight road match for Sigi Schmid’s squad, who are coming off a 2-2 draw at Philadelphia on Saturday.

Argentinean midfielder Mauro Rosales, the 2011 MLS Newcomer of the Year, contributed a goal and an assist in Seattle’s first multi-goal game of the campaign. Former KC forward Eddie Johnson scored his second goal of the season in the 10th minute en route to extending the team’s unbeaten streak to 34 games when scoring first.

The Sounders will be without forward Lamar Neagle and homegrown defender DeAndre Yedlin on Wednesday due to suspension after both players received red cards in the final 10 minutes of Saturday’s showdown with the Union. The visitors are also managing injuries to Designated Players Shalrie Joseph and Obafemi Martins, as well as former No. 1 overall SuperDraft selection Steve Zakuani. All three players missed the Sounders’ previous match along with two-time MLS All-Star Osvaldo Alonso due to personal reasons.

Schmid, the League’s all-time leader in wins with 195 MLS victories (including playoffs), has used 11 different lineups in the team’s 11 matches in all competition this year.

Sporting Kansas City is winless in their last six MLS matches against Seattle since winning the first-ever meeting between the two sides in 2009. The Sounders hold a 5-1-1 record in the all-time regular season series, including wins in all three MLS games played in Kansas City. In the lone MLS meeting a year ago, Sporting KC and Seattle split the points in a 1-1 draw at CenturyLink Field.

Matthew Martin

Business manager for Global Football Today. I write the occasional article, but mostly stay behind the scenes.

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