The game in 100 words (or less): Major League Soccer’s Western Conference is, once again, going to be a war of attrition in 2016. If nothing else, Sporting Kansas City’s 1-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders reminded us of this. Though the season opener for either side, Sunday’s contest already had something of a late-season/playoff feel to it. Offseason signing Nuno Andre Coelho scored the game’s only goal, a long-range bouncing effort that Stefan Frei will be replaying in his head over and over this week. Sporting KC, who were without injured stars Benny Feilhaber, Ike Opara and Brad Davis, played 50 minutes with a man advantage after Oniel Fisher was sent off for a wild, reckless, lunging challenge (41st minute). The Sounders weren’t without their chances, though, as Tim Melia was forced to make only two saves on the night, but what massive, spectacular saves they were.
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Three moments that mattered
15′ — Melia goes full-stretch to save Dempsey’s FK — Clint Dempsey must have thought he’d opened the scoring with his free kick in the 15th minute, but Melia came out of just about nowhere to tip it over the crossbar.
41′ — Fisher leaves the ground, goes in two-footed, is sent off — It’s amazing that we still see challenges like this in the year 2016. It’s a red card every single time, whether you touch the player or not, and here we are.
73′ — Coelho’s bouncing effort goes under Frei, 1-0 to SKC — In defense of Frei, the Seattle skies opened up and a torrential downpour soaked the CenturyLink Field pitch for at least 10 minutes during the second half. That said, he has to get a hand on this shot from Coelho. It looks downright amateurish that he doesn’t.
Man of the match: Roger Espinoza
Goalscorers: Coelho (73′)