KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In a rivalry marked by fierce matches often featuring late game-winners from Seattle, Djimi Traore drove the latest dagger into Sporting KC’s heart in the 95th minute Wednesday at Sporting Park.
Just when a scoreless draw appeared imminent, Zach Scott skipped a throw-in from the right side into Sporting KC’s box, where Brad Evans appeared to nick the ball in front of goal.
Defender Aurelien Collin had a chance to clear the ball, but whiffed with a swing of his right leg.
The ball wound up at Traore’s feet and, well, Sporting KC is all too familiar with what happens next.
Catching a stunned Jimmy Nielsen flat-footed in the middle of the goal, Traore poked the ball into the right side, securing Seattle’s second win of the 2013 campaign.
The goal spoiled Kei Kamara’s return.
During a second half that didn’t feature a shot on goal for either side until Traore’s game-winner, Kamara’s entrance — which drew a deafening roar from the crowd of 18,602, the club’s 22nd straight shutout — seemed destined to be the night’s highlight.
Sporting neon green cleats and rocking his trademark dreadlocks, Kamara entered the match in the 73rd minute for Jacob Peterson.
He returned Monday from a three-month loan with Norwich City of the English Premier League.
Otherwise, there wasn’t a lot for Sporting KC’s fan to cheer, especially in the second half.
Everything started so well for Sporting KC, which controlled the first half before a second-half stalemate.
Before halftime, Sporting KC outshot the Sounders 10-5 and owned 58 percent of the possession. It just didn’t produce a goal.
The assault started right from the opening whistle as forward Jacob Peterson, who started for the second straight game, tested Seattle’s Michael Gspurning 15 seconds into the game with a shot from left of goal inside the box.
Gspurning, a 6-foot-5 Austrian goalkeeper, smothered the chance with a dive to his left.
During the 13th minute, midfielder Peterson Joseph, who also started a second consecutive match, uncorked a bending right-footed effort that proved to be a bit ambitious.
Still, it was clear Sporting KC was in control early.
Seattle’s best chance came in the 28th minute when Mario Roberto Martinez curled a left-footed free kick through Sporting KC’s wall from 20 yards out, but goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen tracked it well and gathered in the chance with ease.
Playing for the first time since a two-goal game April 27 against Portland, right back Chance Myers tried his luck from just outside the box on the right side two minutes before halftime.