With Obafemi Martins looking to continue his impressive scoring binge, the Seattle Sounders will try to close out their month in successful fashion.
The Sounders will visit a Sporting Kansas City squad that won’t have top defender Matt Besler or play-making midfielder Benny Feilhaber available Sunday.
Martins scored his fourth goal in as many games and seventh in his past seven MLS contests last weekend in a 3-0 win against Vancouver that clinched the Cascadia Cup. With Martins resting, the Sounders then beat the Whitecaps 3-0 again Wednesday to secure a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.
Seattle (14-13-3) has moved back in playoff position in the Western Conference by going 3-0-1 in its last four games and 1-0-1 on this three-game road stretch.
"It’s about us continuing to play well. It’s about us continuing to feel confident and growing our confidence in each other," coach Sigi Schmid said. "It’s about us knowing we want to get to the playoffs and we want to get those points. We know in the playoffs we’re going to have to go on the road, so we wanted to do well on the road."
The Sounders will try to solidify their hold on a postseason berth when they face a short-handed Kansas City (12-9-8), which won’t have Besler and Feilhaber because of yellow card accumulations. Besler picked up his fifth of the season in a 1-0 loss at Houston on Wednesday and Feilhaber – who has 12 goals and is tied for the MLS lead with 14 assists – was tagged with his sixth.
Those absences could make it more challenging for the club to strengthen its hold on a playoff spot in the West. It’s also unclear what lineup changes coach Peter Vermes will make since Sporting KC also plays in the U.S. Open Cup final Wednesday at Philadelphia.
Kansas City, 1-5-1 in its last seven, is 1-0-1 against Seattle this season and a 1-0 victory June 6 was its first in nine MLS matchups. Feilhaber scored the lone goal on a penalty kick in the 84th minute to snap his team’s four-game home losing streak to the Sounders in league play.
Sporting won the 2012 U.S. Open Cup in Kansas City over the Sounders on penalty kicks.
"We always have a tough game against Seattle. We know what they’re about, and we’re looking forward to the game," said forward Dom Dwyer, who leads the team with 15 goals across all competitions. "I think it will be a fun one. It’s always fun to play the better teams in the league. I think they’re one of the strongest teams."
While it’s struggled overall of late, Sporting KC is 13-1-4 at home across all competitions and 9-1-4 in league play. A 14th win would match a club record that was set in 2000, then matched in 2004 and 2012.
Martins has faced Kansas City just once in his career and didn’t score in Seattle’s 1-0 win March 8, 2014.