On a cool Saturday evening in Seattle, Sporting Kansas City visited CenturyLink Field on the heels of its second four-goal output of the season — production that tied the club atop the Western Conference scoring lead with 17 goals. Its opponent Saturday shared that lead, too.
A scoreless draw, of course.
Sporting KC and Seattle failed to find the back of the net in a 0-0 tie Saturday in front of 40,653 fans.
Sporting KC remained winless against Western Conference opponents this season (0-2-4) but a shorthanded lineup — made worse by the pre-game scratch of Dom Dwyer — welcomed the road point.
“To be able to come here with so many changes in a place we’ve been snake-bit so many times late in the game, I don’t know what else to say (other than) it was big-time by the team,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said in a phone interview after the match. "This is a humongous point for us on the road."
Sporting KC, 4-2-6 overall, never offered a serious threat offensively until Benny Feilhaber nearly stole a victory in the final minutes of stoppage time with a laser from 20 yards away. As a result, Seattle, 6-3-2, extended its unbeaten streak against Sporting KC to nine matches.
A tough task for Sporting KC became tougher moments before kickoff.
After initially appearing in the starting lineup, Dwyer was removed with a neck injury he suffered at the end of Friday's training session. Vermes classified Dwyer as day-to-day.
“I told him to be very careful,” Vermes said. “If it was bothering him at all, he needed to be smart because we have a lot of games ahead of us.”
Dwyer wasn’t the only absence, of course.
Sporting KC remained without defender Seth Sinovic (concussion), midfielder Roger Espinoza (groin strain), defender Marcel de Jong (hip strain) and forward Bernardo Anor (hamstring).
Jacob Peterson was removed in the 56th minute because of leg cramps. He was replaced by rookie Connor Hallisey. All three of the club's 2015 first-round draft picks — Hallisey, Amadou Dia and Saad Abdul-Salaam — appeared in the match.
After a one-game absence with a concussion, Graham Zusi returned to the lineup as a second-half substitute.
Seattle wasn't at full strength, either. It played without forward Obafemi Martins, who is tied for third in MLS with six goals this season.
Without one of its top offensive weapons, Seattle didn't put a shot on target in the first 80 minutes, at least according to the stat sheet, but Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia was drawn off his line on several occasions to flick balls away from danger.
Melia made his fourth consecutive start after swiping the job from Luis Marin last month. He is yet to lose.
Sporting KC returns home Friday to face FC Dallas, which entered play Saturday sitting atop the Western Conference standings with 21 points.
Sporting Kansas City 0
KANSAS CITY: Tim Melia, Amadou Dia, Kevin Ellis, Jalil Anibaba, Matt Besler, Benny Feilhaber, Soni Mustivar, Jimmy Medranda (Saad Abdul-Salaam, 58th), Servando Carrasco (Graham Zusi, 77th), Jacob Peterson (Connor Hallisey, 56th), Krisztian Nemeth.
SEATTLE: Stefan Frei, Chad Marshall, Dylan Remick, Tyrone Mears, Gonzalo Pineda, Brad Evans, Lamar Neagle (Andy Rose, 64th), Osvaldo Alonso, Marco Pappa (Cristian Roldan, 73rd), Clint Dempsey, Chad Barrett (Darwin Jones, 84th).
Kansas City: None. Seattle: None.
Shots on goal
Kansas City: Ellis (foul), 81st; Mustivar (dissent), 81st.
Referee: Jair Marrufo.
Assistant referee: Corey Rockwell.
Assistant referee: Eduardo Mariscal.
4th official: Drew Fischer.
Announced attendance: 40,653.