The Seattle Sounders pulled off a 1-0 opening-day win against Sporting Kansas City, as Chad Barrett's goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time sealed a dramatic victory.
Much of the pre-game attention was focused on MLS using replacement referees for at least the opening weekend, with the league locking out its officials over a labor dispute. Referee Alan Kelly certainly used his whistle liberally, as he called an incredible 40 fouls on both teams combined.
The first half was an even affair, with both teams looking to get acclimated to a new season while playing through a driving rainstorm. Both teams' new starting goalkeeper – Erik Kronberg for Kansas City and Stefan Frei for Seattle – passed early tests.
Marco Pappa's deflected strike was well saved by Kronberg, while Dom Dwyer had the best chance for the visitors. The Englishman was teed up by Graham Zusi at the top of the box, but his curling drive was palmed away by Frei.
Kenny Cooper had a decent chance from a narrow angle with 20 minutes to play, but his low drive skipped just wide of the far post.
Just when it appeared the game was destined for a draw, Seattle's three second-half substitutes combined for a late winner. Sean Okoli floated in a cross which was popped into the air by a Kansas City defender, as Kronberg collided with several players. Clint Dempsey's header hit the bar before his scissor kick on the rebound nudged the ball to Barrett, who prodded home to send the home fans in raptures.
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