Ryan Smith was the only Englishman named in Kansas City Wizards starting line up as they visited the most impressive stadium in MLS, Qwest field to play Seattle Sounders.
In the opening 20 minutes Kansas City had to be solid defensively as Seattle had the majority of attacking possession. Freddie Ljungberg looking especially dangerous as he was able to run around the outside and behind the KC full backs on either flank. The Wizards settle later into the half, having their only real chance of the first forty five minutes came as left winger Smith made a great run to receive the ball heading towards goal only to be disposed by good tracking back from a Sounders FC defender. Apart from that Ryan only has some neat touches but no runs of note; this was made apparent as he switched wings trying to find the ball. There was only one shot in the entirety of the first half as the game played out as a very physical encounter.
The first four minutes of the second half had more goal mouth action than the entire of the first half has both sides had dangerous attacking moves. The Wizards were only denied a clear goal scoring by some excellent work by former Leicester City goalkeeper Kasey Keller to close down the forward before he could control the ball. Kansas City enjoyed their most dominant spell of the game as for a 15 minute period the match was being played in the Sounders half. Smith’s influence on the game increased as he was receiving the more of the ball, especially into feet allowing him to run at his defender; drawing a free kick in a promising position that was eventually squandered.
In the 71st minute Seattle had a goal disallowed after ex Arsenal star Ljungberg received a through ball in an offside position before setting up a simple tap in for Brad Evans. The sounders also had a penalty appeal three minutes later as Kamara tangled with Marshall as a set piece was being delivered into the box. Both teams then found it hard to create chances as any attacking moves would break down as the game was becoming more frantic.
In injury time Seattle took the lead as Michael Fucito made an intelligent run behind the defence direct from a throw in, finishing smartly as the Wizards switched off mentally. Chance Myers had an instant opportunity to equalise for KC only minutes after coming on as a substitute as he was through on goal from an acute angle but Keller made a smart save to deny him. This meant the game ended as a 1-0 win for Seattle Sounders, English central midfielder Craig Rocastle was an unused sub for Kansas City.
Overall Ryan Smith had a decent game without being able to be the destructive creative influence he had been in the first two games of the MLS season. He did his job defensively and always looked a threat when he was able to run at a defender in the final third of the field. However, he would have liked to have made some more runs being Seattle on the counter attack and at times he could have chose a different option to help support Kei Kamara on the break.
English Footballers Abroad gives Ryan Smith 7 out of 10 for his performance.
Teams for Seattle vs Kansas City on 17th April 2010
Seattle: Keller, González, Marshall, Riley, Hurtado, Ljungberg (Ianni 90’), Vegenas, Alonso, Noonan (Evans 70’), Montero, Zakuani (Fucito 85’)
Kansas City: Nielsen, Conrad (Besler 32’), Harrington, Escobar, Arnaud, Espinoza, Auvray, Smith, Wolff (Bunbury 82’), Kamara (Myers 90’), Jewsbury
Scorer: Fucito 90+2’