Good thing MLS doesn’t have relegation, or the defending champions would be a fine candidate for a tumble from the top shelf. After a first half in which Sporting KC didn’t have a shot on goal, Gerso Fernandes scored three times in 13 minutes to crush the Sounders 3-0 Wednesday night at Children’s Mercy Park.
The loss, following a 4-1 defeat in Chicago Saturday in which the Sounders also gave up three quick goals in the second half, dropped ninth-place Seattle to 2-5-4. Only two teams have fewer points. The Sounders have scored one goal in their past six matches against SKC (6-2-4).
Fernandes, a 5-8 forward from Guinea-Bissau, scored in the 56th minute after a corner kick rebounded to his feet, and he beat the oncoming rush from Christian Roldan and Jordan Morris with a wormburner inside the near post.
Two minutes later, he gathered in his own hard rebound off the near post and worked into open space to score from 10 yards.
In the 69th minute, he had an easy score from 10 yards following a pass from Graham Zusi as Fernandes again found himself undefended. It was Sporting KC’s first hat trick, all left-footed, in seven seasons, and gave Fernandes his fifth goal of the season, tying his career high with 22 games left.
The peppering was preceded by another shot from SKC on frame that Stefan Frei slapped over the crossbar that otherwise would have made it 4-0.
After the first-half blanking, SKC had 12 second-half shots, six on frame as the injury-depleted Sounders back line lost all the form it had in the first half. SKC won its 15th game in a row at home.
Roldan was asked what is missing among the Sounders.
I think it’s quite a few things,” he said. “It’s the assist, the pass before the goal. The final product. It’s not being offside when we’re in a good position. It’s defending well. It’s blocking crosses.
“It’s the whole picture, it’s the whole game. We just have to be better. We have to find those moments. We have to be concentrated and smart with our actions.”
Before the game, coach Brian Schmetzer made a decision to rest a healthy Clint Dempsey, because the game was the second of three in eight days for Seattle. Also missing was midfielder Ozzie Alonso, who had a tight quad muscle, and Joevin Jones, suspended after two yellows in Chicago.
Oneil Fisher started at left back in his first appearance since April 14, missing the previous four games with a hamstring strain. Jordy Delem was back after a one-game, yellow card suspension. Roman Torres remains out with a hamstring strain, and Brad Evans was good for only 12 minutes as a sub at right back.