Michael Fucito scores in injury time to lift Sounders FC over Wizards
Second-year player's first career goal gives Seattle a 1-0 victory
Seattle Times staff reporter
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The final seconds of another disappointing game at home were ticking away for Sounders FC.
Another shutout in front of a raucous sellout crowd at Qwest Field seemed inevitable.
Then, in a flash, second-half substitute Michael Fucito raced behind the Kansas City defense, collected a throw-in in the Wizards penalty box from teammate Brad Evans and scored an out-of-nowhere winning goal in the 92nd minute for a 1-0 win Saturday.
"It's a split-second thing that changes a game," said Evans, who came off the bench to provide the assist. "Hats off to him for sure for a great run and an awesome finish."
Fucito, a second-year player out of Harvard, came into a scoreless game in the 85th minute. Then two minutes into stoppage time he sent 35,924 fans home happy with the first goal of his Major League Soccer career.
"That's the best feeling in the world, scoring a goal," said Fucito. "Im glad it was at such an opportune time. I just want to thank the coaches for putting me in and giving me a shot and believing in my game — my teammates for their support too."
It was the first Sounders FC stoppage-time goal in an MLS game and the first goal allowed by Kansas City (2-1) all season.
The goal celebration might have lasted a bit too long, however, as the visitors nearly scored the tying goal in the 93rd minute. Goalkeeper Kasey Keller had to make a diving save on a shot by Wizards midfielder Chance Myers to preserve the win.
"We just thought the game was over," Keller said.
Seattle struggled for most of the night offensively and had only five shots total, just two after halftime. Before Fucito's goal, the best potential scoring chance in the second half came in the 53rd minute, when Fredy Montero earned a dangerous free kick.
Freddie Ljungberg's shot from 25 yards, however, hit the outside of the goal.
In the 71st minute, Evans had a goal called back for offsides.
"We played better than we did in Salt Lake, but still not up to standards we set for ourselves," said Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid.
Seattle (2-1-1) played Kansas City even in the first half but missed an excellent opportunity to take an early lead in the 10th minute when Pat Noonan couldn't control a cross from James Riley and fired a shot wide.
Sounders FC also had chances from Steve Zakuani and Montero in a first half, but both efforts were saved by Wizards goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen.
While the offense struggled, the defense excelled.
Kansas City midfielder Ryan Smith, who had a goal and two assists in the team's undefeated start, was shut down for most of the afternoon. Keller had to make only two saves in the shutout.
"Obviously we just tried to contain them," Riley said. "Keep them in front of us. Don't let them really get behind. Make it predictable for guys. And there was a lot of help. It was a good team effort defensively all the way around."
It was an effort that allowed Fucito to steal the show at the end and earn a much-needed three points in the MLS standings before a two-game trip to Dallas and Toronto next week.
Kansas City was the first MLS team to beat Sounders FC on the road, with a 1-0 win on April 11, 2009.
Seattle has never lost two in a row at home and has allowed four goals in its last 11 games at Qwest Field.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com
Sounders FC 1, Wizards 0
|Kansas City||0 0 — 0|
|Seattle||0 1 — 1|
Kansas City — Jimmy Nielsen, Jimmy Conrad (Matt Besler, 33rd), Pablo Escobar, Michael Harrington, Roger Espinoza, Ryan Smith, Stephane Auvray, Jack Jewsbury, Davy Arnaud, Kei Kamara (Chance Myers, 91st+), Josh Wolff (Teal Bunbury, 84th).
Seattle — Kasey Keller, Leo Gonzalez, Tyrone Marshall, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, James Riley, Steve Zakuani (Michael Fucito, 86th), Peter Vagenas, Freddie Ljungberg (Patrick Ianni, 91st+), Osvaldo Alonso, Pat Noonan (Brad Evans, 70th), Fredy Montero.
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