Seattle finished up the Desert Diamond Cup on Saturday with a 1-1 draw against Sporting Kansas City at Kino Sporting Complex, tying despite sustained pressure, a stronger starting lineup and a smooth finish from Obafemi Martins just after halftime.
The Sounders conclude their preseason schedule winless against MLS opposition, with three losses to go along with Saturday’s tie. In fairness, though, Chivas USA racked up a 4-0-3 record last preseason, and Seattle’s most-successful spring — in 2013 — resulted in its lowest league finish to date.
Seattle hosted something close to a first-choice starting 11 on Saturday — Frei; Mears, Marshall, Evans, Gonzalez; Pappa, Azira, Pineda, Neagle; Dempsey, Martins — validating coach Sigi Schmid’s pledge to use the match as a final tune-up.
Connor Hallisey fired Sporting Kansas City in front after just eight minutes. And though the Sounders controlled possession for the rest of the first half, KC took a 1-0 lead into the break.
Martins pulled Seattle level on the hour mark, finishing off a straightforward attack with a breakaway goal. The Sounders continued to push for the go-ahead tally, with Martins twice coming close into the ensuing minutes, before Pineda was sent off with 14 minutes to go.
Pineda’s card will not carry over to next weekend, with the Sounders open the regular season against New England on Sunday at CenturyLink Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and will be televised nationally on Fox Sports 1.