Kim Kee-Hee’s Cross Provides Game-Winner for Seattle Sounders

Kim Kee-Hee

PORTLAND, OREGON (Aug. 28, 2018) — Kim Kee-Hee still might not be fluent in the English language, but he understands his teammates.

The Seattle Sounders FC centerback hails from South Korea. A former player in the Chinese league, Kim has been a regular starter for the Sounders. This season, he swept the starting centerback role — alongside veteran Chad Marshall — from Román Torres.

Kim Kee-Hee’s Cross Provides Game-Winner in Crucial Cascadia Win for Seattle Sounders

Torres still does receive playing time as a substitute, but he hardly replaces Kim. That’s because what the South Korean defender is doing is working.

Not only is Kim solid on defensive duties, but he’s a force on offense. In the 76th minute, Kim looked like a winger against the Portland Timbers FC. After sending in a powerful cross, the ball bounced off Timbers defender Julio Cascante for an own-goal.

However, Brian Schmetzer, Sounders head coach, gives the credit to Kim.

“Kim Kee-hee scoring that goal, he’s actually not trying to take credit for it, I’m just saying that,” Schmetzer said. “He’s actually a humble guy.”

For his efforts, Kim was named to the MLS Team of the Week. In addition to his “goal,” as Schmetzer calls it, he produced five clearances.

Seattle’s victory is the club’s seventh in a row, extending the club record. The Sounders have jumped up from essentially last place to fifth place in the span of two and a half months. Right now, the team sits in a playoff position, taking hold of fifth place with 38 points.

After the match, Schmetzer said that the team has determination and fight to “win games in different fashions.”

“I thought there were monster performances in that locker room,” Schmetzer said. “It’s what we talk about, we try to collect points and it doesn’t matter how we do it. Give Portland a lot of credit, they came out and they were on top of us, it was their home and it was a derby match, but at the end of the day we walked out of here with three points and a little bit of satisfaction for what they did to us a few weeks ago.”

Three Takeaways

  1. Sometimes less is more: Seattle was far away from the Portland Timbers on paper. While the home side took a total of 22 shots, Seattle only took six. Shots help in the goal-scoring aspect and despite Providence Park being a tough place to play, Seattle should have racked more up. Captain Osvaldo Alonso led the offense with two shots.
  2. Brad Smith over Nouhou seems solidified: With Brad Smith back and healthy, Nouhou took the bench once again this season. As frustrating as it is, Schmetzer is making the right call. Normally, I would be against a major defensive shift late in the season, but Smith has proven that he can jump in and get going fast. To add insult to injury, though, Nouhou only got four minutes of action.
  3. This team can win the whole thing: Seattle’s problems at the beginning of the season revolved around two major aspects: a lack of communication and playing like individuals. This squad is playing like a real team. They have a huge, realistic possibility of making it back to a third-straight MLS Cup.

PHOTO: Kim Kee-Hee is surrounded by his teammates after celebrating a Portland Timbers own-goal, which began with a strong cross from Kim. Photo courtesy of Charis Wilson/Seattle Sounders FC.

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