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Sounders top Sporting Kansas City 1-0 to move into tie for first place

The Sounders are back in a share of first place for the first time since July 2015 after defeating Sporting Kansas City 1-0 on Saturday and running their shutout streak to a club record 400 minutes.

Inside the Sounders locker room after Saturday’s game, the newly minted first-place team was informed it had set a club record by extending its shutout steak to 400 minutes and counting.

Soccer tradition dictates that Sounders keeper Stefan Frei gets primary credit, but once the news was delivered, he pointed around the room at various sets of teammates, saying: “No, it’s you guys, it’s you guys, it’s you guys.’’ Such modesty is sometimes false in sports, but after a 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City, it’s obvious the Sounders are finally blending in to an overall unit as lethal as the one that won a championship last December.

After a half-season of sputtering fits and starts, some stability on a back line aided by the arrival of Dutch right back Kelvin Leerdam has helped the Sounders solidify defensively while buying time for their attack to find cohesion.

As a result, the Sounders moved into a tie with Sporting K.C. atop the Western Conference, marking the first time since July 2015 they’ve been in first place.

“Consistency always helps,’’ Frei said after his fourth straight clean sheet. “Because you allow guys to figure out what their tendencies are and it usually tends to erase some errant passes and things like that. If you know that someone prefers to check and then go long, or check and then stay short, all of those things are very important.’’

A crowd of 43,530 at CenturyLink Field saw the Sounders extend their unbeaten streak to eight games in the type of match they might have lost earlier in the season. The weary K.C. side — playing its third game in seven days — had a solid possession plan throughout. It pressed up high and kept the middle of the field bottled up, forcing the…

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