Kansas City pummels Loons 4-0, sets up Sounders showdown

Forward Johnny Russell’s penalty kick gave Kansas City a 3-0 halftime lead against Minnesota United FC. Russell scored once and earned 2 assists. Kansas City went on to win the match 4-0. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

Sporting Kansas City trounced Minnesota United FC on Wednesday evening 4-0. The win pushes Kansas City back into the top spot in the MLS Western Conference and sets up a clash for the lead against the second place Seattle Sounders on Sept. 26.

After Minnesota earned three quick scoring chances in the first five minutes, it looked like Kansas City would be in for a challenging evening. Loons forward Ethan Finlay barely missed changing the early tone of the game, but banged the ball off the crossbar instead.

The momentum reversed quickly, and after Khiry Shelton scored the first goal in the 14th minute, the outcome never looked in doubt again.

Shelton earned his goal off the rebound of a long distance Daniel Salloi shot. Minnesota goalkeeper Tyler Miller made the save but allowed the ball to ricochet back into Shelton’s path. Rushing in toward the goal, he was in just the right spot to nod the ball home.

Shelton missed his chance for a brace just moments later, hitting the crossbar off a centering pass from midfielder Roger Espinoza.

Salloi scored Kansas City’s second goal in the 36th minute. Johnny Russell made a centering pass from deep in the right corner that skittered between defenders and found Salloi in the center of the pitch. He skimmed the ball between a defender’s legs and under Miller’s dive.

Salloi’s goal was his 13th of the season, just one behind conference-leading Raul Ruidiaz of Seattle, and it earned him loud chants of “MVP” from the crowd.

In the final minute of the first half, Shelton raced past the Minnesota defense on an attacking run. Miller scrambled out to the edge of the penalty area to intercept the ball, but tripped Shelton instead with a grab at his boots as he slid underneath the tall Kansas City forward.

Though referee Robert Sibiga didn’t call a penalty at first sight, he did take a video review, and then awarded Kansas City the penalty kick. Johnny Russell’s left-footed strike from the spot put the ball just inside the right post for a 3-0 halftime lead.

Even with a hefty advantage to start the second half, Kansas City didn’t give up the attack. Russell earned his second assist of the match in the 52nd minute, crossing the ball again from the right corner and finding Cam Duke in front of the goal to score his first goal at Children’s Mercy Park.

After the 70th minute Kansas City dropped their defense lower and withstood a bit of Minnesota pressure to see out the match.

Kansas City’s defensive core of Ilie Sanchez and Andreu Fontas continued their solid performance, allowing no Minnesota shots on frame.

Kansas City has over a week to rest before playing the Seattle Sounders at 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26, at Children’s Mercy Park.

Minnesota goalkeeper Tyler Miller tripped forward Khiry Shelton as Shelton ran into the 18-yard box. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
Minnesota goalkeeper Tyler Miller’s dive was unable to stop midfielder Cam Duke from scoring Kansas City’s 4th goal. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
Minnesota defender D.J. Taylor slid in to dispossess forward Johnny Russell. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
Midfielder Cam Duke was treated roughly by Minnesota defender Bakaye Dibassy as he ran into the 18-yard box. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
Forward Daniel Salloi and Minnesota defender Brent Kallman contested the ball until goalkeeper Tyler Miller arrived to settle the matter. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
Forward Johnny Russell played the ball across the Minnesota goal to set up Daniel Salloi for the second score. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
The Halftime Dogs showed off their athletic skills. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
Forward Daniel Salloi took a shot on goal. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
Minnesota defender D.J. Taylor headed away a pass intended for forward Johnny Russell. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)

Sporting KC scores early, shuts out Fire 2-0

Forward Alan Pulido, right, congratulated Johnny Russell following Russell’s goal that gave Kansas City a 2-0 lead in the match against the Chicago Fire. The game was Russell’s 100th appearance for Kansas City in the regular season. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

Sporting Kansas City made two early goals stand up for a 2-0 shutout win against the Chicago Fire at Children’s Mercy Park on Friday evening.

Newly signed midfielder Jose Mauri, in his first home appearance for Sporting, scored the first goal in the 4th minute. He took a gamble on a low-percentage shot from a few yards outside the penalty area.

Mauri’s chance paid off when Chicago goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth, although well-positioned to make the save, let the ball slide underneath him and into the net.

Two minutes later, Johnny Russell, in his 100th regular season match for Kansas City, received the gift of an easy goal. The rebound from a Daniel Salloi shot came to him in front of the empty Chicago net, and a quick tap-in bagged Russell his fifth goal of the season.

Though the two quick scores made it look as though Sporting would walk away with the match, that was far from the case. Chicago made defensive adjustments that slowed the Kansas City offense, and in the second half, Chicago took the fight back to the other end of the pitch.

Some heroic saves by Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia and a couple shots that bounced off the crossbar were needed to keep Chicago off the scoreboard. The clean sheet was the team’s first at home since May.

The win moves Kansas City back into second place in the MLS Western Conference, two points behind Seattle.

The match with Chicago is the first of three consecutive home matches. With Colorado a single point behind in the standings and holding two games in hand, Sporting hopes to maximize their results in the three-game home stand.

The next match will take place against Minnesota United at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 15.

The 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks brought out plenty of American flags, and a flyover of A-10 jets. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
Midfielder Jose Mauri, in his first match in front of the Kansas City fans, scored to give Sporting the early 1-0 lead. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
Forward Johnny Russell slid to keep control of the ball in the Chicago end. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
Midfielder Remy Walter headed the ball back toward the Chicago goal. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
The Chicago goalkeeper watched helplessly as Johnny Russell’s tap-in gave Kansas City its second goal within two minutes. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
Forward Daniel Salloi fired a shot on goal that led to a Kansas City score in the 4th minute. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
After the match, defender Ilie Sanchez got a hug, a homemade card, and a fan for life. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
A brace of Chicago defenders closed down Graham Zusi’s path to the goal. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
Forward Johnny Russell headed the ball near midfield. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
Through a haze of celebratory blue smoke, fans in the Cauldron section cheered Mauri’s early goal. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)

Wildcats hold off late Sabres surge for 16-14 win

Washington quarterback Blake Mullikin scored on a short run in the first half of the Wildcats’ 16-14 victory over Sumner. Mullikin scored two touchdowns in the contest. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

The Washington Wildcats held off a fourth quarter charge from the Sumner Sabres to win Friday night’s football game 16-14 at Washington.

Washington’s Blake Mullikin scored two first-half rushing touchdowns to stake the Wildcats to a 14-0 halftime lead.

The first score came midway through the first half after the teams traded unproductive first drives. Washington took over on the Sumner 9-yard line after a muffed snap on a punt. Washington pounded the ball within a yard of the goal, and Mullikin finished the drive by sliding down the line to find a small crease for the score and a 6-0 lead.

Washington’s second goal capped a long drive that consumed most of the second quarter. The Wildcats converted five first downs as they marched methodically down the field. Mullikin plunged through several defenders from four yards out for the touchdown, and the Wildcats converted a two-point play for a 14-0 lead.

With under two minutes in the half, Sumner drove down inside the Washington 10-yard line, but couldn’t score before the halftime whistle sounded.

After the teams traded turnovers to start the second half, Sumner took over on a blocked punt at the Washington 22 and then unleashed running back Antonio Harrison for a 22-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the score 14-6.

Early in the fourth quarter, Washington drove from their 45-yard line to within two yards of Sumner’s goal. Sumner’s defense held on fourth down, but the aftermath proved costly.

On the next play, Washington sent a rush of defenders, sacking Sumner’s quarterback in the end zone and earning the two-point safety that proved to be the game’s final margin.

Sumner pulled within two points on a touchdown pass from Cam Johnson to Rickey Brown, followed by a two-point conversion to Harrison.

The door of opportunity opened wide for Sumner with four minutes remaining in the game. Washington fumbled the kickoff, and Sumner took over the ball at the Washington 17-yard line.

Penalties and a bad snap sent the Sumner offense in reverse, ending up back near the Washington 35, where the Wildcats took over on downs, needing only one first down to run out the clock.

The Sabres fall to 0-2 on the season. They are scheduled to play Lincoln Preparatory Academy on Sept. 17 at Schlagle Stadium.

The Washington Wildcats are 1-0 to start the season. They will face off against Schlagle next Friday in their homecoming game. Both games will kick off at 7 p.m.

Sumner senior receiver Rickey Brown broke multiple tackles on his way to a touchdown. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
Washington quarterback Savyon Powell threw a short pass to the left side. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
Sumner running back Antonio Harrison burst around the right side for a 22-yard touchdown run. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
Washington junior offensive lineman Jaden Selmon blocked Sumner sophomore defensive lineman Nicky Flores. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
The Washington Wildcats burst onto the field for their season opener. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
Washington sophomore defensive back Ja’Quarey Williams knocked away a Sumner pass to the end zone. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
The Washington cheerleaders celebrated the victory. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
The Sumner drum section paraded onto the field before the game. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
Sumner junior Enrique Najera stripped the football for a fumble. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)

 

Washington head coach Cam Smith addressed the team after the game. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)