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)

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