Russell extends scoring streak, earns KC home playoff match

Forward Johnny Russell pushed past defender Niko Hamalainen to score his first goal in a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy on Wednesday evening. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

The rain didn’t stop Wednesday evening and neither did Sporting Kansas City captain Johnny Russell, who scored both goals against the Los Angeles Galaxy in a 2-0 win. The goals extended Russell’s club record scoring streak to 8 consecutive matches.

Reserve goalkeeper John Pulskamp, pressed into service due to Tim Melia’s one-game suspension, kept the visitors off the board with two saves on well-hit Galaxy shots.

Sporting just missed an opportunity for an early lead in the 2nd minute. A corner kick from Russell fell to Ilie Sanchez, but his shot banged off the goalpost.

Kansas City had another flurry of shots near the quarter-hour mark, along with four consecutive corner kicks, but the Galaxy defense held fast.

Pulskamp earned his first save of the match when he got a leg on a shot from Dejan Joveljic in the 30th minute.

Five minutes before the break, Russell put Kansas City on the scoreboard. Gadi Kinda passed the ball to the Scottish forward in the right corner. Russell slipped the ball past defender Niko Hamalainen to earn a clean shot that he rocketed between the goalkeeper and the near post.

At the defensive end, Pulskamp picked up his second save in the 60th minute, smothering a shot at close range, and defender Luis Martins made a sliding block to deny the Galaxy an equalizing goal in the 73rd minute.

In the 83rd minute, Russell scored again off a pass from Kinda. From the right side, he curled the ball into the upper left corner of the net to double the lead.

The win puts Kansas City back atop the MLS Western Conference standings, and it assures them of at least one home game in the MLS Cup playoffs that start Nov. 20.

Kansas City has two games on the road at Minnesota (Oct. 31) and Austin (Nov. 3) before returning home to face Real Salt Lake in the regular season finale on Nov. 7.

Johnny Russell made a sliding tackle to break up a run by LA defender Derrick Williams. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
LA defender Sega Coulibaly leaped to clear a ball in front of the LA goal. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
Johnny Russell and Graham Zusi clowned around with a professional wrestling move in honor of suspended teammate Tim Melia. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
Midfielder Roger Espinoza tangled with LA defender Julian Araujo along the left sideline. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
LA midfielder Rayan Raveloson tracked Ilie Sanchez, playing as a midfielder in the match. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
Forward Khiry Shelton went to the ground on a run up the middle. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
Midfielder Remi Walter’s shot on the LA goal was blocked. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
LA defender Derrick Williams slid in to block forward Johnny Russell. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)
Johnny Russell scored his second goal of the match in the 82nd minute. (Photo copyright 2021 by Brian Turrel)

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