KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Confidence can spur anybody to do great things and on Saturday night it did just that for Diego Rubio. The 25-year-old Chilean scored his fifth and sixth goals of the season for Sporting Kansas City, leading his team to a 3-0 win over the Portland Timbers at Children's Mercy Park.


“I always feel [confident] about what I can do in the game. I think, of course, it’s something physical, you can run the game, you can press, you can do all the things that are required to play as a striker on this team. So, of course, I [have] confidence but I am very happy that we are winning, that we are in first place,” Rubio stated after the match.


Rubio started on opening weekend for manager Peter Vermes, but did not get into the starting XI again until July 7. His fifth start of 2018 came against the Timbers and he managed to score the second brace of his MLS career, on five shots while completing 87 percent of his passes.


The Chilean is getting more opportunities with Khiry Shelton sidelined but ever since Kristizan Nemeth returned via trade, the competition for playing time has been fierce within the side. Nemeth subbed on for Rubio in the 72nd minute to make his first home appearance since the trade from the New England Revolution.


“I played one game as a [starter] in the first twenty games, so I [didn’t] feel [like] a starter before Nemeth came,” Rubio said. “I always train hard, I was doing what I needed to do. Of course, it's competition but I think for everybody, not just for me. I think everybody feels that competition because we have a good team.”


Vermes echoed similar sentiments during his postmatch press conference stating: “I think competition, it breeds the best performance of most players.”


Rubio's performance will make Vermes' job even tougher with Shelton returning from injury and Nemeth rounding back into form with his former club. 


“I know he scored two goals tonight, which was great," Vermes said. "They’re really good because that’s what he’s best at in and around the box. A lot of it has to do with the movement off the ball and that’s why he found those situations. He wasn’t standing. He had movement in the play. He was already running before he received the ball and that made him a little bit more elusive to the defender and then he finished those really well. He was very good tonight.”