Sporting Kansas City stated their intent in the race for the Supporters' Shield and the top seed in the Western Conference with a resounding 3-1 victory over the Seattle Sounders on Sunday evening at Lumen Field.
HIGHLIGHTS: Seattle Sounders FC vs. Sporting Kansas City | July 25, 2021
Johnny Russell opened the scoring on a wonderfully taken free kick. Danniel Salloi then doubled Kansas City's lead shortly before halftime on a counterattack for his team-leading ninth goal of the season.
Midfield substitute Cameron Duke added his first career MLS goal on his first touch to seal all three points for the visitors, who moved within two points of the West-leading Sounders and three of Shield leaders New England.
Fredy Montero pulled a goal back shortly after halftime with his third tally of the season for Seattle, who suffered their first home defeat in nine matches in 2021.
Two matches and a week ago, the Sounders had their 13-match unbeaten start to the season snapped in Minnesota.
Raul Ruidiaz had the Sounders' best chance to level not long after, but Tim Melia got just enough of his chip from the edge of the penalty area to push it onto the goal frame.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Much as with the Sounders' away loss to Minnesota, an eventual home defeat was coming sooner or later for Seattle given the combination of their workload and short bench in recent weeks. It didn't hurt that it was only Kansas City's second game in five days versus the Sounders' third in eight. Meanwhile, this was easily Sporting's best away win to date, having previously defeated the LA Galaxy sans Chicharito, the San Jose Earthquakes and New York Red Bulls in reverse order.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The result remained in doubt when Duke entered for Gadi Kinda in the 70th minute. It wouldn't be for long, as the 20-year-old homegrown took advantage of the Sounders' momentary defensive lapse, reached Graham Zusi's delicious ball and struck an excellent low volley past Stefan Cleveland.
GOAL: Cameron Duke, Sporting Kansas City - 72nd minute
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Gadi Kinda. The Israeli international was at the center of most of Sporting's best attacks during his 70-minute shift, including a swift counterattack shortly before halftime that resulted in Salloi's goal to make it 2-0. He completed nearly 91% of his passes, including a team-leading three key passes for the visitors.
GOAL: Daniel Salloi, Sporting Kansas City - 42nd minute
- SEA: Saturday, July 31 vs. San Jose Earthquakes (5 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+)
- SKC: Saturday, July 31 vs. FC Dallas (8:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+)