Two early first-half goals sealed a 2-0 home win for Sporting Kansas City over Chicago Fire FC Saturday evening at Children's Mercy Park.

It was a nightmare start for the Fire, who conceded twice within the opening six minutes. Sporting midfielder Jose Mauri opened his MLS account in the fourth minute, shooting from outside the box with an effort that slid through the legs of Chicago goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth. Just two minutes later, Johnny Russell doubled their lead with a simple tap-in after the ball landed at his feet inside the six-yard-box.

With the win, Sporting now jump into second place in the West, one point ahead of the third-place Colorado Rapids. However, the Rapids have two games in hand over Sporting, so the race for a top-three finish in the West is heating up. The Fire find themselves sitting 13th place in the East, eight points outside of the final playoff spot.

It was a dominant performance from the hosts, who completely caught the Fire off-guard from the opening whistle onward. Forward Alan Pulido nearly made it three right before the halftime break, but the Mexican's strike shattered off the woodwork. The Fire struggled to get anything going in the first half, but a change in formation – moving midfielder Luka Stojanovic forward and bringing on defender Federico Navarro – gave them life.

Stojanovic then had their two best attempts of the match, ripping an effort off the crossbar in the 58th minute and sending a header just wide of the post in the 82nd minute.

Despite a more controlled and well-mannered midfield effort in the second half, the damage was already done and the Fire couldn't come back from their early deficit.

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Goals

  • 4' - SKC - Jose Mauri | WATCH
  • 6' - SKC - Johnny Russell | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: Sporting put on an attacking clinic to stay pushing for the West's top spot. They now have a quick turnaround before a massive test against sixth-place Minnesota United on Wednesday. The Fire face long odds to make the Eastern Conference portion of the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs, with inconsistency hamstringing them.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Johnny Russell’s sixth-minute strike was a fatal double blow.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Jose Mauri. The Sporting KC midfielder scored the opening goal and put on a clinic, completing 91% of his passes on 56 attempts.

Up Next

  • SKC: Wednesday, September 15 vs Minnesota United | 8:30 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)
  • CHI: Wednesday, September 15 at DC United | 7:30 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)

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