Sporting Kansas City have seized the No. 1 spot in the Western Conference standings following a 2-0 victory over the LA Galaxy at Children's Mercy Park on Wednesday evening, clinching a top-four seed in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs as well.
HIGHLIGHTS: Sporting Kansas City vs. LA Galaxy | October 27, 2021
Johnny Russell scored two more goals for Sporting KC to pace the home side, his eighth consecutive game finding the scoresheet, and his second straight with a match-winner coming off his decisive strike in a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Sounders last Saturday. He's now at 10 goals in SKC's last eight games.
With the three-point result, Sporting KC drew level with Seattle atop the West table on 58 points and grabbed hold of the No. 1 seed via the second tiebreaker (goal differential).
Sporting KC came out firing early, coming inches from opening the scoring in just the second minute after a corner kick bounced around the box and eventually made its way to the feet of midfielder Ilie Sanchez, who saw his shot from inside the area bounce off the post.
The hosts continued to play on the front foot throughout most of the first half, and finally found their breakthrough in the 40th minute through Russell, who continued his torrid run of form. It was a clinical finish from the Scottish attacker, who evaded a defender on the right side of the penalty box and beat Jonathan Bond with a laser shot to the near post.
Russell added some insurance in the 82nd minute with a sublime bending strike to the top corner past the outstretched arm of a diving Bond to effectively put the match to bed.
- THE BIG PICTURE: The race for the West's top seed is now officially fully up for grabs, and Sporting have put themselves in a great spot to claim it with six wins in eight games. It helps they have a game in hand on both Seattle and the third-place Colorado Rapids – and they were missing forward Daniel Salloi and Alan Pulido (injuries) in this one. The Galaxy remain part of an absolute logjam in the West table behind the top-three seeds, and they have a tall task ahead when facing Seattle next.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: SKC were already in position to gain all three points when it happened, but this finish on Russell's second goal was just ridiculous.
GOAL: Johnny Russell, Sporting Kansas City - 82nd minute
- MAN OF THE MATCH: It's all about Russell right now for SKC, as he's on arguably the hottest individual run of form we've seen from an MLS attacker all season.
- SKC: Sunday, October 31 at Minnesota United | 1 pm ET (ESPN, ESPN Deportes)
- LA: Monday, November 1 at Seattle Sounders | 10 pm ET (TUDN, Twitter)