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Russell: “It’s up to me to get myself back in the first [team]”

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We catch up with Sporting KC’s Johnny Russell after the team’s loss to Phoenix Rising.

Sporting Kansas City v Minnesota United FC Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

After Wednesday’s surprise loss to Phoenix Rising by Sporting Kansas City, The Blue Testament caught up with Johnny Russell for a post-game chat. The full interview is tough to hear because PRFC insist on putting the media area under a blaring speaker.

Despite that, we had to ask Russell why he is running with what we would call the second team. He, had a pretty good response. “Like you say, I’ve been with what most people would consider second string,” Russell said. “It’s up to me to get myself back in the first.”

It’s not often you hear a player candidly admit that they’ve essentially been demoted. Russell has been with the second team since arriving late to preseason after the birth of his child.

Now if we dared ask Peter Vermes, he would definitely say there is no first and second team, but Saturday’s final preseason game will go a long way to showing who starts on Match Day One against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Whoever plays against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, will probably be the starters. The only possible change will be if Felipe Gutierrez recovers from whatever is ailing him. Otherwise, expect the lineup Saturday to remain unchanged. Time will tell if Russell is in that lineup over Khiry Shelton.

The full interview, including amazingly loud stadium music, is included below. He also talks about the goal, giving Erik Hurtado credit for his ability to pull out the defender, as well as his thoughts on preseason as a whole.