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Sporting KC steal three points with win at LA Galaxy

Russell and Shelton both score their first of the season

MLS: Sporting Kansas City at LA Galaxy Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting Kansas City recorded their third away win this season, defeating the LA Galaxy 2-0 as Johnny Russell and Khiry Shelton opened their scoring accounts this season at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California on Sunday, July 4.

The heroics of Tim Melia kept Sporting in it, setting Sporting up to steal all three points with goals from Johnny Russell in the 81st minute and Khiry Shelton in the fourth minute of stoppage time. It wasn’t a comeback, but it sure did feel like one after such a brutal first half in which LA outshot SKC 9-1.

Despite Chicharito being a late scratch due to a calf injury suffered during the warmup, the LA Galaxy came out and dominated. They ended the first half outshooting SKC 9-1 with Tim Melia being the only reason keeping the game level at halftime. Offensively, Sporting really struggled to build any promising attacks.

The greatest moment of controversy came in first half stoppage time. With Johnny Russell carrying the ball forward with pace, Galaxy left back Jorge Villafaña took the SKC captain out, with no attempt for the ball. Referee Alex Chilowicz opted for the yellow card, rather than SKC’s claim of a red card.

Sporting KC finally started to find themselves in some dangerous areas as the second half wore on. Their first great chance came in the 80th minute when Roger Espinoza’s flick-on header from a free kick was saved by the keeper but went straight to Andreu Fontas’ header at the far post, but he was only able to hit the post before LA cleared it away.

The visitors found the winner a minute later, in the 81st minute. With great pressure from Felipe Hernandez, the homegrown forced Galaxy substitute Adam Saldaña into a bad giveaway. With the ball falling to Johnny Russell, the winger’s first shot from the edge of the box was saved but rebounded back to him and he sent a looping header in.

Khiry Shelton added a second in the dying moments on a solo breakaway. Receiving a clearance from Gianluca Busio inside his own half, Shelton sped past a defender before a nicely composed finish.

Sporting KC is now tied with the Seattle Sounders at the top of the Western Conference on 26 points.

Sporting KC now enters the Gold Cup break, a week ahead of the rest of MLS. Sporting will return on Wednesday, July 21, when they host the San Jose Earthquakes.