Prior to this match, Sporting Kansas City had been in a slump. Four straight matches winless punctuated by a 4-0 drubbing at Los Angeles the previous weekend.
Within the first six minutes of the match tonight, all malaise was wiped away.
Sporting Kansas City started quick and held strong from there in their 2-0 win over the Chicago Fire on Saturday evening. The match brought Sporting KC back in the win column for the first time since early August and vaulted them back into second place in the Western Conference.
The first strike by the home side came courtesy of a new face. In the fourth minute José Mauri, playing in only his second match with Sporting KC, took a long shot from 25 yards out that ordinarily should have been an easy save. Fire keeper Bobby Shuttleworth, however, mishandled the shot with the ball squirting past him and into the net for Mauri’s first goal in a Sporting KC kit.
Welcome to Kansas City, @maurijose5!!! pic.twitter.com/gHvIpTdZ0s— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) September 12, 2021
Just two minutes later, Daniel Salloi, fresh off three appearances for Hungary in World Cup qualifying this and last week, was instrumental in doubling the lead in the 6th minute. Starting deep in his own half, Salloi made a move to keep possession down the sideline, worked a give-and-go with Alan Pulido at midfield, and drove all the way into the box trying to get an angle around Fire defender Mauricio Pineda. Salloi’s ensuing shot was blocked by Shuttleworth, but the rebound landed right at the feet of Johnny Russell, who tapped it home for his fifth goal of the year.
He'll never score an easier tap-in than that!— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) September 12, 2021
JFR puts us up 2-0! pic.twitter.com/qv4sRnqlnp
With 2-0 lead to start the match, Sporting KC settled down and focused on maintaining their lead. The Fire had a couple of close opportunities but none that seriously threatened in the first half. Sporting KC took that 2-0 lead into the break.
While the lead was comfortable for Sporting KC, one goal would have changed the dynamic of the match.
In the 58th minute, the Fire had a golden opportunity to pull one back. Luka Stojanovic had a chance to turn a cross into a turn-around volley in the center of the box box, but his shot banged off the post and rebounded away and out of danger. Six minutes later and the Fire struck the woodwork again unluckily, as Fabian Herbers ripped a shot from 30 yards out that skimmed off the top of the crossbar and over. Another near miss a minute later from Offor kept the scoreline 2-0, but the Fire were knocking on the door.
The rest of the match lacked the drama of those minutes as Sporting KC controlled possession and maintained their lead till the end — a 2-0 victory.
Sporting KC improved to 12-5-7 with the win and will take on Minnesota United FC at home on Wednesday.
- This was Sporting KC’s first win in five matches and first home win since August 4th
- The two goals were the fastest two goals in franchise history
- This match marked the return of Daniel Salloi and Gadi Kinda, who were coming back from national team duty
- Peter Vermes again did not use all of his subs available, choosing to utilize only two even with a midweek match coming on Wednesday. Sporting KC does have next weekend off, however.
- Roger Espinoza missed this match due to a red card suspension earned in Sporting KC’s match with Los Angeles FC last week. He is eligible return on Wednesday.
- Sporting KC are now second in the Western Conference, holding a one-point advantage over the Colorado Rapids, who have two games in hand against Sporting KC.