Sporting Kansas City got back on track with a 1-0 win at home against Real Salt Lake on Saturday night. The game overall was a bit helter skelter with very little rhythm to it. Real Salt Lake enjoyed the best chances in the first half with a one-on-one opportunity against Tim Melia and a wide open shot off a set piece.
The second half saw Sporting Kansas City grab more opportunities. One opportunity came when Felipe Hernandez won a ball in the midfield and got it back from Roger Espinoza and then flicked it to Nikola Vujnovic for a chance on goal. Ultimately, it was a late goal from Johnny Russell that was the difference after a lucky bounce put him in an advantageous position against the RSL goalkeeper.
Russell on the 'luck' of the ricochet on the goal: "It's about time we got a goal like that." #SportingKC #SKCvRSL— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) March 27, 2022
Player Rating System
N/A = Didn’t play enough to give a rating
1 = Incredibly poor, unprofessional performance that led to multiple opportunities for opponent
2 = Very poor performance. Consistent mistakes that lead to a few opportunities for opponent
3 = Poor Performance. Several mistakes
4 = Inconsistent play. a few mistakes throughout the game
5 = Solid play. Rare mishaps. Consistent throughout the game.
6 = Above average performance. Player’s play contributed to good results for the team.
7 = Good game. Player’s play led to direct opportunities for the team (defense to offense, offense to chances)
8 = Great game. Player scores, assists, or leads the team with their play on the field. Man of the match type performance.
9 = League best XI performance. Dominant wherever on the field. Among the league’s best.
10 = World class performance. Player’s scores or assists on multiple goals; Play is among the world’s best. Unforgettable.
Tim Melia 7
Melia made up for his howler last week and then some. He stopped a one-on-one opportunity early in the first half and stopped a few other half chances.
Nicholas Isimat-Mirin 7
Like Melia, Isi was very solid. He cut out opposition chances on a number of occasions with great positioning and winning aerial duels. He was also good in possession.
Andreu Fontas 6
Fontas was decent on the day but just a bit off in position. A few of his usual pinpoint passes landed right toward the opposition, putting the SKC on the back foot.
Graham Zusi 6.5
Zusi was solid, but I had to dock him a point or two for keeping an RSL player onside causing the one-on-one opportunity against Tim Melia. This is the second or third time he’s done this in as many weeks. Hopefully not a trend for the future.
Ben Sweat 5
Sweat just looked a bit off the entire game. He misplaced quite a few passes and he just couldn’t find the link up play with Daniel Salloi. He slowly got a little bit better as the game progressed, but overall was average.
Remi Walter 6
Remi was his usual self in possession but didn’t win many duels. His abilities shine more as an 8 but he was and has been good as a 6 this game and the past few weeks.
Roger Espinoza 6
Roger was good on the day. He had an on target shot that ricocheted and gave Daniel Salloi an opportunity at goal.
Felipe Hernandez 7.5
Okay hear me out. Hernandez could be better in possession; he lost the ball a few times and miss placed a couple passes. But stats don’t tell the whole story, Felipe did a great job of playing progressive the entire game. He had two great back heel flicks that led to chances for SKC and won a few free kicks as well. A goal or assist would have sealed a Man of the Match type performance. Hate that he came off so early.
Daniel Salloi 7
Back from injury and Daniel was great. He did a great job playing the ball forward or driving forward out of pressure. He had a few half chances that he would’ve buried last year but he looks good coming back from injury.
Johnny Russell 8 (Man of the Match)
It’s hard not to pick the skipper for man of the match. Watching the game, he rarely put a foot wrong. He consistently tracked back on defense to help Zusi and was always direct in his play. He did get a lucky bounce for his goal, but that opportunity doesn’t come without running at the defense.
Nikola Vujnovic 6
Had a few link-up play moments, but just couldn’t get on the same page with the midfield or wingers. Probably needs more time to connect on the practice field.
Khiry Shelton 5
Came in and made some good runs behind the defense. He looks so much better when he’s coming on to finish off a game.
Cameron Duke 5
Didn’t do too much with his 20 plus minutes on the pitch. I thought leaving on Hernandez was a better idea, but maybe Vermes was protecting his injury.
Kortne Ford N/A
Didn’t play enough for a rating.
Agree or don’t agree with the ratings? Comment below!