Johnny Russell Lays Smackdown on Galaxy With Brace

Johnny Russell

KANSAS CITY- Sporting Kansas City defeated the Los Angeles Galaxy to move into first place in the Western Conference with three games left to play. Johnny Russell notched spectacular brace led the way while John Pulskamp became Sporting KC’s youngest ever goalkeeper to record a clean sheet at the age of 20-years-old.

Johnny Russell Brace Takes Sporting KC Top of the West

Johnny Russell had his way with the left flank of the Galaxy backline for 89 minutes on Wednesday night. Niko Hämäläinen got burned every time he was asked to defend the Scotsman, and it’s what led directly to Sporting KC’s opening goal. The ball was sprung out wide to Gadi Kinda who lost it, then won it back against Derrick Williams. Kinda skipped a ball across the top of the 18-yard box, after it was dummied by Khiry Shelton right into the path of Russell. He took two touches, turned Hämäläinen, and rifled home at the near post with his right foot. He and Graham Zusi had a well-coordinated celebration as well in honor of their suspended teammate, Tim Melia.

Melia was suspended for throwing Christian Roldan down to the ground in their weekend win over the Seattle Sounders. John Pulskamp was called upon to start with a little less than 48 hours to go before the match. He made two excellent saves that kept the Galaxy off the scoreboard and landed himself his first top-flight clean sheet. The clean sheet against the Galaxy was a little more special for Pulskamp given the fact that he came up through their academy, and even was on the bench for a Galaxy II match.

The Galaxy tried as much as they could to get themselves back into it, but Sporting KC held strong. Russell scored yet another beauty to seal the three points for Sporting KC, cutting to the outside and back in onto his left before ripping a curling effort past Bond into the top corner.

The goal was the Sporting KC captain’s eighth straight game with a goal, bringing his total tally to 14 goals and 7 assists on the season.

Three Things

  1. Sporting KC are hitting their stride. Make that back-to-back wins, and they have put themselves in first place in the Western Conference on Goal Differential. Any points in their game in hand will put them in first for good.
  2. The Galaxy didn’t bring Chicharito with them, and it showed. Jovelic couldn’t do much to help, and even though Cabral was dangerous he couldn’t breakthrough. They are now falling dangerously close to the cut line for the playoffs after seeming like one of the best in the West. They’ll need to kick it in gear as they finish their season with Seattle and Minnesota.
  3. Johnny Russell is on fire, and your defense should be terrified. I won’t reprise the good ol’ “Will Grigg” song, but goodness. Russell has scored 10 goals in 8 games and now passed John Spencer for most MLS Goals for a Scottish player in MLS. He’s on 14 goals this season and certainly has more left in the tank. The captain leads from the front and it has been marvelous.