KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Sporting Kansas City have won back-to-back games for the first time since July after beating Minnesota United 4-0 at Children’s Mercy Park.
Four different SKC players found the score sheet in the dominant performance that sent Kansas City back into first place in the Western Conference.
“I have nothing but the utmost respect for them. I really do. It’s always, always a tough match whenever we play against each other,” manager Peter Vermes said. “Both of us were struggling a little bit in regards to having injuries with players and everything, but all in all it was a good match by us. The guys did the business.”
Starting in place of Alan Pulido, Khiry Shelton headed home a rebounded shot in the 14th minute for his second of the season.
“I have confidence in myself that I can score goals,” Shelton said. “It hasn’t shown so far this season but I score goals in training. I’m happy and it’s time to get the ball rolling.”
Minnesota created several chances toward the beginning of the match, but as Sporting KC became comfortable with the flow of the game, the attack started to push on the gas pedal.
“It was a comedy of errors, at times, at the back,” Minnesota United manager Adrian Heath said. “Decision making was poor, with and without the ball. The one thing that we said before the game, you come here, you have to take them opportunities that come your way, and we did have some opportunities but we didn’t take them.”
In the 36th minute, MVP candidate Daniel Salloi did what he does best and scored a right footed volley past goalkeeper Tyler Miller.
Salloi’s 13th goal of the season prompted “M-V-P” chants from the home crowd as he now sits third in the Golden Boot race.
“I’m super thankful for it. I’ve played here for a long time now. Obviously, this club means a lot to me so giving back to the fans and having a great season,” Salloi said. “It’s important to me to be in the MVP conversation but I think it’s exciting for the fans too. I think we are all in this together. I’m glad that they are happy for my success. I want to do it more and more to help the team and make the fans happy.”
At the stroke of half time, Shelton was taken down inside the box by Miller and after a VAR check, a penalty kick was awarded.
Captain Johnny Russell stepped up and buried the spot kick to send the hosts to the locker room with a 3-0 lead.
It did not take long in the second half for SKC to get back to scoring.
In the 52nd minute, Russell found 20-year-old homegrown product Cam Duke who slotted home his second of the season.
“He came with a good mentality and he played really well. Good movement,” Vermes said. “He was elusive many times with his change of pace on the ball and when he turned. All those things are good. He continues to progress. It’s a step.”
Sporting Kansas City will now have extended rest before they host the Seattle Sounders, who they’ve been battling for first place in the conference all season.
SKC got the better of the Sounders in their first meeting this season at Lumen Field, but Seattle, with two games in hand and the season winding down, will look to take sole ownership of the top seed.
“It’s going to be a tough one. We beat them away. They’re going to come here and want to get the three points. We have to be prepared,” Salloi said. “I think these wins were very important. It’s not just important for us. Other teams see it too. Seattle see it too. We needed this and I’m sure we’ll be 100 percent ready for next weekend’s game.”
With just 9 games left in the regular season, Sporting will look to keep their form as they prepare for and head into the playoffs.
Sporting Kansas City host the Seattle Sounders at Children’s Mercy Park on September 26 at 6 p.m.