MLS

MLS: Sporting KC soar to summit thanks to 4-0 rout, RSL withstand Lopez hat-trick in wild win

By Sports Desk September 16, 2021

Sporting Kansas City crushed Minnesota United 4-0 in MLS to go top of the Western Conference standings, while Real Salt Lake prevailed in a seven-goal shoot-out.

Johnny Russell scored a goal and assisted two others as Sporting KC routed Minnesota at Children's Mercy Park on Wednesday.

Russell converted a penalty as part of a three-goal first half, with Khiry Shelton and Daniel Salloi also on target against the visitors.

Cameron Duke added a fourth goal seven minutes into the second half as Sporting KC found the back of the net in their 28th consecutive regular-season home game dating back to August 2019 – the longest active streak in MLS.

Sporting KC are a point clear in the west, though second-placed Seattle Sounders have played two games less, while Minnesota are two points outside the play-off positions.

San Jose Earthquakes star Javier Lopez scored a hat-trick, but Real Salt Lake still prevailed 4-3 in a wild clash.

Lopez opened the scoring in the 26th minute and completed his treble in the second half, however, RSL emerged victorious thanks to Rubio Rubin's brace.

The result snapped a five-match away losing streak for RSL, who ended San Jose's run of three consecutive wins over their rivals in MLS – a run that had equalled the longest streak by either team in history.

Elsewhere, former Manchester United and Real Madrid striker Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez salvaged a 1-1 draw for LA Galaxy against Houston Dynamo.

Another ex-United star, Nani, was sent off in the first half as Orlando City were beaten 4-2 by Montreal, Ola Kamara's opening-half hat-trick lifted DC United past Chicago Fire 3-0, Atlanta United were 4-0 winners against FC Cincinnati courtesy of a Josef Martinez double, Los Angeles FC edged Austin 2-1 and 10-man Portland Timbers drew 2-2 with Colorado Rapids.

Related items

  • Luis Enrique refuses to focus on the negatives ahead of Morocco meeting Luis Enrique refuses to focus on the negatives ahead of Morocco meeting

    Spain coach Luis Enrique is refusing to look at the negatives from his side's loss to Japan, instead pointing to how well La Roja played across their World Cup group stage games.

    Japan beat Spain 2-1 on Thursday to secure top spot in Group E, setting up a last-16 tie with Croatia while also condemning Germany to an early exit.

    Spain had 82.3 per cent of the possession and attempted 1,058 passes to Japan's 228, and had 12 shots, with five hitting the target.

    However, Spain's efforts only accumulated to 1.04 expected goals (xG), whereas Japan's six attempts added up to a combined xG of 1.45, with Ritsu Doan and Junya Ito scoring in the space of three second-half minutes.

    If reports in the Spanish media are to be believed, former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique might be replaced as Spain boss after the World Cup, but ahead of Tuesday's last-16 tie with Morocco, he has full conviction in his approach.

    "We are talking about 270 minutes if I'm not wrong, plus added time [in the group stage]," Luis Enrique said in a press conference when he was asked if his team failed to recover from setbacks during matches. 

    "Out of 300 minutes in total, you focus on 10 minutes that you didn't like. As far as we progress, you will see more of these minutes.

    "We are footballers and the opponents also play. There are things to be improved, and I'm sure we will be bitten by Morocco in some moments of the game.

    "We can't take blows? What about them? Did Germany take it well when we scored? We are in a competition where the score dictates the risk you are willing to take.

    "Other teams pull back but we keep attacking and of course we need to improve that."

    Asked if his team lacked the experience required to see out spells of pressure, Luis Enrique replied: "It's such a cliche, we have to try and get rid of this idea.

    "I don't believe they lacked experience. Experience in what? Being builders, carpenters? When you lose, people talk about issues and if you win, they don't.

    "I don't share this analysis. This team will be recognised by the way we play, analyse our matches, our philosophy but not these sorts of issues.

    "Mistakes happen, we are talking about a very complex, unfair sport, 11 players on a huge field, it's impossible to control all the aspects.

    "At the end of the day the ones making the decisions are the players, I want them to implement my idea and I want them to buy the whole package when they lose, it's not fair to only buy it when we win."

    Spain have only made it beyond the round of 16 once at the last four World Cups, when they went on to win the trophy in South Africa in 2010. This record, though, is of no concern to Luis Enrique.

    "This is not our usual trend, to look at everything from a negative perspective," he said.

    "I am not concerned about those results. I want to control the things I can control as a coach. I want my team to play in a certain way, I want my players to forget about the result.

    "Football is not fair but if you have more merit you usually win the game. I am convinced we will have more merit than Morocco. Our objective was to play seven games, so we want to play seven games."

  • Ronaldo set to sign for Saudi side Al Nassr Ronaldo set to sign for Saudi side Al Nassr

    Cristiano Ronaldo is set to sign for Saudi Professional League club Al Nassr on a two-and-a-half-year deal following his exit from Manchester United, according to reports.

    The Portugal forward saw his stint at Old Trafford brought to an early conclusion by mutual agreement last month following an inflammatory interview with Piers Morgan where he revealed his unhappiness with United and their manager Erik ten Hag.

    Ronaldo has been in action for Portugal at the World Cup in Qatar, scoring in their opening game of the tournament to become the first man to net at five different World Cups.

    The 37-year-old wished to leave United ahead of the 2022-23 season, and confirmed in his interview with Morgan that he had turned down a lucrative offer from a Saudi Arabian club.

    However, Marca on Monday reported that Riyadh-based side Al Nassr are close to signing the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

    A move to the gulf state would mark the end of Ronaldo's illustrious career in Europe, having starred for United, Juventus and Real Madrid - indeed, he is Los Blancos' record goalscorer.

    No player has scored more in the Champions League than Ronaldo, who is also the highest goalscorer in international football, with 188 to his name.

    At Al Nassr, he is expected to net close to €200million per season, with additional economic incentives, a sum that would make him the highest-paid athlete in the world.

    Al Nassr's squad also includes Cameroon's World Cup star Vincent Aboubakar and former Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina.

    Ronaldo originally returned to United ahead of the 2021-22 campaign, but has mostly been frozen out under new boss Erik ten Hag this season, prompting an explosive interview that contributed to his departure.

  • England are World Cup contenders, says Chelsea defender Koulibaly England are World Cup contenders, says Chelsea defender Koulibaly

    England must be considered among the world's very best sides and they are capable of going all the way in Qatar, says Kalidou Koulibaly.

    The Three Lions defeated Koulibaly's Senegal 3-0 on Sunday at Al Bayt Stadium to seal their place in the last eight of the World Cup.

    England, World Cup semi-finalists in 2018 and Euro 2020 finalists last year, are the tournament's leading scorers with 12 goals, while they have conceded only twice across their four matches.

    France are next up for England on Saturday and while Koulibaly knows the Les Bleus will provide the sternest of challenges, he believes Gareth Southgate's team have every chance of going even deeper into the tournament.

    "They are very good. We know that they have a lot of talent, a lot of big players, we know all of them," Koulibaly told reporters.

    "They played very well, they can go far, but the next game will be tough against France. I hope the best will win.

    "They have so many options but we know every game is different in the World Cup. You can score a lot in one game and then the next one will be difficult to score.

    "They have to keep going and believe it, I think they can go far."

    After losing to the Netherlands in their opening Group A match, Senegal – shorn of star player Sadio Mane through injury – beat Qatar and Ecuador to progress in second place, and Koulibaly is happy with what the Africa Cup of Nations champions have achieved in Qatar.

    He said: "It was a beautiful tournament for us. We wanted to get out of the group stage, we did it, and now it was a tough game against one of the best teams in the world. We can be proud of what we did."

    Koulibaly's Chelsea club-mate Edouard Mendy added: "Dealing with defeat is not difficult. We came up against a better team than us, we have to accept that, England played at their best.

    "They also had all their players at their disposal while we were missing some key players. We had to play without Sadio. We also had Idrissa [Gueye] and Cheikhou [Kouyate] missing.

    "So when you play against a team like that with key players missing, it is complicated.

    "But throughout the tournament and throughout the year, we have shown that Senegal is more than 11 players, it is a group.

    "We will continue to move forward, to progress and we will come back stronger in the 2026 World Cup, God willing."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.