Real Salt Lake 0, Sporting Kansas City 2 | MLS is Back Tournament Match Recap
Sporting Kansas City, are heading to the Round of 16 at the MLS is Back Tournament.
With a 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake, Sporting finish their group stage fixture list with six points and will finish either first or second in Group D, pending the group's final game on Wednesday night. With this result, the Colorado Rapids have been eliminated, while RSL advanced on Tuesday night.
Sporting got off to a flying start, opening the scoring after just 51 seconds through Johnny Russell. The Scot pounced on a loose ball that RSL failed to clear after a corner kick, finding the back of the net from just next to the penalty spot.
Minutes after coming off the bench, Gerso Fernandes made his presence felt immediately. He took his defender one-on-one from the right wing, cut in on his left foot and fired a curling shot into the corner. Alan Pulido was credited with an assist on both goals, he now has three goals and four assists in his first five games with SKC.
Goalkeeper Tim Melia returned after serving his one-game suspension for an opening game red card and needed only to make one save.
RSL young Designated Player Jeizon Ramirez made his tournament debut off the bench. The 19-year-old Venezuelan joined the club in February.
Man of the Match presented by Heineken
It wasn't one of his greatest goals ever, but Johnny Russell's smart finish in the first minute helped guide Sporting to all three points.
Russell has now opened his scoring for the season, after two strong campaigns with Sporting in which he had at least nine goals and nine assists each year. He now has one goal and one assist in five appearances this season.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Sporting KC entered the tournament as one of the favorites after two strong performances to start the season four months ago and their group stage efforts confirmed that prognostication. SKC's attack has looked potent, their defense solid enough. Can they go all the way?
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Russell's goal opened the scoring and was the eventual game-winner, but Gerso's goal was one for the highlight reel.
- YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: Gianluca Busio's first start of the season was a mixed bag, with some encouraging moments and room for improvement. The 18-year-old rising star continues to be the subject of widespread interest from European clubs.