The proverbial thorn in Sporting Kansas City's side stung again on Saturday night as FC Dallas entered Children's Mercy Park and came away with a 2-1 victory that left upwards of 20,000 fans ruing their team's misfortune.
Paxton Pomykal and Jesus Ferreira struck early in each half for the visitors, and although captain Johnny Russell grabbed a goal back in the 85th minute, Sporting’s spirited late rally wasn’t enough to extend an 11-game home unbeaten run as Dallas claimed their first road triumph since November 2020.
It would be fair to say that Dallas has Sporting's number, as the Texas side is 5-0-1 in the last six regular season meetings and 4-0-1 in the last five matchups at Children's Mercy Park.
But make no mistake: in a league characterized by parity and unpredictability every weekend, Sporting won't be ringing any alarm bells. The hosts were dominant for extended periods in the second half and looked more than capable of finding a last-gasp equalizer before referee Alex Chilowicz blew his full-time whistle. Sporting also kept within three points of first-place Seattle after the Sounders suffered a home loss of their own to San Jose earlier in the day.
The late scoring play, which saw Russell nod home off a Daniel Salloi cross, also lent itself to the statistical nuggetry we long for in Beyond the Box Score.
RUSSELL ENTERS TOP 10
By scoring for the third time in four games, Russell has broken into the top 10 of Sporting's all-time regular season goals chart. He is currently tied with Scott Sealy and Vitalis "Digital" Takawira for 10th place on the list, one shy of tying teammate Graham Zusi for ninth and four shy of taking sole possession of seventh, which he seems perfectly capable of achieving in the coming weeks and months.
1. Preki | 71 goals (218 appearances)
2. Dom Dwyer | 57 goals (128 appearances)
3. Davy Arnaud | 43 goals (240 appearances)
3. Josh Wolff | 43 goals (144 appearances)
5. Chris Klein | 39 goals (200 appearances)
6. Kei Kamara | 38 goals (113 appearances)
7. Benny Feilhaber | 31 goals (167 appearances)
7. Mo Johnston | 31 goals (149 appearances)
9. Graham Zusi | 29 goals (303 appearances)
10. Johnny Russell | 28 goals (94 appearances)
10. Scott Sealy | 28 goals (88 appearances)
10. Vitalis Takawira | 28 goals (103 appearances)
SUPERB SALLOI IN RAREFIED AIR
The assist man on Russell's goal, meanwhile, has built a bona fide MLS All-Star resume. Salloi, a 25-year-old Sporting KC Academy product, has nine goals and four primary assists during a standout season that has even generated MVP buzz. The Hungarian winger's 13 combined goals and primary assists are tied with Orlando City SC's Nani for the most in MLS.
Most Goals + Primary Assists in 2021 MLS Season
- 13: Daniel Salloi, Sporting KC (9/4)
- 13: Nani, Orlando (8/5)
- 12: Carles Gil, New England (2/10)
- 12: Gustavo Bou, New England (10/2)
- 11: Damir Kreilach, Real Salt Lake (7/4)
- 11: Hany Mukhtar, Nashville (7/4)
- 11: Chicharito, LA Galaxy (10/1)
- 11: Raul Ruidiaz, Seattle (11/0)
ACADEMY IN ATTACK
With Salloi etching his name onto the box score with an assist on Saturday, Sporting's talented crop of Academy products extended a collective streak that cannot be overlooked.
Dating back to May 16, during a stretch in which Sporting has posted a 7-2-2 record, Academy products have scored or assisted in a remarkable 11 consecutive MLS matches.
Goals/Assists from SKC Academy Products in 11 Straight Matches
- May 16 (W 3-0 vs. VAN): Salloi goal
- May 22 (W 3-1 at SJ): Lindsey goal, Salloi goal and assist
- May 29 (W 3-2 vs. HOU): Busio goal and assist
- June 12 (T 1-1 vs. ATX): Salloi goal
- June 19 (L 1-2 at POR): Lindsey goal
- June 23 (W 3-1 vs. COL): Salloi two goals and assist, Hernandez goal and assist, Lindsey assist
- June 26 (W 2-1 vs. LAFC): Salloi goal, Hernandez assist, Busio assist
- July 4 (W 2-0 at LA): Busio assist
- July 21 (T 1-1 vs. SJ): Salloi goal
- July 25 (W 3-1 at SEA): Salloi goal, Duke goal
- July 31 (L 1-2 at DAL): Salloi assist
BUSY STRETCH AWAITS
Sporting will have an opportunity to bounce back quickly as they begin a breathless stretch of six matches in 18 days starting next week. This marks the first time that Manager Peter Vermes' side has played six times in 18 days since Feb. 28 to March 17 in 2019, when Sporting juggled the start of the MLS regular season with the first two rounds of the Concacaf Champions League.
First up, of course, is a challenging road trip to star-studded LAFC (6-5-5, 23 points) on Wednesday, with kickoff at Banc of California Stadium slated for 9:30 p.m. CT. Fans can catch the action live on Bally Sports Kansas City Plus, Bally Sports Midwest Plus, BallySports.com and the Bally Sports app.