Sporting Kansas City captain Johnny Russell got his team off and running in a vintage 3-1 road victory over first-place Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday night.
Half an hour into a highly anticipated battle between the top two teams in the Western Conference, Russell barreled into the attacking third and won his team a free kick 20 yards from goal. The Scottish winger promptly stepped up to take the ensuing set piece and sent a world-class strike off the post and into the back of the net to give Sporting a lead they would not relinquish.
Russell’s scintillating free kick effort is one of four nominees for AT&T MLS Goal of the Week, joining Gustavo Bou of the New England Revolution, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi of New York City FC and Jose Cifuentes of LAFC.
Fans can vote Russell for AT&T Goal of the Week in the Twitter poll below until Wednesday.
Russell punctuated his game-changing performance with a secondary assist on Cam Duke’s late goal, making him one of only four MLS players to record 27 goals and 27 assists in the regular season since the start of 2018.
Additionally, Russell’s three goals from direct free kicks over the last three MLS seasons are tied for the second most in the league. His four goals against Seattle during the same time period rank first, with Sunday’s thunderbolt coming after he put the Sounders to the sword with a sensational hat trick in a 3-2 home win on May 26, 2019.
Most regular season goals versus Seattle since 2019
- 4 goals: Johnny Russell (Sporting KC) | 3 appearances
- 3 goals: Zlatan Ibrahimović (LA Galaxy | 2 appearances
- 3 goals: Carlos Vela (LAFC) | 3 appearances
- 3 goals: Andre Shinyashiki (Colorado) | 4 appearances
Most MLS goals on direct free kicks since 2019
- 5 goals: Lucas Zelarayan (Columbus Crew)
- 3 goals: Johnny Russell (Sporting KC)
- 3 goals: Eduard Atuesta (LAFC)
Elite Company: 27 goals + 27 assists in MLS regular season since 2018
- Carlos Vela (LAFC): 56 goals, 34 assists
- Diego Valeri (Portland): 28 goals, 37 assists
- Darwin Quintero (Minnesota, Houston): 28 goals, 30 assists
- Johnny Russell (Sporting KC): 27 goals, 27 assists
“I’m just delighted to help out,” Russell said after the match. “That’s a massive result for us. (Seattle’s) a great side. They’re up at the top for a reason, but so are we.”
Riding a palpable wave of momentum, Russell and Sporting will look to continue their winning ways Saturday when they host FC Dallas (3-7-5, 14 points) in the annual Sporting Salutes match sponsored by Hallmark. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. CT showdown at Children’s Mercy Park are available at SeatGeek.com, including Family Four-Packs consisting of four general admission tickets, four Coca-Cola products and four Domino’s pizzas.
Fans can also catch the action live on Bally Sports Kansas City, Bally Sports Midwest Plus, BallySports.com and the Bally Sports app as well as Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM.