"This Week in Sporting," presented by The Smile Generation, is a weekly series that highlights the biggest storylines and news updates from Sporting Kansas City.
1. Silencing the Sounders
Second-place Sporting Kansas City (9-3-3, 30 points) earned a statement win on Sunday night by sinking first-place Seattle Sounders FC (9-2-5, 32 points) in a 3-1 thriller at Lumen Field.
Seattle carried a 17-game home unbeaten run into a marquee battle between the Western Conference’s top teams, but outstanding goals from captain Johnny Russell, red-hot winger Daniel Salloi and 20-year-old Cam Duke—plus three superb saves from Tim Melia—sealed the momentous victory as Sporting collected their third straight win in the series and improved to 7-2-3 in their last dozen regular season meetings with Seattle.
Sunday’s signature win lifts Sporting level with the Sounders at the top of the West on points per game and three points behind the New England Revolution in the Supporters’ Shield race.
2. Saturday Night's All Right
Riding a palpable wave of momentum, 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.
3. Walter and Zavagnin on Team of the Week
With a massive 3-1 road win over first-place Seattle Sounders FC in the bag, two members of Sporting Kansas City were selected to the MLS Team of the Week presented by Audi.
To that end, congratulations are in order for midfielder Remi Walter and assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin. Both were first-time honorees for the weekly award.
Walter delivered his finest performance in a Sporting uniform, commanding the midfield with precision, physicality and industriousness in a statement victory at Lumen Field. The Frenchman completed 51 of 54 passes at a 94.4% accuracy clip, won seven of eight duels, had a game-high nine recoveries and added four tackles for good measure.
Joining Walter on the Team of the Week was Zavagnin, who led Sporting from the sidelines in Vermes’ absence. His side showed tactical soundness and efficiency in attack as Sporting turned three of their seven shots into goals and delivered the Sounders their first home loss at Lumen Field since last September. Prior to Sunday, the last time Seattle had suffered a multi-goal home defeat was June 25, 2016, a run of 96 competitive matches.
4. Great Scot
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.
5. Busio and USA Advance
Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio logged the full 90 minutes for the United States Men's National Team in a gritty 1-0 win over Jamaica to progress to the semifinals of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup.
Making his fourth straight tournament appearance and his third consecutive start for the U.S. MNT, Busio helped the Americans to victory in a quarterfinal clash decided by Matthew Hoppe's first career U.S. goal in the 83rd minute.
With Sunday's triumph in the books, the U.S. MNT will now begin preparations for an all-important semifinal clash against Qatar at 6:30 p.m. CT Thursday at the new Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas. The match will be shown live nationally in English on FS1 and the FOX Sports app and in Spanish on Univision, TUDN and the TUDN app.
6. Pulido and Mexico Advance
Sporting Kansas City striker Alan Pulido and the Mexico Men's National Team cruised to the semifinals of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup with a commanding 3-0 win over Honduras on Saturday night at an electric, sold-out State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Mexico struck three times in the space of 12 explosive minutes as red-hot striker Rogelio Funes Mori, LA Galaxy midfielder Jonathan dos Santos and Orbelin Pineda all found the back of the net before halftime to put the result out of reach. Pulido then entered as an 85th-minute substitute for Funes Mori to collect his 19th career senior cap and make his third appearance of the competition.
Boasting seven straight clean sheets since falling 3-2 to the United States in the Concacaf Nations League Final last month, El Tri will now face the winner of tonight's quarterfinal clash between Canada and Costa Rica on Thursday. The semifinal encounter is slated for 9 p.m. CT at NRG Stadium in Houston, airing live in English on FS1 and the FOX Sports app and in Spanish on Univision, TUDN and the TUDN app.
7. Open Cup Back in 2022
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will return for its 107th edition in 2022 after canceling the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2022 tournament will start on March 22, with the Final of U.S. Soccer’s National Championship slated for mid-September.
A truncated 2021 Open Cup in May and June was called off and will not be rescheduled after not finding available match dates shared across the various participating leagues.