Sporting KC acquired Scottish winger Johnny Russell in a transfer from English club Derby County FC in January 2018. Russell scored 93 goals during a 12-year professional career in England and his native Scotland prior to joining MLS. The attacking player arrived at Sporting KC after five seasons with Derby County in the second-division English Football League Championship, where he scored 34 goals in 203 competitive appearances.
2022: Earned Sporting KC Most Valuable Player honors as well as the title of Co-Humanitarian of the Year alongside Khiry Shelton. MLS Regular Season: Started 31 of 33 appearances, scored eight goals and added one assist while setting a career-high in minutes played (2707 minutes played). Scored the match-winning goal in a 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake on March 26. Started the scoring in a 2-2 draw with FC Dallas on April 30. Scored in a road defeat to the Portland Timbers on May 14 and found the back of the net against the San Jose Earthquakes on May 22. Struck once against the New England Revolution on June 12 and leveled a match at Minnesota United with a 63rd-minute finish. On Aug. 13, he scored against Austin FC in a 4-3 shootout at Q2 Stadium. He sank a penalty kick at the LA Galaxy to pull Sporting level in what would turn out to be a 2-2 draw on Sept. 4. His lone assist came in a 4-1 home thrashing of Minnesota United on Sept. 17 in the club's penultimate home match. Open Cup: Started three of four matches scoring two goals and assisting one (318 minutes played.) On May 10, he subbed on in a Round of 32 match against FC Dallas which Sporting took 4-2 after extra time. Sparked a comeback against the Houston Dynamo in the Round of 16, scoring twice in the second to lift Sporting into the quarterfinals 2-1 on May 25. Picked up an assist in Sporting's 6-0 dismantling of Union Omaha on June 22. Played all 120 minutes of a semifinal defeat to Sacramento Republic FC in penalties, converting his kick.
2021: Earned the title of Sporting KC Offensive Player of the Year. Surpassed John Spencer for the most goal in MLS history by a Scottish Born player. Was the goalscorer in the club's Goal of the Year which consisted of a 38-pass build-up sequence. MLS Regular Season: Started 26 of 30 appearances tallying an MLS career-high 15 goals along with eight assists (2221 minutes played). Assisted Ilie's 82nd-minute equalizer en route to a 2-1 Sporting win on May 29 against Austin FC. Added another assist against Austin on June 12, helping Daniel Salloi to score the leveler in a 1-1 contest. Provided the first assist of a 3-1 triumph over the Colorado Rapids on June 23. Scored his first goal of the season in the form of a match-winner against the LA Galaxy on July 4. Assisted and scored against the Seattle Sounders on July 25, scoring the first goal and assisting the final one in a 3-1 road win. Found the back of the net on July 31 in a 2-1 loss at FC Dallas. Grabbed an assist against FC Dallas in a 2-0 win two weeks later on Aug. 14. Scored the tying goal in a 1-1 draw against Colorado on Aug, 28. Kicked off a run of eight straight matches with at least one goal by finding the back of the net against the Chicago Fire on Sept. 11. Scored once against Minnesota and tallied two assists in a 4-0 win on Sept. 15. Scored against Seattle on Sept. 26 and at Dallas on Sept. 29 before bagging a brace against Houston on Oct. 3. Pulled one back for Sporting on the road at Vancouver Whitecaps FC but could not complete the comeback. Grabbed the match-winner on Oct. 23 at Seattle and struck twice at home against the LA Galaxy to cap off his incredible eight-match run. Assisted on a goal in Minnesota and scored on the road against Austin on Oct. 31 and Nov. 3 respectively. MLS Cup Playoffs: Started two matches, scoring once (180 minutes played). Led the team to a 3-1 triumph over Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Nov. 20 in the Western Conference First Round. Converted a penalty to give Sporting a lead over Real Salt Lake on Nov. 28 but the club could not hold on, bowing out of the playoffs in the Western Conference Semifinals.
2020: Earned Sporting KC Most Valuable Player honors. MLS Regular Season: Started 17 of 21 appearances and recorded six goals and four assists (1,529 minutes played). Assisted Gadi Kinda's goal in a 4-0 win over the Houston Dynamo on March 7. Scored just 49 seconds into a 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake on July 22, the fourth-quickest goal in club history. Forced an own goal in a 2-1 win at Minnesota United FC on Aug. 21. Scored a first-half goal in a 5-2 loss to the Houston Dynamo on Aug. 25. Scored the game-winner in a 1-0 victory over Minnesota United FC on Sept. 13. Scored two goals in a 3-2 loss to FC Dallas on Sept. 19. Scored for the third straight game in a 2-1 loss to Orlando City SC on Sept. 23. Assisted Winston Reid's game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Chicago Fire FC on Oct. 7. Assisted Gerso's equalizing goal in a 2-1 comeback win over Nashville SC on Oct. 11. Assisted Gadi Kinda's goal in a 2-2 draw at Chicago Fire FC on Oct. 17. MLS is Back Tournament: Started four of five appearances and recorded one goal and one assist (312 minutes played). Scored just 49 seconds into a 2-0 group stage win over Real Salt Lake on July 22, the fourth-quickest goal in club history. Assisted Alan Pulido's goal in a 3-1 quarterfinal loss to the Philadelphia Union. MLS Cup Playoffs: Started two matches and recorded one assist (210 minutes played). Played 120 minutes in the Western Conference Quarterfinals on Nov. 22, assisting Roger Espinoza's early goal and converting his penalty kick in the shootout as Sporting defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 3-0 in a penalty shootout following a 3-3 draw. Played 90 minutes in a 3-0 loss to Minnesota United in the Western Conference Semifinals on Dec. 3.
2019: Earned Sporting KC Offensive Player of the Year honors, tallying nine goals and 11 assists in all competitions. MLS Regular Season: Started 24 of 28 appearances, recording nine goals and nine assists (2,115 minutes played). Assisted Krisztian Nemeth's opening goal in a 2-1 loss at LAFC on March 3. Came off the bench and scored a stunning free kick to salvage a late point in a 1-1 draw at the Colorado Rapids on March 17. Scored two goals and assisted Krisztian Nemeth's second of three goals in a record-breaking 7-1 win over the Montreal Impact on March 30. Scored the opening goal in a 2-2 draw against the New York Red Bulls on April 14. Assisted Krisztian Nemeth's late equalizer in a 4-4 draw with the New England Revolution on April 27. Scored a sensational hat-trick in a 3-2 victory over Seattle Sounders FC on May 26, becoming the second Sporting player to record two regular-season hat-tricks for the club. Assisted Gerso's late goal in a 3-0 win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC on July 13. Assisted Ilie's goal in a 3-1 loss at New York City FC on July 26. Scored a superb free kick in a 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake on Aug. 10. Assisted Benny Feilhaber's equalizer in a 2-1 home win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Aug. 17. Assisted Erik Hurtado's dramatic late winner in a 1-0 victory over Minnesota United FC on Aug. 22. Scored the game-winner in a 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo on Aug. 31. Assisted Botond Barath's goal in a 2-1 loss at Minnesota United FC on Sept. 25. Assisted Krisztian Nemeth's goal in a 2-2 draw against the Portland Timbers on Sept. 29. Concacaf Champions League: Started five of six appearances and recorded two assists (320 minutes played). Started in both wins over Deportivo Toluca FC in the Round of 16. Assisted Roger Espinoza's goal in a 3-0 second-leg win over Independiente in the Quarterfinals on March 14. Assisted Gerso Fernandes' opening goal in a 5-2 semifinal defeat to Monterrey on April 11. Open Cup: Did not feature.
2018: Was named Sporting KC's Offensive Player of the Year. MLS Regular Season: Started 24 of 30 appearances, recording 10 goals and 10 assists (2,183 minutes played). Made his Sporting KC debut in the 2018 season opener against New York City FC on March 4 at Children's Mercy Park. Scored his first MLS goal and tallied a game-winning assist in a thrilling 4-3 victory at the Chicago Fire on March 10. Assisted Felipe Gutierrez's game-winning strike in a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on March 17. Scored an MLS Goal of the Week winner in a 2-0 victory at the LA Galaxy on April 8. Scored the eighth hat-trick in Kansas City regular season history with a scintillating performance on April 20 as Sporting KC hammered Vancouver Whitecaps FC 6-0 at Children's Mercy Park. Russell earned Alcatel MLS Player of the Week honors for Week 8 on April 24 after a dominant showing against Vancouver. Assisted Khiry Shelton's goal in a 1-1 draw at Minnesota United FC on May 20. Assisted two goals in a thrilling 3-2 comeback victory over the Houston Dynamo on June 23, setting up Daniel Salloi's 59th-minute strike and Diego Rubio's 85th-minute equalizer. Came off the bench and assisted Ike Opara's goal in a 4-2 loss at Real Salt Lake on July 4. Scored his 100th professional goal in a 2-2 draw against Toronto FC on July 7. Scored an early equalizer in a 3-2 loss at the New York Red Bulls on July 14. Came off the bench to score a late goal in a 3-0 win over Portland on Aug. 18. Assisted both goals in a 2-0 win over Minnesota United FC on Aug. 25, setting up Yohan Croizet's opener and Diego Rubio's tally. Assisted Ike Opara's second-half equalizer in a 1-1 draw against Real Salt Lake on Sept. 30. Scored a stunning solo goal to produce a pivotal late equalizer in a 1-1 draw with LA Galaxy on Oct. 6 as Sporting KC clinched a club-record eighth straight playoff berth. Came off the bench in the second half to assist Gianluca Busio's 94th-minute goal in a 4-1 victory at Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Oct. 17. Buried an 87th-minute penalty kick in a 3-0 win at FC Dallas on Oct. 21 to become the fourth player in Sporting KC history to reach double-digits in both goals and assists in a single regular season. Open Cup: Started and played 75 minutes in a 2-0 fourth-round win over Real Salt Lake on June 6, scoring Sporting KC's go-ahead goal in the 47th minute before assisting Kharlton Belmar's strike in the 74th minute. Played 25 minutes as a second-half substitute in a 3-2 victory over FC Dallas in the Round of 16 on June 16. Started and played 90 minutes in a 4-2 quarterfinal loss at the Houston Dynamo on July 18, scoring a goal in the second minute and assisting Yohan Croizet's strike in second-half stoppage time. MLS Cup Playoffs: Started four matches and recorded one assist (345 minutes played). Started and played 90 minutes in a 1-1 conference semifinal first leg draw at Real Salt Lake on Nov. 4. Started and played 90 minutes in a 4-2 conference semifinal second-leg win over Real Salt Lake on Nov. 11, assisting Diego Rubio's opening goal. Started and played 89 minutes in a 0-0 conference championship first-leg draw at Portland on Nov. 25. Started and played 89 minutes in a 3-2 conference championship second-leg loss to Portland on Nov. 29.
Derby County (2013-2017):
Russell reached new heights in June 2013 when he joined Derby County at the age of 23. He marked his debut for the outfit with his first of nine goals in the 2013-14 English Championship as the Rams fell just short of promotion to the Premier League. The winger totaled 18 additional goals over the next two seasons to work his way into the Scotland Men’s National Team squad.
Russell remained a regular contributor for Derby in 2016-17 and 2017-18, scoring four goals in the latter season prior to arriving in Kansas City.
Dundee United (2007-2012):
He spent most of his first two seasons on loan at Scottish side Forfar Athletic, recording eight total goals, and marked his first career Dundee United start with a successful penalty kick in a 2009 Scottish FA Cup win over East Stirlingshire.
After being loaned to Raith Rovers in 2009-10, Russell enjoyed a breakout year at Dundee United with nine goals as the Tangerines finished fourth in the Scottish Premier League. He added 14 more goals in all competitions during the 2011-12 campaign to pace another fourth-place finish, also scoring in a UEFA Europa League qualifier. Russell’s final season at Dundee United saw him produce a team-best 20 goals in 38 competitive appearances, including five in the club’s run to the Scottish FA Cup semifinals.
INTERNATIONAL: (14 caps, 1 goal)
As a youth international, Russell represented Scotland at the U-19 and U-21 levels. He netted twice in 10 matches for the U-19s between 2007-2010, then logged 11 appearances for the Scotland U-21s from 2010-2012, tallying one goal in 2013 UEFA U-21 European Championship Qualifiers. Russell has scored one goal in 14 career appearances for the Scotland senior national team.
2019: Played 29 minutes as a second-half substitute as Scotland opened UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying with a 3-0 loss at Kazakhstan. Opened his Scotland scoring account with his first senior goal in a 2-0 win at San Marino on March 24. Started and played 67 minutes in a 3-0 Euro qualifying loss at top-ranked Belgium on June 11. Played 13 minutes as a second-half substitute in a 4-0 Euro qualifying loss to Belgium on Sept. 9. Played 20 minutes as a second-half substitute in a 6-0 Euro qualifying win over San Marino on Oct. 13.
2018: Russell made his return to the Scotland setup on June 2, starting and playing 90 minutes in a 1-0 friendly defeat to Mexico at the hallowed Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. On Sept. 7, 2018, he came off the bench for a 22-minute cameo in a 4-0 friendly defeat to world No. 2-ranked Belgium at Hampden Park in Glasgow. On Sept. 10, 2018, Russell started and played 70 minutes as Scotland defeated Albania 2-0 to make a winning start to their 2018-19 UEFA Nations League campaign. Started and played 67 minutes as Scotland fell 2-1 at Israel in the UEFA Nations League on Oct. 11. Played 17 minutes as a second-half substitute as Scotland earned a 4-0 road win over Albania in the UEFA Nations League on Nov. 17.
2015: In October 2015, he contributed to Scotland’s 6-0 victory over Gibraltar in Group D of UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying.
2014: Russell landed his debut in a November 2014 friendly against England and featured in two more friendlies the following year as Scotland defeated Northern Ireland and Qatar, respectively.
2012: He received his first call to the senior squad in May 2012 for a friendly against the United States but did not feature in the match.
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Russell developed in the Dundee United FC Academy before making his professional debut for the top-flight Scottish Premiership club in May 2007 at age 17.