Sporting KC forward Johnny Russell selected to Scotland Men’s National Team for UEFA Nations League matches

Sporting Kansas City forward Johnny Russell has been selected to the Scotland Men’s National Team ahead of two pivotal matches in the 2018-19 UEFA Nations League, the Scottish Football Association announced today.

Russell and Scotland will conclude their UEFA Nations League group stage campaign during this month’s FIFA international window, visiting Albania on Nov. 17 at Loro Borici Stadium in Shkoder before hosting Israel on Nov. 20 at Hampden Park in Glasgow. Both matches will kick off at 1:45 p.m. CT and stream live on ESPN+.

Prior to joining Scotland, Russell will be available for selection Sunday when top-seeded Sporting Kansas City hosts No. 6 seed Real Salt Lake in the decisive second leg of the Western Conference Semifinals at Children’s Mercy Park. A limited number of tickets for the highly anticipated playoff showdown, set to kick off at 2 p.m. CT on ESPN, are still available at SeatGeek.com.

Russell has enjoyed a superb first season with Sporting KC, racking up 12 goals and a team-best 12 assists in all competitions. He became the fourth player in club history to reach double-digit goals and assists in the same MLS regular season, recording 10 each, and last month was named Sporting KC’s Offensive Player of the Year.

A standout season at Sporting KC has facilitated Russell’s return to the Scotland national team. He has earned four of his eight career caps since June, having previously represented his country four times at the senior level from 2014-2015. The forward has started in three of his four international appearances this year, including both of Scotland’s UEFA Nations League matches to date—a 2-0 home win over Albania on Sept. 10 and a 2-1 loss at Israel on Oct. 11.

Scotland enters November occupying second place in Group 1 of UEFA Nations League C, three points behind leaders Israel while owning a goal difference tiebreaker over Albania. The first-place team will secure promotion to League B for the 2020-21 UEFA Nations League, while the third-place finisher faces possible relegation do League D. With a game in hand on both Israel and Albania, Scotland can finish atop the group if they win both remaining contests.

2018-19 UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE C (GROUP 1)

# TEAM PTS W L T GF GA GD
1 Israel 6 2 1 0 4 2 +2
2 Scotland 3 1 1 0 2 1 +1
3 Albania 3 1 2 0 1 4 -3

Russell is part of a 23-man squad assembled by Scotland head coach Alex McLeish and the team’s only member to play club soccer outside of Great Britain. He is one of four forwards on the roster, joining Steven Fletcher of Sheffield Wednesday, Oliver McBurnie of Swansea City and Matt Phillips of West Bromwich Albion.

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