By Kirsten Arpin // @Kirsten_Hoogs
One of the biggest questions that Sporting KC fans have had for the past few seasons is, “When will Peter Vermes sign a proven goal-scorer?” Well, guys, I think we’re good.
We’re ten games in (oh man…look at those recap articles…insert sad-disappointed emoji here) and not only are we in first place in the west…say that again for the people in the back…FIRST PLACE IN THE WEST! but we are averaging just over two goals per game, and have a +9 goal differential. All of these things are quite awesome. So let’s discuss these guys, and see what might be in store for the rest of the season.
The Top Guys
Johnny “Russellmania” Russell
Johnny Russell came from Derby (Darby) County, and he hit the ground running. If you haven’t seen this guy score in person, then you are missing out. Though I live super far away from KC now, I was able to take a spur-of-the-moment trip up to Chicago to see SKC win against the Chicago Fire. His goal was not only his first for the boys in blue, but it was also gorgeous. Just watch him blast the ball between three Fire defenders, not that anyone would have been able to stop it…
Clinical finishing from SKC's new man, Johnny Russell! And a terrific assist from @DanielSalloi.
— Sporting KC (@SportingKC) March 11, 2018
That was his first goal, but Russell’s crowning glory so far this season was the game against the Vancouver Whitecaps where he became the 8th player in SKC history to score a hat-trick. The coolest part though is that he is the fastest player to ever get three in one game, clocking in at 48 minutes.
He could have probably scored more, but the Verms subbed him out in the 52nd minute for Cristian Lobato…who scored another goal. A 6-0 win was pretty sweet, guys. When you score three goals in one game you are almost guaranteed to be MLS Player of the Week, so naturally, that happened. Please enjoy this goal-a-palooza.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 21, 2018
So, Felipe Gutiérrez was the leading goal-scorer in the league, then he got injured and he was still the leading goal-scorer for another two weeks. That’s what happens when you score five goals in the first five games. Quick side-note: Sporting didn’t score in their first game, so it’s basically five goals in four games.
I would like you to ignore the obnoxious music in this video and watch his field awareness. He knows exactly where the defenders and his teammates are at all times. The goal off of the backheel from Daniel Salloi should have been the goal of the week, but Atlanta United fans stuff the ballot box any time one of their guys is nominated…cough cough.
His reaction time is also crazy. The two goals off of rebounds are sheer perfection. Felipe has been injured basically since March ended. He subbed in against Vancouver but wasn’t on the field for that long, and he’s out now after sports hernia surgery. Depending on how quick he’s back, and how prolific other scorers are, he could possibly still end the season near the top of the leading scorers.
Five games. Five goals.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 6, 2018
The Utility Players
Penalty Shooter Extraordinaire, Ilie Sanchez
Do you need a guy to take a penalty? (Which SKC are magically getting this season. Not bitter, but we didn’t get one until almost the All-Star break last year. Pepperidge Farm remembers.) Well, we have a guy that can take your penalties. Not only will he make said penalty shot, but he won’t even make a big deal out of it. I wish he could score more, because The Cauldron has a new cheer for Ilie this season, and it is my absolute favorite thing.
My name is…
I’m from Barcelona
I play defensive-mid for the Wiz (THE WIZ)
When I walk down the street
Everyone that I meet
Says, “Hey, Muchacho, what’s your name?”
My name is…
Sporting Kansas City: 1
Seattle: 0 pic.twitter.com/E6Ptah47gp
— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) April 15, 2018
Young Daniel Salloi
Young Daniel has worked his way back into the starting lineup since Felipe’s injury, and if Saturday’s game was any indication, he’ll fill in fine. Daniel has scored twice so far this season, and he didn’t play at all in one game since he was coming back from international duty in Hungary. I refuse to do a Hungary pun. Refuse!
This guy is still young, and even if he’s not scoring, he provides a spark on the offensive end. He has four assists on the season including a beautiful backheel on one of Felipe’s goals from above. Check out his goal from the game against Colorado Rapids. Not only is the finish great, but literally every single piece of this puzzle is bomb.
— Sporting KC (@SportingKC) May 6, 2018
Matt Besler got a haircut. I’m sad about it.
Graham Zusi cut his hair for charity. I’m not sad about it.
Sporting defeated the Fighting Zlatans…I mean the LA Galaxy. It was great, and I laughed with glee.
If you look at the featured image in the article you can see what the team photos have been like this season. It is the best thing, and I love it. Enjoy the shenanigans.
I’ve finished the first year of my Masters…again…! It’s been a stressful year, but I’m excited to be back with you guys and writing about my team.
Sporting is taking a trip to Atlanta for a mid-week game against Atlanta United, so get ready to check it out along with four other great games.
Featured image courtesy: @SportingKC
Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @Kirsten_Hoogs
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