Johnny Russell scored three goals as host Sporting Kansas City hammered the Vancouver Whitecaps 6-0 on Friday night at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan.
In only 52 minutes of playing time, Russell helped Sporting (5-1-2) remain unbeaten in seven straight games. He was also at the center of a first-half fracas that resulted in two Whitecaps — midfielders Yordy Reyna and Efrain Juarez — being ejected, forcing Vancouver to play the rest of the game with only nine players.
But Kansas City took a stranglehold before the ejections, capitalizing on defensive and goalkeeper miscues by Vancouver to build a 3-0 lead in the first 30 minutes. Russell’s replacement, Cristian Lobato, scored a goal on three shots (two on goal), while Jimmy Medranda and Yohan Croizet also tallied for Sporting. Roger Espinoza had two assists.
Russell opened the scoring on a low shot in the 10th minute thanks to weak Vancouver marking. Six minutes later, he put a shot from distance into the top corner of the net after being unmarked. Whitecaps goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic misplayed the angle on the shot as he watched the ball go over him.
Medranda put the hosts ahead 3-0 in the 30th minute before things got ugly and K.C.’s win was all but assured.
Vancouver’s Reyna and Juarez received direct red cards in the 40th minute for their actions during a melee involving several Whitecaps and Sporting players. Reyna was tossed out for throwing Russell to the ground. That ejection — officially ticketed as violent conduct — resulted after an official video review.
Juarez was ejected for foul and abusive language. During the fracas, he bumped Russell and, when the K.C. player got up after being thrown down, tussled with him. The brouhaha started after Vancouver captain Kendall Waston fouled Russell and received a yellow card for unsporting behavior.
Russell also received a yellow card for unsporting behavior following the scrap.
After the ejections, eight minutes of stoppage time were added. Marinovic stopped Ilie Sanchez on a penalty kick in the sixth added minute, after Russell was fouled in the Whitecaps’ box by defender Marcel de Jong.
Russell completed his hat trick in the 48th minute on a pass from defender Matt Besler. Lobato put K.C. up 5-0 only two minutes after replacing Russell, heading in a deflected pass from Croizet, who closed out the scoring in the 77th minute.
—Field Level Media