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2019 Major League Soccer, Regular Season
  • Johnny Russell (12')

Russell helps Sporting KC edge Dynamo

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Johnny Russell scored in the 12th minute as host Sporting Kansas City recorded its season-high third straight win with a 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.

Tim Melia finished with five saves for Sporting Kansas City (10-11-7, 37 points), which sent Houston to its 12th road loss in 14 contests.

Joe Willis made four saves for the Dynamo (9-15-4, 31 points), who have been outscored 15-6 while going 0-6-1 since posting a 3-1 victory at Toronto FC on July 20.

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Sporting Kansas City opened the scoring in the 12th minute on a brilliant sequence that began with Felipe Gutierrez chipping the ball toward the baseline. Graham Smith chased it down and sent a goal-mouth cross that was headed home to the far post by Russell for his ninth goal of the season.

The assist was the first of the career for Smith.

Russell nearly was in on another goal just seven minutes later, as he set up Daniel Salloi's shot that caromed off the crossbar.

Houston appeared to forge a tie in the 73rd minute as Alberth Elis set up Christian Ramirez's conversion from short range. The sequence was whistled for offsides, however.

Elis wasn't done, however, as he set up Thomas McNamara for a shot near the penalty spot in the 76th minute that deflected out for a corner kick.

Melia preserved Sporting Kansas City's 1-0 lead after denying Elis on the breakaway in the 45th minute. Elis' bid was set up by an alert play from Willis, who sent the ball into an open space for the Houston forward to retrieve.

Willis also thwarted a point-blank opportunity in the 56th minute, stopping Erik Hurtado from in close. Russell set up the sequence by weaving his way around a pair of defenders to gain entry into the box.