MLS

MLS: Sporting KC soar to summit thanks to 4-0 rout, RSL withstand Lopez hat-trick in wild win

By Sports Desk September 16, 2021

Sporting Kansas City crushed Minnesota United 4-0 in MLS to go top of the Western Conference standings, while Real Salt Lake prevailed in a seven-goal shoot-out.

Johnny Russell scored a goal and assisted two others as Sporting KC routed Minnesota at Children's Mercy Park on Wednesday.

Russell converted a penalty as part of a three-goal first half, with Khiry Shelton and Daniel Salloi also on target against the visitors.

Cameron Duke added a fourth goal seven minutes into the second half as Sporting KC found the back of the net in their 28th consecutive regular-season home game dating back to August 2019 – the longest active streak in MLS.

Sporting KC are a point clear in the west, though second-placed Seattle Sounders have played two games less, while Minnesota are two points outside the play-off positions.

San Jose Earthquakes star Javier Lopez scored a hat-trick, but Real Salt Lake still prevailed 4-3 in a wild clash.

Lopez opened the scoring in the 26th minute and completed his treble in the second half, however, RSL emerged victorious thanks to Rubio Rubin's brace.

The result snapped a five-match away losing streak for RSL, who ended San Jose's run of three consecutive wins over their rivals in MLS – a run that had equalled the longest streak by either team in history.

Elsewhere, former Manchester United and Real Madrid striker Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez salvaged a 1-1 draw for LA Galaxy against Houston Dynamo.

Another ex-United star, Nani, was sent off in the first half as Orlando City were beaten 4-2 by Montreal, Ola Kamara's opening-half hat-trick lifted DC United past Chicago Fire 3-0, Atlanta United were 4-0 winners against FC Cincinnati courtesy of a Josef Martinez double, Los Angeles FC edged Austin 2-1 and 10-man Portland Timbers drew 2-2 with Colorado Rapids.

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    Robert Lewandowski scored a stunning goal and Serge Gnabry also got on the scoresheet against his former club as Bayern Munich beat Hoffenheim 4-0 on Sunday.

    Julian Nagelsmann's side were threatening from the off and Gnabry lashed in from an acute angle after making a good run into space in the box, but free-scoring striker Lewandowski stole the show, bending a powerful effort high into the net from long range to leave Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann with no chance.

    Substitutes Eric Choupo-Moting and Kingsley Coman made the scoreline comfortable late on as the visitors succumbed to Bayern's relentless pressure.

    The result keeps Bayern top of the Bundesliga, one point ahead of title rivals Borussia Dortmund with nine games played.

    Lewandowski and Gnabry both came close to opening the scoring inside the first eight minutes, with the former dinking just wide from seven yards and the latter finding the net but seeing it disallowed following a VAR check due to a foul from Jamal Musiala in the build-up.

    Not to be denied, Gnabry rifled a low shot into the bottom-left corner from a tight angle on the right in the 16th minute after being found by Musiala and Lewandowski unleashed a ferocious strike into the top-right corner from outside the box on the half-hour mark after good work from Thomas Muller. 

    Bayern had several more good chances at 2-0 up, but did not find the net again until Andrej Kramaric's poor clearance ricocheted off the back of Dayot Upamecano and into the path of substitute Choupo-Moting, who slotted home in the 82nd minute.

    Fellow Bayern substitute Coman added further gloss to the scoreline five minutes later, racing onto a long ball in behind and lashing emphatically past Baumann to make it 4-0.

  • Tuchel tells Chelsea to prove Norwich thrashing was not a one-off Tuchel tells Chelsea to prove Norwich thrashing was not a one-off

    Thomas Tuchel wants Chelsea's players to continue proving their quality after watching them run riot against Norwich City.

    Shorn of the injured Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner, Chelsea made light work of lowly Norwich at Stamford Bridge, with Mason Mount scoring a hat-trick in a 7-0 win.

    It was the fourth time Chelsea have won a Premier League game by seven or more goals and the first time since December 2012 against Aston Villa (8-0), with only Manchester United netting seven or more goals in more Premier League games.

    Mount opened and rounded off the scoring, with strikes from Callum Hudson-Odoi, Reece James, Ben Chilwell and an own goal from Max Aarons wedged in between.

    Chelsea's win lifted them four points clear at the top for at least a few hours, and though pleased with the display, Tuchel wants the same level of performance when the Blues take on Southampton in the EFL Cup on Tuesday.

    He told BT Sport: "Yes, a good performance, we were sharp, put in a lot of effort.

    "High-pressing, [we] played a high rhythm and created a lot of chances and we were very precise. It was a deserved win. To score seven you need a bit of luck and momentum, but a good game.

    "This will not stop, this is only one game and the next one follows on Tuesday here, up for a challenge again and they will have to prove it again. All the credit, but it's only one game."

    Mount had not scored since netting in a 2-0 Champions League win over Real Madrid in May, but he was the star of the show against the hapless Canaries, who also had Ben Gibson sent off.

    He had more shots (five) and efforts on target (four) than any other player, while his tally of three key passes trailed only Mateo Kovacic (six).

    Tuchel said: "It's good, because no matter what the coach says and how many good opportunities you have, how satisfied the coach is, the offensive guys need goals to feel fully happy, full confidence.

    "He waited long, too long, and it was good that he got some goals today."

    Tuchel had concerns about fatigue with Mount, and he added: "I don't think it was a matter of now he is fresh and yesterday he was tired. For now it's a process, we are still in between international breaks, I think it's normal. It's a status that will not change from one game to the other.

    "I agree that today he looked fresh and it was good to put him on the pitch. We need to be careful with these players ... who play important roles in their national teams and have a lot of competitions."

    Mount added: "Before the game I was putting pressure on myself to get on the scoresheet because it's been quite a long time since I did, and then three come around in the same game.

    "I don't think I've ever scored more than one in a game for Chelsea, so it's obviously a massive moment for me to get three, I'll remember this for a long time.

    "You put pressure on yourself. I was always getting in the positions to score, but I just wasn't putting it in the back of the net, and I just thought there'd be a game where it was going to come off and today was the day.

    "It was my luck today, and obviously the team as well, not just me. The way we played today, I spoke before about intensity, an early kick-off, being at it from the beginning and we were like that today."

  • If you're not afraid, you face the lion thinking it's a cat – Ancelotti says pre-Clasico nerves can be a good thing If you're not afraid, you face the lion thinking it's a cat – Ancelotti says pre-Clasico nerves can be a good thing

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    Madrid face Barca in a key early season showdown in LaLiga, with the visitors two points better off than their fierce rivals heading into the much-anticipated game.

    Los Blancos thrashed Shakhtar Donetsk 5-0 in the Champions League in midweek, but they have taken just one point from the last six on offer in LaLiga.

    After suffering a shock 1-0 loss to Espanyol three weeks ago, Madrid risk suffering back-to-back league defeats for the first time since the final two games of the 2018-19 season.

    Ancelotti has experience of facing Barcelona as Madrid boss from his first stint in charge and is fully aware of the magnitude of the contest.

    "Worrying is a normal emotion. Sometimes even fear – they are positive feelings," he said at Saturday's pre-match news conference.

    "If you are not afraid, you face the lion thinking that it is a cat. I have a strong team, a team with real quality.

    "Fear is not a bad feeling. Fortunately, I am never scared because I think there are worse things in life than to lose a game."

     

    Ancelotti was responding to comments made by opposite number Ronald Koeman earlier on Saturday when insisting Barca's players do not fear Madrid.

    Madrid have won their last three games against Barcelona in all competitions and are looking to win four in a row for the first time since a run of seven in 1965.

    The Catalans may no longer have record all-time goalscorer Lionel Messi in their ranks, but Ancelotti does not doubt the quality of the opposition.

    "I don't like evaluating the squads of others," the Italian said. "But they have maintained that identity of playing good football. There's no Messi, but their youngsters are fantastic.

    "It is tough to say who arrives in this game in better shape because Barca have played good games lately. In this type of match, there can be no favourite."

    This will be the first season since 2004-05 that neither Messi nor Cristiano Ronaldo will make a Clasico appearance, with many suggesting the fixture has lost some of its lustre.

    But Ancelotti, who has not won any of his five away managerial games against Barcelona in all competitions, does not see it that way.

    "This is a special match for those who experience it," he said. "The feelings are the same as when Cristiano and Messi were involved.

    "You don't have to look at the individuals. You have to look at the teams because there will always be Barca-Madrid before those and after those who are here now."

     

    Having lost both previous games at Camp Nou as Madrid boss, Ancelotti could become just the second Los Blancos chief to lose his first three away El Clasicos after Leo Beenhakker, who suffered four defeats in a row between 1987 and 1988.

    "I have never won at Camp Nou and now is the time to do it," Ancelotti said when that fact was put to him. "That said, it is never easy.

    "There are three points on the line and if we want to win the league then we have to target them."

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