Indiana Vassilev scored his first and second goals of the season and St. Louis City cruised to a 4-0 victory over visiting Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night.
Nicholas Gioacchini added his fourth goal of the season and Eduard Lowen converted from the penalty spot for his third for expansion St. Louis (7-4-1, 22 points) in its first-ever meeting with its regional rivals.
Roman Burki made six stops to help his team snap a modest two-game losing streak and three-match winless run.
Jared Stroud had two assists as St. Louis also scored multiple goals for the first time since losing team-leading scorer Joao Klauss to a quadriceps injury in late April.
Klauss had been upgraded to questionable prior to Saturday’s match but did not make the gameday roster.
Kansas City (2-8-4, 10 points) saw its longest unbeaten run of the season snapped at three matches in its worst defeat of the season.
Sporting have now failed to score in eight matches so far, including five on the road.
But on this day it was their defense that was the primary culprit.
Those struggles in the back began when Vassilev earned the penalty in the 17th minute by inducing Kansas City’s Nemanja Radoja into a foul. Although Radoja appeared to win the ball, referee Chris Penso’s decision to award the foul was upheld by video review.
Lowen stepped to the spot and hammered a confident finish into the bottom right corner beyond goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh’s dive in the 19th minute.
Vassilev scored his first six minutes later on a transition sequence created by an exceptional tackle from Njabulo Blom.
From there the ball fell to Stroud, who craftily eluded one defender and then played the ball left into Vassilev’s run into the penalty area.
Vassilev struck his shot hard and low, and while McIntosh got his arms on it, he couldn’t get enough contact to keep it from crossing the goal line.
Stroud was involved again in Gioacchini’s 55th-minute goal on the break, and then Vassilev scored a similar goal for his second in the 75th as Kansas City sent numbers forward to try in vain to get back into the match.
–Field Level Media