First Touches SKC

Welcome to a Nicest-Rivalry-In-Sports edition of First Touches, in which Minnesota United prepares to welcome their great nemesis from just down I-35 in Sporting Kansas City to Allianz Field for a midweek meeting. 

  • Minnesota’s 3-1 victory in Vancouver this weekend marked the first occasion in which they claimed victory in three consecutive MLS regular season games since July 2019.F
  • The Loons have scored three goals in each of those three victories; nine goals across three regular season games is also the most since that July 2019 winning streak, in which Minnesota scored a whopping 13 goals in the first three games of a four-game winning streak (and seven-match undefeated streak).
  • In total, this marks only the third time Minnesota’s ever scored nine or more goals in any three-game stretch in MLS (adding also a streak in July 2018).
  • The Loons are now inside the playoff positions, holding sixth in the West while tied on points with Nashville (seventh, fewer wins) and the LA Galaxy (fifth, better goal difference).
  • Kansas City, meanwhile, is enduring a difficult season, tied with San Jose in the West’s basement and holding the worst goal difference in the entire league.
  • Minnesota and Kansas City have played 14 times in the regular season since the Loons ascended to MLS in 2017; the two clubs have also played numerous times in the U.S. Open Cup both before and after Minnesota joined MLS, and once in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
  • Sporting has taken three points in Minnesota just once, in the clubs’ final regular season meeting of 2020; of course, Minnesota took their revenge in dramatic fashion at Children’s Mercy Park several weeks later in the playoffs with a 3-0 win over top-seeded Kansas City.
  • Amidst their difficulties, Kansas City has won two of their last three games on the road, including a 2-1 win over the weekend in Montreal.
  • Sporting has not scored more than two goals in any match this season.
  • Dayne St. Clair was credited with his first career assist on the Loons’ third goal on Friday; St. Clair and Joe Willis of Nashville are the only two goalkeepers in the league with assists this season.
  • Kemar Lawrence’s 71st minute goal on Friday was his first for Minnesota.
  • Jacori Hayes’ assist on Minnesota’s second goal was his first of the season.
  • Luis Amarilla’s goal marked his fifth of the season, allowing him to join Robin Lod and Emanuel Reynoso at that landmark; Minnesota is one of just four teams in MLS with three or more 5+ goal scorers (Philadelphia, Cincinnati, LAFC).
  • Heading into this match, Amarilla is on a four-game point streak and Reynoso is riding a three-game point streak. 
  • Johnny Russell leads Sporting in both goals (5) and assists (4, tied with Dániel Sallói).
  • On the season, Sporting rounds to exactly 50% possession.

MINNESOTA CONNECTIONS

  • Roger Espinoza and Kervin Arriaga are both Honduran internationals; however, they never shared the field at that level, with Espinoza’s last appearance for Honduras coming in 2018, and Arriaga’s first coming in 2020.r
  • Likewise, Wil Trapp and Graham Zusi have both appeared for the United States national team, but never in the same fixtures, even though both were active in 2016.
  • Franco Fragapane and José Mauri were both members of Talleres in Argentina from 2019–2021 before coming to MLS.
  • Peter Vermes and Manny Lagos were teammates on the New York/New Jersey MetroStars for the inaugural MLS season in 1996. Lagos played the 1997 season on the MetroStars with current Sporting KC Assistant Coach Kerry Zavagnin.

MATCH INFO

Minnesota United FC v. Sporting KC

Allianz Field | St. Paul, Minnesota

Wednesday, July 13

7:00 pm CT (MLS LIVE on ESPN+, Bally Sports North EXTRA, The CW - Twin Cities, 1500 ESPN)