Allianz Field would once again play host to what some consider the “friendliest” rivalry in sports on Saturday night. But, with a great deal at stake for both Minnesota United and Sporting Kansas City on this evening, it would be the legions of Loons fans providing all the deafening unfriendliness the visitors could handle. The Loons hoped that loud and loyal chorus would be the soundtrack playing in the background as they dashed the playoff hopes of their frenemies. Unfortunately, the sea of Black and Blue would be singing a different tune when the clock ran out on this one.
In the early goings, it was the Sporting KC attack playing the role of the aggressor. But, while SKC would make their fair share of runs inside the Loons’ 18-yard line throughout the first half of play, it would only result in a minimal amount of scoring attempts. More so than a lack of execution on KC’s part, it was the sharp eyes and actions of defenders Bakaye DiBassy, Michael Boxall, D.J. Taylor, and Ethan Bristow that would deserve the credit for holding KC in check. For their part, the Loons attack seemed just slightly out of sync in the first half, as they would fall prey to inaccuracy in the passing department, which would result in some costly turnovers, thus snuffing out any momentum they would try to build.
The second half would see a better effort from the Loons’ attacking third, as they would pick up the pace and present more of a challenge to the SKC defenders. The passing would look more crisp and Emanuel Reynoso would provide the boys with more quality looks at goalkeeper Tim Melia and the SKC net. In the 74th minute, the Loons’ attacking efforts would nearly pay off when Reynoso would cross to a wide-open Teemu Pukki in the center of the Kansas City box. Unfortunately, the fine Finn wouldn’t put enough mustard on his shot and Melia would come up with the save on what almost seemed like gimme for the Loons. Then, in the 79th minute, the boys would once again miss out on a prime opportunity to gain the advantage over SKC when a Reynoso free kick would connect with Boxall on the header for what looked like the go ahead score. But, Boxy would be just a hair offside, foiling the fellas once more from breaking the scoring seal.
In the end, it would be Sporting Kansas City that would seal the victory in the 84th minute when midfielder Roger Espinoza would find Gadi Kinda in the center of the Loons’ box. Kinda would find the net, and MNUFC would find themselves on the losing end of a game that simply got away from them in the end. With their 7-game unbeaten streak snapped and another poor result on their home pitch, the Loons will need to be quick to lick their wounds, as they head into their next match this Wednesday out on the West Coast when they face the LA Galaxy.
LA Galaxy vs. MNUFC
09.20.2023 | MLS Matchday 33
Dignity Health Sports Park | Carson, CA | Kickoff: 9:30 p.m.
Watch: AppleTV - MLS Season Pass, 1500 ESPN