20210821_SportingKC_A17I1994

MINNESOTA UNITED FC vs. SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Allianz Field | Saint Paul, Minnesota
10.31.21 | MLS Week No. 34 | MLS Game No. 33
12:00 p.m. CT (ESPN, MNUFC Radio on SKOR North)

2021 Regular Season Records (W-L-D):
SKC: 17-7-7 (8-5-2 on the road)
MIN: 12-11-9 (9-4-3 at home)

On Wednesday night the Loons suffered a tough 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps. Just before the end of the first half, an accidental own-goal from Michael Boxall got the Whitecaps on the board and a goal from Brian White in the 63rd minute proved to be enough to lock in a win for the Canadian side. Fanendo Adi did end up scoring his first goal as a Loon and cut Vancouver's lead in half in the 91st minute, but it was too little too late. Next up, The Nicest Rivalry is back in Saint Paul this Sunday at noon and promises to be anything but. Now that the Loons are sitting just below the playoff line, they will have everything to play for in this game against a strong Sporting Kansas City side. With some of the last points of the season up for grabs, the Loons will need to make a quick turnaround from their trip to Vancouver and focus on getting a result at home to ensure a spot in the postseason.

THE OPPOSITION

Sporting Kansas City have rarely lacked for regular season success. While they faltered in 2019 and slipped out of the playoffs, they were the top seed in the Western Conference in both 2018 and 2020 and are poised to claim that top spot again this season. The problem for them, then, is that in neither 2018 nor 2020 did they make it to the MLS Cup Final, with first Portland and then Seattle representing the Western Conference in the season’s final game. As such, Peter Vermes’ squad will be coming into Sunday’s game not only with the hope of putting some space between themselves and Seattle — the two teams are tied at 58 points with SKC slightly ahead on wins per match to break the tie — but with the goal of finishing strong to provide momentum into the postseason. Even without goalkeeper Tim Melia, SKC prevailed over the Galaxy on Wednesday, making it four wins in the last five for the club. Two years ago, MNUFC clinched their first-ever playoff berth with a win at Allianz Field against SKC late in the season, and it’s certain Sporting KC would like nothing more than to hold the Loons below the playoff line this time around.

FIRST TOUCHES

  • Several Loons hit milestones in the game against Vancouver. Wil Trapp made his 250th MLS appearance in the game against Vancouver, Tyler Miller made his 100th MLS appearance and Osvaldo Alonso made his 50th start for MNUFC in the regular season. MORE