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MNUFC vs. SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Allianz Field | St. Paul, Minnesota
07.13.2022 | MLS Week No. 20 | MLS Game No. 20 | MLS Heineken Rivalry Week
7:00 p.m. CT (ESPN and 1500 ESPN)

Saturday night's game was another late one with late goals that pushed the Loons over the Whitecaps. Vancouver struck first in the 66th minute with a goal from Lucas Cavallini, but their lead didn't last long. Kemar Lawrence, Luis Amarilla and Franco Fragapane all found the back of the net in the final 20 minutes of the game to secure Minnesota United's third three-goal win in a row. For their next game, the Loons will be back in St. Paul for the newest edition of the Nicest Rivalry in Sports. (In other words, Minnesota United will be playing Sporting Kansas City this Saturday, at Allianz Field.) The Loons are coming into this game hot and sitting seven spots above their "nice" rivals from Kansas City. The 2022 season has been a difficult one for SKC and a sharp turn from their 3rd place finish in the Western Conference last season. The team has already lost more games than they did in the entirety of the 2021 season and they have failed to win more than one league game at a time. However, the Nicest Rivalry has proven to be a tough game for the Loons with the 19 past iterations ending in a record of 6-10-3 for MNUFC. To make sure this game goes their way and their win streak stays in tact, Minnesota will need continue scoring in the same manner that they have over their last three games. MORE

OPPONENT BREAKDOWN - SPORTING KANSAS CITY

SKC are down on their luck. Some key injuries, mixed with an aging core of players that haven’t quite transitioned to the next generation has left them reeling during the 2022 season. They barely score, they concede a lot, and they have dropped points in 75% of their games this year. With the Loons in such high-flying form, this game could get ugly for the visitors. However, this is the MLS, where anything can happen on any given day. The season isn’t over until Decision Day, and wounded animals are often the most dangerous to deal with. MORE

Adrian Heath on what he sees from Sporting Kansas City…

“We watched their game [against Montreal]. One of the beauties of playing before them is you get a good chance to watch their game against Montreal, which is a big win for them. Montreal has been particularly good this year at home. But we know what’s coming. Incredibly well organized. Got a great amount of respect for Peter [Vermes] and his staff. Got really good pieces with the likes of Johnny Russell and Roger [Espinoza] got a great goal, although he might be suspended, I don’t know, [Daniel] Salloi. But, hey, it is what it is. They’re going to come and be organized and be competitive. Can we continue in the rich vein of form that we’ve started and if we do, we’re more than a match for anybody.” MORE

Michael Boxall on what the focus is for Sporting Kansas City…

“It doesn’t matter where they are on the table. Whenever we play them it’s always pretty tight. I think we just have to keep doing what we’re doing. Keep the boys…put the ball in the front half and keep making runs off Rey [Emanuel Reynoso] and let him do his thing and just, again, tidy things up on the back. We’ve played recently at home pretty well, so we can keep that going. I think we need to keep climbing the table. Three points would be massive.” MORE

STORYLINES PRESENTED BY BMW

BALANCED ATTACK: As Minnesota’s attack has found its groove in the last two weeks, contributions have come from all over the pitch. Of the eleven players who started Friday’s win over Vancouver, only centerbacks Michael Boxall and Bakaye Dibassy and midfielder Wil Trapp are without either a goal or assist in Minnesota’s winning streak. That’s correct: eight of the eleven starters have registered either a goal or assist in the last three games, and that’s with Robin Lod playing in a position he’s never played in for Minnesota in two of those three games due to absences in the center of midfield. It will be interesting to see if, should Joseph Rosales or Kervin Arriaga be available, Adrian Heath chooses to return Lod to his spot further up the field and adjust the balance of a team that appears in the best scoring form of any team in MLS. MORE

FIRST TOUCHES

  • 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.
  • 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. MORE