While not exactly the result they were looking for, the Loons were hoping Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with LAFC would be the key to getting their regular season back on track, putting the brakes on a recent three-game skid and building some momentum for the final games of the regular season and run-up to the playoffs. And, with the Western Conference playoffs seedings yet to be set and home-field advantage still a possibility, the boys needed to keep trending back upwards on a season that has had its share of twists and turns. Unfortunately, Saturday night in Kansas City, that road to the playoffs got a whole lot bumpier, as Sporting overwhelmed the Loons with a deflating 4-1 loss.

Deflating in the sense that even in a second half that saw some signs of life with a Ménder García karate kick goal in the 57th minute, Sporting’s attack showed the kind of speed that would dog the Loons all evening. KC was able to turn quick runs into problems for Minnesota’s banged-up backline, with Brent Kallman playing through a sprained ankle and Kemar Lawrence nursing a hamstring injury.

A misfortunate ricochet off Michael Boxall in the 31st minute would open the scoring. Misfortune turned into a scoring melee when KC midfielder Erik Thommy netted the second goal off a cross from Johnny Russell. That was quickly followed by KC striker William Agada’s header off a corner kick in the 45th minute — the icing on the cake of a brutal series of events to close out the first half. Needless to say, a 3-0 deficit heading into the locker room would be a tough task to overcome. And even with a second half that saw more life in the Minnesota United attack, and more shots on goal, William Agada put any dream of a comeback to bed in the 81st minute with the striker’s second goal of the game.

With an in-season international break and St. Clair, Boxall, Rosales and Arriaga all heading out to play for their respective nations, it’s a break that hopefully can’t come at a better time for the Loons and may just give them an opportunity to regroup and refocus their eyes on the regular season prize: a home playoff game at Allianz Field. The Loons now look to make the most of the first of their two remaining regular season contests October 1 when the Loons face San Jose at PayPal Park.

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San Jose vs. Minnesota United FC

PayPal Park | San Jose, CA

10.01.22 | MLS Game 31

9:00 pm CT (MLS Live on ESPN+, Bally Sports North, The CW - Twin Cities, 1500 ESPN)