First Touches | #SKCvMIN
© Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

First Touches | #SKCvMIN

MATCHUP QUICK FACTS

  • Minnesota qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs for the second consecutive year. MLS announced it would use points per game to determine qualification due to schedule disruptions caused by COVID-19.
  • Sporting Kansas City leads the Western Conference with 36 points, but sits second behind Seattle Sounders based on points per game. SKC has averaged 1.8 PPG to Seattle’s 1.84 PPG.
  • This will be the fourth meeting between SKC and MNUFC this season. This is the most regular season meetings between these two squads in a single year.
  • This is the 16th time the Loons and SKC have faced off in all competitions since 2014.
  • The Loons defeated the Colorado Rapids 2-1 on Wednesday night.
  • Minnesota is undefeated in its last six games with a record of 3-0-3. A win or a draw against Sporting KC would tie its longest unbeaten run in MLS.
  • Robin Lod scored his sixth goal of the year to open the scoring against the Rapids. He has been involved in eight goals this season.
  • Emanuel Reynoso provided his fourth assist of the year on Wednesday night. He is now second on the roster behind the six credited to Jan Gregus.
  • Dayne St. Clair backstopped the squad to his fifth win in 11 starts. He has a goals against average of just 0.91.
  • The game-winning goal against the Rapids was the third own-goal in favor of Minnesota this season. The last opponent to score a goal for Minnesota was Sporting Kansas City on August 21.
  • The Loons have received more own goals than any team in MLS.
  • SKC has only blown a lead twice in regular season play this year, the first time coming against Minnesota on July 12.
  • St. Clair edged out Tim Melia by one minute for the third-longest shutout streak this season so far. They kept opponents off the board for 349 and 348 minutes respectively.
  • Roger Espinoza has been involved in a goal in his last two appearances.

MINNESOTA CONNECTIONS

  • Ike Opara spent six seasons with Sporting Kansas City, representing the club from 2013 through 2018. He made 127 regular season appearances for SKC, scoring 13 goals and providing five assists.
  • 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.
  • Graham Smith and Hassani Dotson both played for Oregon State in 2015.
  • Aaron Schoenfeld played against SKC’s Gadi Kinda for five minutes in the Israeli Premier League when Schoenfeld’s Maccabi Tel Aviv faced Kinda’s FC Ashdod on December 2, 2017. Schoenfeld came on in the 77th minute while Kinda was subbed off in the 83rd minute of a 1-1 draw.
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