SPORTING KANSAS CITY vs. MINNESOTA UNITED FC
Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kansas
11.01.2020 | MLS Week No. 22 | MLS Game No. 20
6:30 p.m. CT (FOX Sports North, FOX Sports GO, MNUFC Radio on SKOR North)
SKC: 11–6-3 (5-3-1 at home)
MIN: 8-5-6 (3-4-2 on the road)
It might not always have been pretty, but after their 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids, Minnesota United are riding a six-game unbeaten streak of three wins and three draws. The recent run and a shift by the league to organizing the table by points per game instead of straight points has clinched a playoff berth for the Loons as well as a spot — for the time being — in fourth place in the West. Now to keep the run going, all they have to do is travel to Children’s Mercy Park and take something from a game against Sporting Kansas City in their building — a feat they have yet to accomplish in MLS. SKC are in their own rich vein of form, having won their last two. But they have also looked not quite as impregnable at home as in year’s past, having lost to Houston, Orlando and Dallas in front of the Blue Hell. It’s 2020, so Head Coach Adrian Heath will have to look down the depth chart after several players took knocks in the game against Colorado. Don’t be surprised if we see a much different look for the Loons as they aim to do whatever it takes to wrest a point from their final road game of the season.
Sporting Kansas City’s season has been — as it has for many teams — an up and down one. For SKC, at least, there have been two big ups and one big down. In the first two weeks of the season and through the Group Stage of the MLS Is Back Tournament, Sporting looked, if not dominant, at least deserving of the preseason hype brought on by the acquisition of Mexican national team member Alan Pulido. They won four of their first five games. But following the restart of the season, the results faltered. Although they beat Minnesota twice, they lost four of their next eight games. Since the calendar has flipped to October, though, SKC have regained their form, winning five of their last seven. Credit must, as ever with SKC, go to Peter Vermes, who has weathered the midseason storm and now has his team hitting on all cylinders at exactly the right time to finish the season.
It’s shaping up to be a dogfight down the stretch for the final home playoff spot in the Western Conference. Seattle, SKC and Portland are all at least five points clear of fourth right now, leaving MNUFC, LAFC and perhaps FC Dallas in a donnybrook for that coveted spot. LAFC’s win over Houston on Wednesday leaves them with two games to catch up, the first on the road against a quasi-hot San Jose side and at home against the Timbers, who only have one loss in their last 10. The Toros’ remaining schedule might look even tougher, including finishing on the road with a game against Nashville before a Decision Day clash against MNUFC at Allianz Field. Right now, it appears as if fortune favors the Loons, but everything can change in the blink of an eye in this topsy-turvy 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.
SOUND OF THE LOONS: A VERY COVID SEASON