SOCCER | MLS

Minnesota United FC vs. Sporting Kansas City Pick & Prediction SEP 15TH 2021

Complete Sporting Park Kansas City
Minnesota United FC
Sporting Kansas City
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Gino Russo
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Minnesota United and Sporting Kansas City played to a scoreless tie just 3 1/2 weeks ago.

Goals figure to be hard to come by again when the teams reunite Wednesday night at Kansas City, Kan.

Minnesota's Tyler Miller recorded five saves in the Aug. 21 match for one of his seven shutouts of the season, while Sporting KC counterpart Tim Melia had seven saves for one of his six clean sheets.

The 35-year-old Melia also had a shutout on Saturday when Sporting KC (12-5-7, 43 points) posted a 2-0 home win over the Chicago Fire to remain two points behind the first-place Seattle Sounders in the Western Conference.

Newcomer Jose Mauri scored in the fourth minute and Kansas City forward Johnny Russell tallied two minutes later as the club halted a four-game winless stretch (0-1-3).

Mauri's goal came in his second game with Sporting after the midfielder had stints in Italy (six-plus seasons) and Argentina (two).

Melia is one of the many Sporting KC players who are impressed with the 25-year-old.

"I'm excited about him," Melia said. "The things he does for our team -- the way he wants to possess the ball, he's got a very good right foot, he's got a very good left foot. All those things are positive things and he's only going to get better."

Minnesota United figures to keep close watch on Mauri as they attempt to break out of a five-game slumber (1-2-2).

Minnesota (8-7-7, 31 points) has been blanked three times during the stretch, including Saturday's 1-0 road loss against the Seattle Sounders.

"The hardest thing is to score, right?" midfielder Wil Tripp told reporters. "... Ultimately, it's about the target. Hitting the target, hit the target, hit the frame and make the goalkeeper make the save. We've seen when we do that, we tend to pick up pieces and score goals. It's really one of those fine details."

The Loons are in sixth place in the tightly bunched West -- and only seven teams make the playoffs.

Midfielder Robin Lod (team-best six goals) is listed as questionable with a calf injury. He missed the past five games. Midfielder Emanuel Reynoso (hamstring) is slated to return after a two-game absence.

Sporting KC lists forward Alan Pulido (knee) as questionable. He banged the knee during the Chicago match.

--Field Level Media

Minnesota United FC vs. Sporting Kansas City Recap DEC 3TH 2020

Johnny Russell converted a perfect pass from Graham Zusi for a goal in the 80th minute as host Sporting Kansas City defeated Minnesota United 1-0 Sunday night.

Sporting KC (6-3-2, 20 points) moved to the top of the Western Conference standings.

Zusi lofted a pass up the middle from 20 yards shy of midfield and found Russell even with the four-man back line of Minnesota. Russell collected the ball, gathered himself and left-footed it past Minnesota keeper Dayne St. Clair.

First place was on the line as both clubs trailed Seattle by one point heading into the match. It appeared for much of the match that neither side would leave happy.

Sporting KC controlled the pace almost from the beginning but had nothing to show for it. They controlled more than 60 percent of possession and finished with a 21-6 edge in shots. The 21st shot connected.

Minnesota (5-4-2, 17 points), which was without several offensive players, had trouble mounting much of an attack. The Loons picked up the pace following Russell's goal, but the Sporting defense kept them away from keeper Tim Melia and the SKC net.

Sporting KC had earned a total of only two points in four matches (two draws and two losses) since their 2-1 road victory against Minnesota on Aug. 21. Sporting remains the only MLS club not to suffer a shutout in 2020.

Minnesota had won two straight after a four-game losing streak that included the home loss to Sporting Kansas City.

An aggressive start saw both teams leave scoring opportunities wanting. Sporting had five shots in the first nine minutes.

SKC kept up the pressure, holding nearly 70 percent of the possession in the first 30 minutes with eight shots compared with just one for Minnesota.

By halftime, Sporting owned a 15-1 advantage in shots, including 5-0 in shots on goal, plus a 64-36 advantage in possession.

--Field Level Media
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