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Minnesota United FC vs. Sporting Kansas City Pick & Prediction DEC 3TH 2020

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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
It's been dubbed "the friendliest rivalry in sports," but with all that's at stake in Thursday's match, don't expect players or coaches to be exchanging recipes or making postmatch dinner plans.

Top-seeded Sporting Kansas City will host fourth-seeded Minnesota United in the Western Conference semifinals at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan. Minnesota has never won at the stadium, going 0-6-0 in all competition, with five of those games coming in MLS play.

The winner advances to the conference final on Monday to meet the second-seeded Seattle Sounders, who edged FC Dallas 1-0 on Tuesday.

"It's always been my opinion that there's no such thing as a 'friendly,'" Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said. "At the end of the day, these guys are all professionals. The staffs are as well. We have a tremendous amount of respect for their team, their club and their staff.

"But it's a playoff game. We want to win."

Vermes said Monday that he expects nearly all of his players to be available, although he stopped short of saying that striker Alan Pulido would also be on the pitch following an injury-marred season.

"You don't replace (Pulido)," he said. "He's a special player within our team. This is the important time. This is what you fight all year long to get to. I'm always going to be cautious when making the decision as to whether (any player) is part of the team. I don't ever want to put a player in a position where he is not prepared to go in and play."

The Loons breezed to a 3-0 win over the Colorado Rapids in their first-round playoff match, led by two goals by Kevin Molino. Sporting, meanwhile, had to go to penalty kicks to top the San Jose Earthquakes after a 3-3 draw.

Minnesota will be riding a nine-game unbeaten string (5-0-4) coming into the match, which Vermes says makes the Loons the favorite. Minnesota head coach Adrian Heath is amused by that.

"Well, I get along really well with Peter, so I'll have to ask him the question on what criteria he's (using)," Heath said. "Is it the fact they won the West and are on top of the league and rarely get beat that we are the favorites? We haven't won a game there."

--Field Level Media

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Minnesota United FC

Sporting Kansas City

Player Position Lineup
Robin Lod Starter
Kevin Molino Starter
Dayne St. Clair Starter
Chase Gasper Starter
Bakaye Dibassy Starter
Michael Boxall Starter
Romain Metanire Starter
Osvaldo Alonso Starter
Emanuel Reynoso Starter
Ján Greguš Starter
Ethan Finlay Starter
Jose Aja Substitution
Adrian Zendejas Substitution
Thomás Chacón Substitution
Jacori Hayes Substitution
Marlon Hairston Substitution
Noah Billingsley Substitution
Aaron Schoenfeld Substitution
Kei Kamara Substitution
Hassani Dotson Substitution
Player Position Lineup
Tim Melia Starter
Amadou Dia Starter
Winston Reid Starter
Roberto Puncec Starter
Jaylin Lindsey Starter
Ilie Sanchez Starter
Gianluca Busio Starter
Roger Espinoza Starter
Johnny Russell Starter
Khiry Shelton Starter
Gerso Fernandes Starter
Andreu Fontas Substitution
John Pulskamp Substitution
Cameron Duke Substitution
Gadi Kinda Substitution
Graham Smith Substitution
Luís Martins Substitution
Daniel Salloi Substitution
Erik Hurtado Substitution
Felipe Hernandez Substitution

Minnesota United FC

Sporting Kansas City

  • Match Start
  • Period 1
  • MIN 27
    • GOAL
    • scorer: Kevin Molino
  • MIN 35
    • GOAL
    • scorer: Kevin Molino
  • MIN 39
    • GOAL
    • scorer: Bakaye Dibassy
  • MIN 42
    Emanuel Reynoso
    card
  • Period 2
  • MIN 56
    IN: Luís Martins
    OUT: Amadou Dia
    substitution
  • MIN 56
    IN: Gadi Kinda
    OUT: Gianluca Busio
    substitution
  • MIN 57
    Ján Greguš
    card
  • MIN 68
    IN: Erik Hurtado
    OUT: Gerso Fernandes
    substitution
  • MIN 72
    IN: Hassani Dotson
    OUT: Osvaldo Alonso
    substitution
  • MIN 78
    IN: Felipe Hernandez
    OUT: Roger Espinoza
    substitution
  • MIN 80
    Chase Gasper
    card
  • MIN 80
    IN: Marlon Hairston
    OUT: Emanuel Reynoso
    substitution
  • MIN 82
    Bakaye Dibassy
    card
  • MIN 84
    Marlon Hairston
    card
  • MIN 88
    IN: Jacori Hayes
    OUT: Kevin Molino
    substitution
  • Match End

GAMES

Last 10

W 86% L 14%
6 1
  • @Seattle Sounders FC L 2 - 3
  • @Sporting Kansas City W 3 - 0
  • Colorado Rapids W 0 - 3
  • FC Dallas W 0 - 3
  • Colorado Rapids W 1 - 2
  • @FC Cincinnati W 1 - 0
  • Houston Dynamo D 2 - 2
  • Chicago Fire D 2 - 2
  • @Nashville SC D 0 - 0
  • FC Cincinnati W 0 - 2
W 75% L 25%
6 2
  • Minnesota United FC L 3 - 0
  • San Jose Earthquakes D 3 - 3
  • @Real Salt Lake W 2 - 0
  • @FC Cincinnati W 1 - 0
  • Colorado Rapids W 0 - 4
  • @Chicago Fire D 2 - 2
  • @FC Dallas L 0 - 1
  • Nashville SC W 1 - 2
  • Chicago Fire W 0 - 1
  • @Houston Dynamo W 2 - 1

Last Meetings

  • Minnesota United FC @ Sporting Kansas City 3-0
  • Minnesota United FC @ Sporting Kansas City 0-1
  • Sporting Kansas City @ Minnesota United FC 2-1
  • Minnesota United FC @ Sporting Kansas City 2-1
  • Sporting Kansas City @ Minnesota United FC 1-2
  • Minnesota United FC @ Sporting Kansas City 0-1
  • Minnesota United FC @ Sporting Kansas City 0-2
  • Minnesota United FC @ Sporting Kansas City 1-4
  • Sporting Kansas City @ Minnesota United FC 1-1
  • Sporting Kansas City @ Minnesota United FC 1-1
TeamWL DPTSHOMEAWAYGFGA ConferenceDivisionL10
Philadelphia Union 144547 10-1-04-4-44420 Eastern ConferenceTeams0-0-0
Toronto FC 135544 7-3-26-2-33326 Eastern ConferenceTeams0-0-0
Columbus Crew SC 126541 10-0-12-5-53621 Eastern ConferenceTeams0-0-0
Sporting Kansas City 126339 6-1-46-2-23825 Western ConferenceTeams0-0-0
New York City FC 128339 7-0-45-3-43725 Eastern ConferenceTeams0-0-0
Orlando City SC 114841 7-3-14-5-34025 Eastern ConferenceTeams0-0-0
Seattle Sounders FC 115639 8-3-13-3-44423 Western ConferenceTeams0-0-0
Portland Timbers 116639 6-2-45-4-24635 Western ConferenceTeams0-0-0
Minnesota United FC 95734 5-3-14-4-43626 Western ConferenceTeams0-0-0
FC Dallas 96734 7-4-12-3-52824 Western ConferenceTeams0-0-0
Los Angeles FC 98532 8-4-21-1-64739 Western ConferenceTeams0-0-0
New York Red Bulls 99532 5-1-44-4-52931 Eastern ConferenceTeams0-0-0
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 914027 6-0-53-0-92744 Western ConferenceTeams0-0-0
Nashville SC 87832 4-5-24-3-52422 Western ConferenceTeams0-0-0
New England Revolution 87832 2-5-36-3-42625 Eastern ConferenceTeams0-0-0
San Jose Earthquakes 89630 4-5-24-1-73551 Western ConferenceTeams0-0-0
Colorado Rapids 86428 3-3-15-1-53228 Western ConferenceTeams0-0-0
Montreal Impact 813226 4-1-84-1-53343 Eastern ConferenceTeams0-0-0
Inter Miami CF 713324 5-2-32-1-102535 Eastern ConferenceTeams0-0-0
LA Galaxy 612422 4-2-62-2-62746 Western ConferenceTeams0-0-0
Atlanta United FC 613422 4-2-72-2-62330 Eastern ConferenceTeams0-0-0
Chicago Fire 510823 5-3-40-5-63339 Eastern ConferenceTeams0-0-0
Real Salt Lake 510722 4-4-51-3-52535 Western ConferenceTeams0-0-0
D.C. United 512621 2-4-63-2-62541 Eastern ConferenceTeams0-0-0
Houston Dynamo 410921 3-4-31-5-73040 Western ConferenceTeams0-0-0
FC Cincinnati 415416 2-4-52-0-101236 Eastern ConferenceTeams0-0-0

Last Injuries