clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Preview: Minnesota United at Sporting Kansas City, Playoffs Style

New, 3 comments
August 21, 2020 - Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States - Minnesota United defender Michael Boxall (15) kicks the ball away from Sporting KC forward Alan Pulido (9) during the match at Allianz Field.
August 21, 2020 - Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States - Minnesota United defender Michael Boxall (15) kicks the ball away from Sporting KC forward Alan Pulido (9) during the match at Allianz Field.
(Photo by Seth Steffenhagen/Steffenhagen Photography)

Tonight Minnesota United faces off with Sporting Kansas City for the fourth time during the 2020 season. Over the three previous matches the teams have played this year the Loons have won one and lost two of them. Those three matches have seen SKC score a total of four goals compared to MNUFC’s three goals.

Run of Form:

The run of form coming into tonight’s match is fantastic for the visiting Minnesota squad. The Loons are 4-0-1 in their last five matches with their one draw coming against Chicago Fire on November 2nd. Minnesota United has scored a whopping 11 goals in that time frame while giving up only three goals. Dwayne St. Clair has also garnered three clean sheets in that span, including shutouts in both of the last two matches.

Sporting KC on the other hand comes in with a very similar record in their last five matches. In regulation SKC is 3-0-2 in their last five, as they drew San Jose 3-3 in regulation before beating them 3-0 on PK’s in the first round of the playoffs. Sporting has scored 12 goals over that period of time and has given up 5 goals. Similar to MNUFC, the team formerly known as the Wizards have also scored three clean sheets in their last five. That includes both of their final two regular season matches.

Manager Thoughts:

One of the biggest issues Minnesota faces tonight is the factor of “The Blue Hell” of Children’s Mercy Park.

“If I’m being perfectly honest, I’ve said this before, we haven’t played well” said Heath in the pre match press conference. “It is an intimidating atmosphere but that’s because of the opposition.”

Other Notes:

As announced a few days ago this match was moved from it’s initial scheduled date and time to tonight at 7:30 PM. It was also moved from FS1 to national television on FOX along with the date change. This had repercussions with moving the Western Conference final by one day so that the winner tonight has 3 days of rest between matches.

That being said the other Western Conference finalist has already been decided as well. Two nights ago on December 1st the Seattle Saunders defeated FC Dallas to send themselves to the Western Conference finals. Where that match will be played hinges on who wins the SKC/MIN match tonight. If Sporting wins they will host the Western Conference final in Kansas City, KS as they are the number one seed in the West. However if Minnesota wins the Loons will travel to Seattle as the Saunders are the number two team in the West. Either way the match will be played December 7th.

As noted earlier the Western Conference final was moved from the 6th to the 7th due to the MIN/SKC match being played today rather than yesterday. However the Eastern Conference final will still be played on the 6th of December. The number three seed Columbus Crew will host the number eight seeded New England Revolution in that match. The Revs have actually made the Eastern finals after starting all the way back in the Play-In Round of the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Injury Report:

Minnesota United FC

  • Questionable: None
  • Out: Tyler Miller, Luis Amarilla, Ike Opara, and Sam Gleadle

Sporting Kansas City

  • Questionable: None
  • Out: Felipe Gutierrez, Graham Zusi, and Matt Besler