With Sporting Kansas City facing three games in eight days one of the biggest questions was would manager Peter Vermes rest players. After starting several matches with the same lineup, Vermes switched up the right side of defense with Kevin Ellis replacing Ike Opara and Igor Juliao in for Graham Zusi. Soony Saad started in pace of Jimmy Medranda at left wing as well.
Sporting KC dominated possession but as often happens, it is not the team that dominates possession but the team that makes the most of their chances. Minnesota was able to take advantage of Sporting KC’s right side changes and drive the ball deep before crossing twice for goals.
The first came in the 22nd minute when Miguel Ibarra’s cross found Abu Danladi running down the center of the box unmarked. Danladi easily one-timed it past Tim Melia for the first goal scored on Sporting KC in the first half in 2017.
The second goal in the 39th was created when again Ibarra had room on Sporting KC’s right side. Ibarra sliced a cross between Melia and Matt Besler and over a sliding Ellis to Christian Ramirez for the close range header.
Coming out of the half Vermes brought Zusi in to replace Juliao which settled down the attacks on that side and helped the offense a little. Medranda came on for Saad at the 60’ minute mark to try and spark the offense to a comeback but the Minnesota defense stayed compact and gave the visitors few chances at goal that were not long range hopefuls.
Daniel Salloi was the third sub replacing Gerso late.
Dwyer picked up a yellow for an unsporting behavior on a restart in the 72nd and will now miss the next match in Orlando next Saturday for accumulation.
Vermes did not go into specifics on the goals when asked but replied, “The other team played with much more intensity than we did which ruled the day.”
“Outside of those few opportunities we did not give too much away,” Vermes continued. “In he second half we did not give anything away. We were playing in their half of the field, a lot in their defensive third.”
Vermes was not finished, “We weren’t good enough, we weren’t intense enough today in the game. We never really put them under pressure, as much as they were dealing with balls in and around the box they never had to deal with us penetrating or anything. We weren’t aggressive nor were we intense enough for the game. They were and deserve the three points.”