Sporting Kansas City started very close to Peter Vermes’ first choice team against a more hodgepodge team for Minnesota United. With the exception of Jimmy Medranda sliding into the attacking mid spot of Benny Feilhaber and Daniel Salloi backfilling at left wing, the starters were the normal Vermes lineup.
With what appeared to be a very defensive lineup and a history of packing it in as Sporting Park recently, Minnesota United caught Sporting KC off guard with a high press. While the high press kept Sporting KC off-balance initially, they slowly started to exert control through the first half with a big payoff at the end.
A Jimmy Medranda shot was blocked out of bounds by Loon keeper Patrick McLain earning the home side a corner. With Benny Feilhaber on the bench, a fresh from U.S. duty Graham Zusi took the corner. Ike Opara met the ball and headed it in for his second goal of the season in the 43rd minute.
Minnesota did not have much time to recover as Sporting KC looked to press the advantage. International homegrown player Daniel Salloi found himself with an opening and narrowly missed scoring as the ball ricocheted off the inside of the post.
The rebound went to Gerso who was waiting all alone in the box. Sporting KC’s leading scorer calmly waited for the keeper to commit and placed it home for his seventh goal in all competitions.
A scary moment in the 56th minute as Roger Espinoza and Joseph Greenspan collide in air on a challenge with both players going down hard. Espinoza was able to get up after a minute but all the attention turned to Greenspan. With what looked like all available trainers and doctors from both teams on the field, he was carefully loaded on a gurney and wheeled off after ten minutes. He did appear to give a thumbs up on the way out so hopefully that is a good sign.
Sporting Kansas City did not rest though.
In the 72nd minute Gerso sprung Dom Dwyer through the defense and in on goal where he slotted it past the keeper to make it 3-0. For Gerso it is his first assist for Sporting Kansas City.
Benny Felhaber came on for Medranda and earned a kick from a few yards outside the box. Dwyer took the kick and nearly scored a second.
Latif Blessing came on for Gerso in the 78th and was part of the next goal. Several Sporting KC players connected the passes that resulted in Daniel Salloi having another go at the net and the Sporting KC Academy graduate did not waste the chance. Espinoza slipped a ball through to Salloi who calmly turned and hit the corner for his first goal in a Sporting KC uniform.