Sporting KC @ Minnesota United
When: Sunday, October 31, 2021 at 12:00 PM CT (Kickoff 12:08)
Where: Allianz Field
How to Watch/Stream: ESPN | ESPN Deportes | ESPN App (Not ESPN+, it’s a national broadcast)
How to Listen: ESPN 94.5 FM | La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish)
Sporting Kansas City enter Sunday’s match having come off quite the week. They find themselves as winners of two straight, against playoff level competition, and back in first place in the MLS Western Conference. The Seattle Sounders relinquished first place with a 3-0 loss to LAFC midweek that Sporting capitalized on with their win over the LA Galaxy. They are now level on points with Seattle (but ahead on the goal differential tiebreaker, which is second behind wins, where they are also level) and three points clear of the Colorado Rapids and they have a game in hand on each.
That also means, they have a congested schedule down the stretch with three games in eight days to wrap up the season (not to mention this is a stretch of five games in 15 days in total). Maybe the congestion suits SKC. Peter Vermes has mentioned several times he has a ‘secret plan’ around subs (which includes not using them) but despite the team appearing tired at times, they’ve pushed through and won the tough games.
On Sunday, they head to
Southern Canada Minnesota to take on a team that is clawing and scratching for their playoff lives. They currently sit in 8th, tied with 7th place Real Salt Lake (who SKC face on Decision Day) and just one point ahead of 9th place LAFC. RSL have a game in hand on Minnesota so they will be desperate for points against Kansas City with just two games to go for the Loons.
This matchup is starting to add more intrigue having taken a step away from being ‘nice’ when these teams met in the summer. You’ll remember that game as the one where Remi Walter picked up his first career red card and where striker Alan Pulido picked up an injury from a violent Bikaye Dibassy horse-collar tackle (that only got a yellow). Needless to say, everyone will be on high alert for this one.
The most recent meetings between these teams wasn’t nearly as close as Sporting KC thrashed Minnesota 4-0 at Children’s Mercy Park.
Minnesota’s Recent Form
The reason Minnesota find themselves on the wrong side of the red line is that they’ve won just two of their last seven games.
- October 10th vs. Colorado Rapids - 1-3 Loss
- October 16th @ Austin FC - 1-0 Win
- October 20th vs. Philadelphia Union - 3-2 Win
- October 23rd vs. LAFC - 1-1 Draw
- October 27th @ Vancouver Whitecaps - 1-2 Loss
Minnesota need every point they can get or they are at risk of missing the playoffs after some pundits thought they’d be MLS Cup contenders this year.
OUT - Felipe Hernandez (suspension), Jaylin Lindsey (hamstring), Alan Pulido (knee surgery)
QUESTIONABLE - Jose Mauri (ankle), Daniel Salloi (ankle)
Suspended Next Yellow - Roger Espinoza
*This will be updated based on the official injury report. Much of this information is from the mid-week injury report.
OUT - Justin McMaster (thigh)
QUESTIONABLE - None
GOALS: Daniel Salloi (16), Johnny Russell (14), Alan Pulido (8), Gadi Kinda (5),
Gianluca Busio, Jaylin Lindsey, Khiry Shelton, Cam Duke (2), Ilie Sanchez, Felipe Hernandez, Luis Martins, Jose Mauri, Remi Walter (1)
ASSISTS: Daniel Salloi (8), Johnny Russell (7), Khiry Shelton, Gadi Kinda (6), Graham Zusi (5),
Gianluca Busio, Alan Pulido, Luis Martins (3), Felipe Hernandez, Roger Espinoza (2), Andreu Fontas, Jaylin Lindsey, Remi Walter, Jose Mauri (1)
GOALS: Robin Lod (8), Adrein Hunou (6), Franco Fragapane, Emmanuel Reynosos (4), Ethan Finlay (3), Ramon Abila, Hassani Dotson, Brent Kallman (2), six with one (1)
ASSISTS: Reynoso (10), Fragapane (9), Lod (5), Dotson, Finlay (3), eight with one (1)
Starting XI Predictions
This will have it’s own story, as always.
This game feels like a trap. Sporting KC just beat Seattle and the LA Galaxy, both currently above the playoff line with essentially identical lineups (outside of the Tim Melia suspension, which is over). The problem is, the team probably needs to rotate as this is the third game in just over a week and the middle of five in 15. However, it’s hard to expect that to happen with the way Vermes has used his roster and how many key players are injured.
If Sporting KC can score first, I pretty much always like their chances. If they score twice, they are stunning 17-0-0 this year. But if Minnesota scores first, they can sit deep and Kansas City might not have the legs to make it happen. Since I have to choose, I’ll call it a trap game and a disappointment. But I’m hedging because all things being equal, SKC should find a way as they are clearly the better team.
2-1 Minnesota United Win
What do you think? Predictions in the comments are welcome. Let’s chat about it.
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