Sporting Kansas City-United FC Preview
Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath called for his side to regroup and improve ahead of a decisive clash at home against Sporting Kansas City.
Minnesota remain in the chasing pack for the Western Conference playoff spots, most recently faltering against Vancouver Whitecaps in a 2-1 loss.
With two games remaining, it is virtually all or nothing for the Loons - who sit level on 45 points with seventh-place Real Salt Lake - and Heath appreciates the importance of Sunday's clash.
"We got back a bit late yesterday and it's all about preparing as well as we can," Heath said.
"I said a few weeks ago I thought it would come down to the last game and nothing that happened on Wednesday has changed that.
"We know we have a huge game coming up on Sunday and we've got to take something from it.
"We have proved that we are more than a match for them at home, big game lot at stake and we know it's going to be a challenge, but we are up for it."
The visitors sit comfortably top of the Western Conference standings, with a win in their next clash guaranteeing a spot in the top two during the regular season.
Kansas overcame LA Galaxy 2-0, courtesy of Johnny Russell's brace and the Scottish star is enjoying his recent form.
"Honestly, I don't know. I don't feel anything's changed," said Russell.
"I feel free, feel confident, and I'm getting in good positions, guys are finding me with the ball.
"Everything I'm hitting right now seems to be on target and going in. So I know it's not going to last forever.
"But it's my job to continue to get myself in those positions, whether it's to score goals or create goals for my team."
Minnesota United - Emanuel Reynoso
Emanuel Reynoso has four goals and 10 assists through 27 games (26 starts) this year, and MLS-wide he has the most touches (756) in the final third. His 86 key passes are second in the league and only trail New England's Carles Gil.
Sporting Kansas City - Johnny Russell
Johnny Russell has scored in eight straight matches and 10 times total across that span, including a brace in his last outing against LA Galaxy.
- The last five meetings between Minnesota United and Sporting Kansas City in Minnesota have seen each team win once (D3), with none of the matches being decided by more than one goal.
- Minnesota has stayed in the playoff race on its home form, winning nine of its last 14 games at Allianz Field (D3 L2). Since opening the stadium in 2019, Minnesota has averaged 2.00 points per match in home regular season games, fifth best in MLS in that time.
- Sporting Kansas City has won eight away matches, equaling the most for the club in the post-shootout era (9 in 1997, but with 3 breakaway shootout wins). Sporting's 26 away points this season (W8 D2 L5) are third in MLS behind New England (34) and Seattle (30).
- Franco Fragapane and Emanuel Reynoso have each been involved in six goals in Minnesota United's last five home games. In that time (since September 18), only Vancouver's Brian White (7) has been involved in more goals at home in MLS.
- Johnny Russell has scored in a club record eight straight games, the fifth-longest streak in MLS history. Only three teams (New England - 10, Orlando - 9, Philadelphia - 9) currently have longer active streaks of games with a goal than Russell alone.
Updated October 30, 2021