Sporting Kansas City fell to second place in the Western Conference with a 2-0 defeat to Minnesota United FC on Sunday at TFC Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Miguel Ibarra assisted first-half goals to Abu Danlade and Christian Ramirez as the Loons (3-5-2, 11 points) claimed victory in the inaugural MLS meeting between the regional foes. Sporting Kansas City (5-2-3, 18 points) had a two-game winning streak snapped and conceded multiple goals in an MLS match for the first time since Oct. 1, 2016.
With his team playing its third game in nine days, Manager Peter Vermes made three changes to Sporting Kansas City’s starting lineup. Defenders Kevin Ellis and Igor Juliao earned their 2017 debuts — filling in for the rested Graham Zusi and Ike Opara — while Soony Saad replaced Jimmy Medranda on the left side of the three-man attack.
Both sides exchanged speculative efforts within the first three minutes. Ramirez ran onto Molino’s diagonal ball and struck a thunderous volley from the right side of the box that sailed narrowly wide into the side netting. On the opposite end, Dom Dwyer marauded into the final third and muscled off multiple challenges before seeing his left-footed attempt smothered by Bobby Shuttleworth. The Minnesota goalkeeper would finish the afternoon with a club-record seven saves.
The hosts drew first blood in the 22nd minute with a sweeping move down the left side of the field. Ibson sprung Miguel Ibarra free down the flank with a long ball over the top, allowing the midfielder to swing in a cross from the endline. Danladi was on hand to slot low into the left corner from 10 yards, recording his first career MLS goal in his first league start since joining Minnesota as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. It would be Sporting Kansas City’s first goal conceded before the 75th minute in 12 MLS matches dating back to last October.
The Loons doubled their advantage on 39 minutes, finding further penetration down the left wing. Molino exploited space and picked out an open Ibarra, whose far-post delivery was headed home by Ramirez for his team-leading sixth goal of the campaign.
Sporting Kansas City responded positively and almost halved the deficit in the final minutes of the first half. Juliao’s right-footed rocket was palmed wide by Shuttleworth, then Gerso received a clever pass from Dwyer and rounded the goalkeeper but was unable to pull the trigger before the ball rolled out of play.
Zusi, Medranda and Daniel Salloi entered the fray during a second half largely controlled by the visitors. Seth Sinovic forced Shuttleworth into action with a swerving, long-range effort in the 55th minute following a patient spell of possession on the periphery of Minnesota’s box. After Danlade had a goal disallowed for offside, Shuttleworth thwarted Dwyer and Medranda just past the hour mark.
Referee Alan Kelly notably showed Dom Dwyer a yellow card in the 72nd minute for a physical tackle on Sam Cronin, ruling Dwyer out of next Saturday’s road test at Orlando City SC due to caution accumulation.
Vermes’ men continued to rue their luck in the 80th minute when the Loons survived a major scare. Medranda’s curling cross was cushioned across the face of goal by Dwyer, where Salloi’s strike was blocked amidst heavy traffic. The ball fell to Espinoza at the top of the box, but his blistering attempt also caromed off a mass of bodies in the penalty area. Three minutes later, Espinoza found Zusi in a pocket of space on the right side of the box, but the U.S. international’s blast was straight at Shuttleworth.
One last chance fell to the foot of Dwyer deep in second-half stoppage time, as the striker’s one-time volley off Melia’s booming ball downfield was hammered over the crossbar.
Sporting Kansas City will look to bounce back Saturday when they visit the the brand-new Orlando City Stadium, where the Lions are a perfect 5-0-0 this season. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CT on FOX Sports Kansas City Plus.
2017 MLS Regular Season
Game 10 of 34
TCF Bank Stadium | Minneapolis, Minnesota
Weather: 60 degrees and partly cloudy
|Sporting Kansas City (5-2-3, 18 points)||0||0||0|
|Minnesota United FC (3-5-2, 8 points)||2||0||2|
Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia; Igor Juliao (Graham Zusi HT), Kevin Ellis, Matt Besler (C), Seth Sinovic; Roger Espinoza, Ilie, Benny Feilhaber; Gerso (Daniel Salloi 77), Dom Dwyer, Soony Saad (Jimmy Medranda 60)
Subs Not Used: Adrian Zendejas, Ike Opara, Soni Mustivar, Latif Blessing
Minnesota United FC: Bobby Shuttleworth; Jerome Thiesson (Jermaine Taylor 75), Brent Kallman, Francisco Calvo (C), Marc Burch; Ibson, Sam Cronin, Miguel Ibarra, Abu Danladi (Collen Warner 72), Kevin Molino; Christian Ramirez (Johan Venegas 84)
Subs Not Used: John Alvbage, Justin Davis, Bashkim Kadrii, Ismaila Jome
|Shots on Goal||7||4|
SKC -- Igor Juliao (caution; unsporting behavior) 17
MIN -- Christian Ramirez (caution; unsporting behavior) 51
MIN -- Francisco Calvo (caution; unsporting behavior) 72
SKC -- Dom Dwyer (caution; unsporting behavior) 72
MIN -- Abu Danladi 1 (Miguel Ibarra 1, Ibson 2) 22
MIN -- Christian Ramirez 6 (Miguel Ibarra 2, Abu Danladi 1) 39
Referee: Alan Kelly
Assistant Referee: Apolinar Mariscal
Assistant Referee: Kermit Quisenberry
Fourth Official: Hilario Grajeda