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 Sporting Kansas City

Sporting KC Suffers 3-1 Road Loss to Minnesota United

June 1, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Sporting Kansas City News Release


Sporting Kansas City (2-9-5, 11 pts.) fell to a 3-1 defeat against Minnesota United (8-3-4, 28 pts.) at Allianz Field on Saturday night. Captain Johnny Russell scored a late consolation with his second goal of the season that moved him into second all-time with 58 regular-season goals for the club.

Manager Peter Vermes made three changes to the team that fell to Vancouver in midweek, as veteran goalkeeper Tim Melia returned between the sticks, midfielder Memo Rodriguez returned from a one-game suspension due to yellow card accumulation, and Marinos Tzinios earned the start after scoring his third goal of the season on Wednesday.

Saturday's match marked Sporting's fifth outing in the last 15 days, with right back Jake Davis and holding midfielder Nemanja Radoja the only two players to start all five games.

Sporting started the game brightly with Alenis Vargas almost picking out Willy Agada in the area during the early going and minutes later Agada saw a shot blocked and Nemanja Radoja lashed the follow-up wide with the first two attempts of the match.

The hosts created their first opening in the 22nd minute, when in-form Korean forward Sang Bin Jeong met a cross from the left wing but his header resulted in a routine save for Melia.

The Loons took the lead with the first real clear-cut chance of the match in the 33rd minute. After turning over Sporting in their own half, Minnesota stormed forward at pace with DJ Taylor slipping Bongokuhle Hlongwane down the right wing and he sent a tantalizing cross to the far post to find Tanitoluwa Oluwaseyi who crashed home his seventh goal of the season.

With captain Russell entering the match at halftime, Sporting began growing back into the game in the early stages of the second half and enjoyed some half chances through Vargas and Agada.

However, it was the Loons that almost doubled their lead in the 61st minute when Joseph Rosales slipped Oluwaseyi through on goal and his strike beat Melia but was unable to find a way beyond Davis who deflected the ball wide on the goal line.

The hosts would find the second goal they were searching for in the 67th minute, as Oluwaseyi latched onto Devin Padelford's long throw, spun in behind and cut the ball back to star midfielder Robin Lod who fired beyond Melia via a deflection to make the score 2-0.

The third goal arrived in the 83rd minute when a cross into the box wasn't dealt with by the Sporting backline, leaving Kervin Arriaga alone on the right side of the area to strike a low effort beyond Melia and into the back of the net.

Sporting found a lifeline in the 86th minute when Russell drove beyond several Minnesota defenders before unleashing a venomous strike from 25 yards that flew into the back of the net, cutting the deficit to 3-1. Despite a few half chances late on, the game would end 3-1, condemning Sporting to their first defeat by multiple goals all season.

Sporting KC returns home next weekend with a matchup against longtime rivals Seattle Sounders FC at Children's Mercy Park on Saturday night. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CT on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV as well as Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish) on the radio. Tickets are available via SeatGeek.com.

QUOTES

Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes

On Sporting's performance in the 3-1 loss...

I think the guys who started the game actually did really well, to be honest with you. We allow goals on situations where we lose a very easy ball. We don't challenge in the box on the first goal. Other than that, I think the guys gave a great effort. If you look at the guys who came on (in the second half), they had that pursuit in trying to get a goal to get back in the game. I'm not sure what happened on the play with Willy (Agada). I didn't see the situation when he got into the box. But we were much more direct, much more lively, and we were putting them under pressure. That's the kind of effort we need to have for the full 90-that relentlessness going to the goal. But we've still got to cut out the silly goals we've given up.

On Sporting's effort in the match...

I thought the first group that started was going after it. They were trying, for sure. I thought they were dangerous, and again, we're playing against an opponent that defends and tries to go at you and win balls from you. I go back to this: the guys that came off the bench all tried to give everything they had. There was no doubt that the effort was very good. I don't know if we got that effort in the last game. But in this game, we for sure got that effort.

On Sporting playing balls in behind the Minnesota defense...

Minnesota plays a very high line, and when you play a high line, obviously there is space in behind. When teams play a high line, they are trying to be compact and win balls in front of them. So you have to get in behind and stretch them the way we did. Alenis (Vargas) did quite a few times. Willy (Agada) did a few times. Marinos (Tzionis) did so more with the ball and his running in behind. It was a strategy in the game and I think we found a lot of success with it. We found a lot of dangerous moments, which was good.

On subbing out defenders Dany Rosero and Jake Davis in the second half...

For Dany, it was the same as (Nemanja) Radoja. Both of those guys were feeling some fatigue in their muscles, and we didn't want to risk those guys getting long-term injuries. That was the reason for bringing those guys out. Regarding Jake, I think he was tired.

Sporting Kansas City Midfielder Felipe Hernandez

On Sporting's performance in the 3-1 loss...

I think we came out with the right mentality. Obviously we can't keep conceding in the first half because it's always difficult to come back and pull yourself back into the game.

On Sporting's difficult run of results...

We're trying to do everything we can, but right now it's just not working. We're going to keep trying to do the right things and try to turn this around. Right now, it's just not working.

On concluding a stretch of five matches in 15 days...

This stretch of games is difficult on the body. It'll be good to get out of training for a little bit and away from the game for a little bit. Then we'll come back and do what we can to turn it around.

On seeing his playing time increase over the last two weeks...

Every time I get an opportunity to play, I give it my all, even when we're struggling like we are now.


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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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