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Coming off wins, Minnesota, SKC renew ‘Nicest Rivalry in Sports’

Sportsnaut
Jul 9, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza (15) plays the ball and CF Montreal midfielder Samuel Piette (6) defends during the first half at Stade Saputo. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota United will take their longest winning streak in three years into Wednesday night’s home game against Sporting Kansas City in Saint Paul, Minn.

The Loons (8-8-3, 27 points) rallied from a 1-0 deficit at Vancouver on Friday to score three times in the final 20 minutes en route to a 3-1 victory. It marked the third consecutive match that Adrian Heath’s squad scored three goals while also extending the team’s win streak to three — its longest since July 2019.

Kemar Lawrence, Luis Amarilla and Franco Fragapane each scored goals in the victory over the Whitecaps, which moved Minnesota United into sixth place in the Western Conference.

“It was a big win for us, especially going behind and then coming back, showing a lot of resilience, a lot of character,” Heath said.

The Loons were 0-5-2 in games they conceded the first goal before the comeback in Vancouver.

Next up is a game against rival Sporting KC (5-11-4, 19 points), who are 13th in the West after finishing third last season. The series has been nicknamed the “Nicest Rivalry in Sports.”

SKC, playing the second of a three-game road trip that concludes at Real Salt Lake on Sunday, also come in off a nice comeback win of their own, 2-1 at CF Montreal last Saturday.

Remi Walter scored the winner in the 63rd minute on a blast from the top of the box after midfielder Roger Espinoza tied it with a highlight-reel goal in the 29th minute.

Espinoza, who will miss Wednesday’s match because of yellow card accumulation, stole the ball near midfield and then chipped in a curling left-footed shot over the outstretched hand of goaltender Sebastian Breza, who had strayed out into the middle of the penalty box, and inside the right post.

Espinoza’s goal, just his 12th in 13 seasons with Sporting Kansas City, was measured at 44.1 yards, the longest by a SKC player since 2011.

“The team really played well, but I think Roger brought a different level of intensity into the group,” SKC coach Peter Vermes said.

“(Montreal) wasn’t our best game but we won the game and that’s it,” Walter said. “We want to continue and go on a run in the second half of the season and make it to the playoffs.”

–Field Level Media