Peter Vermes has praised his Sporting Kansas City side for bringing a halt to their winless streak ahead of Wednesday’s home match against Minnesota United FC.
A couple of goals in the opening six minutes helped Sporting to a 2-0 win over Chicago Fire FC last weekend – their first three-point haul in five matches.
That win came directly on the back of a 4-0 loss to Los Angeles FC and moves Vermes’ men back to within two points of Western Conference leaders Seattle Sounders FC, who have a game in hand.
Playoff contenders Minnesota are next up for Sporting at Children’s Mercy Park and Vermes is glad that his side’s campaign is back on track.
“What it really comes down to is mentality,” he said of the win against the Fire. “It’s a great commitment within the group to be able to come back from something like the LA loss.
“There’s a lot of times in this league if you watch teams, they’ll be doing really well. Game after game, they’re doing well. And then all of a sudden, they lose multiple games.
“The guys have done a really good job of turning that back around again for the next game. From that point of view, it’s been really good.”
Minnesota are playing their third road game in a row, the most recent of those ending in a 1-0 loss to the Sounders.
The Loons have four more matches to play before the end of a grueling month and head coach Adrian Heath is targeting at least a point from the clash with Sporting.
“We lost to Seattle but we still have six more points to play for this week,” Heath said. “I’d probably have settled for four before the week started, four or five points.
“We’ve still got an opportunity to achieve that. We’ll see. Going away to Seattle, going away to Kansas and then having Galaxy at home is not ideal at times.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Sporting Kansas City – Tim Melia
Melia made three saves in the win over Chicago Fire to make it six clean sheets for the campaign in 19 appearances.
The 35-year-old has posted five shutouts in 10 previous regular-season encounters with Minnesota, meanwhile, and has a 0.61 goals against average in this fixture.
Minnesota United – Hassani Dotson
The Loons could not find a way past the Sounders in their last match, but that was not for want of trying, particularly in the case of attacking midfielder Dotson.
He attempted six shots in the 1-0 loss, which is his most ever in a game. Dotson has now attempted at least three shots six times in 2021, having done so just twice in his previous 45 MLS games.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Sporting and Minnesota played out a scoreless draw in St. Paul on August 21 in the first meeting between the sides this season. Minnesota lost their first five visits to Kansas City in MLS, being outscored 11-1, before winning 3-0 in last season’s playoffs.
– Sporting scored two goals in the first six minutes of their win over the Fire on Saturday, the fastest from kick-off a team has scored two goals this MLS season and the first time Sporting have scored twice in the first 10 minutes of a match since doing so in eight minutes against the Fire in July 2013.
– Since knocking Sporting Kansas City out of last season’s playoffs with a win at Children’s Mercy Park, Minnesota United have won just two of their 12 away matches (D5 L5, including playoffs), winning in Portland and Houston.
– Sporting have scored in 27 consecutive home regular season matches dating back to August 2019, the longest active streak in MLS. The only time in that span that Sporting failed to find the net at home was a 3-0 loss to Minnesota in last season’s playoffs.