Rivalry Week

Recap: Minnesota United FC 0, Sporting Kansas City 0

Minnesota United FC and 10-man Sporting Kansas City battled to a tense but entertaining 0-0 draw in a Heineken Rivalry Week matchup at Allianz Field Saturday afternoon.

The match’s big talking point came in the 21st minute when Remi Walter was sent off for a late challenge on Emanuel Reynoso. The Loons’ playmaker was the first to a loose ball following a Sporting attacking corner kick and Walter left his foot in, leading referee Marcus de Oliveira to flash a straight red card, a decision upheld following Video Review.

The “Nicest Rivalry in Sports” wasn’t so nice in a feisty first half that saw Walter and Johnny Russell both hammer Reynoso, Alan Pulido hauled down by Bakaye Dibassy and Khiry Shelton and Michael Boxall exchange shoves in one altercation.

The Loons came out of the break the aggressors and were unlucky not to take the lead three minutes in when Reynoso beat Tim Melia, but hammered a low shot off the near post.

Four minutes later, Melia did well to come off his line and challenge Adrien Hunou, who was played in by Reynoso.

Fresh off the substitute’s bench, Daniel Salloi nearly set up the first goal, serving to an open Shelton who fired wide before colliding with Minnesota goalkeeper Tyler Miller.

A few minutes later, Melia made a double save, stopping Hassani Dotson and then Hunou's rebound. And in the 78th minute, Melia came up big again to deny a breaking Juan Agudelo, who almost capitalized on an SKC defensive miscue.

Boxall nearly earned hero status when the ball fell to his feet in the waning moments off an attacking corner kick, but the center back's shot was off the mark.

There were more handbags in the 90th minute with Roger Espinoza booked ahead of a Reynoso free kick that deflected off Sporting’s angled wall. Deep into second-half stoppage time, the Loons took one more bite of the apple, but Luis Martins' sliding tackle denied Agudelo of the last chance, leading to a smattering of boos from the home crowd at the final whistle.


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Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: Apparently all it took was last year's playoff matchup to erase the smile from the "Nicest Rivalry in Sports.” Saturday's game was a physical affair from the start, with both coaches complaining about it afterward. It’s a point won by SKC on the road after being down a man for 70-plus minutes, while the Loons couldn't capitalize on the advantage for a second straight match to only secure a draw.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: It’s all about the debatable red card. Judge for yourself if Walter deserved to be sent off.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Melia is considered among the best shot-stoppers in MLS and he showed why during this contentious draw. The 35-year-old made seven saves, a few of the spectacular variety, including this close-range denial of Ethan Finlay, to earn the clean sheet.

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