Sat, 18 Sep 2021

Newcomer Jose Mauri, Sporting KC await Minnesota United

Field Level Media
15 Sep 2021, 09:40 GMT+10

Minnesota United and Sporting Kansas City played to a scoreless tie just 3 1/2 weeks ago.

Goals figure to be hard to come by again when the teams reunite Wednesday night at Kansas City, Kan.

Minnesota's Tyler Miller recorded five saves in the Aug. 21 match for one of his seven shutouts of the season, while Sporting KC counterpart Tim Melia had seven saves for one of his six clean sheets.

The 35-year-old Melia also had a shutout on Saturday when Sporting KC (12-5-7, 43 points) posted a 2-0 home win over the Chicago Fire to remain two points behind the first-place Seattle Sounders in the Western Conference.

Newcomer Jose Mauri scored in the fourth minute and Kansas City forward Johnny Russell tallied two minutes later as the club halted a four-game winless stretch (0-1-3).

Mauri's goal came in his second game with Sporting after the midfielder had stints in Italy (six-plus seasons) and Argentina (two).

Melia is one of the many Sporting KC players who are impressed with the 25-year-old.

"I'm excited about him," Melia said. "The things he does for our team -- the way he wants to possess the ball, he's got a very good right foot, he's got a very good left foot. All those things are positive things and he's only going to get better."

Minnesota United figures to keep close watch on Mauri as they attempt to break out of a five-game slumber (1-2-2).

Minnesota (8-7-7, 31 points) has been blanked three times during the stretch, including Saturday's 1-0 road loss against the Seattle Sounders.

"The hardest thing is to score, right?" midfielder Wil Tripp told reporters. "... Ultimately, it's about the target. Hitting the target, hit the target, hit the frame and make the goalkeeper make the save. We've seen when we do that, we tend to pick up pieces and score goals. It's really one of those fine details."

The Loons are in sixth place in the tightly bunched West -- and only seven teams make the playoffs.

Midfielder Robin Lod (team-best six goals) is listed as questionable with a calf injury. He missed the past five games. Midfielder Emanuel Reynoso (hamstring) is slated to return after a two-game absence.

Sporting KC lists forward Alan Pulido (knee) as questionable. He banged the knee during the Chicago match.

--Field Level Media

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