Preview: After defeating Saint Louis FC two weeks ago in its first match of the U.S. Open Cup, Minnesota kicks off at home against Major League Soccer team Sporting Kansas City. Defending Open Cup champion Sporting defeated Minnesota in the 2014 tournament. With the club on the cusp of joining MLS, the Loons are aiming to prove themselves. And after a disappointing spring season for United, Wednesday’s match is an important one as the team readies for the 20-match fall season.
Players to watch: Christian Ramirez, United FC’s all-time leading scorer, notched his fifth goal of the season last week. His header goal started with a curling pass from Ben Speas, who has become an integral part of the offense since joining the club this season. Defender Kevin Venegas, the club’s all-time leader in assists, has posted five assists in 10 spring-season matches. Sporting Kansas City’s Benny Feilhaber, with 14 goals and 20 assists in 2015, was in the conversation for Major League Soccer’s MVP.
Numbers: Kansas City has won the U.S. Open Cup three times including last year. A club official estimated 75 supporters will make the trip to see the game in Blaine.
Out of action: Kansas City’s Matt Besler and Graham Zusi are playing with the U.S. national team in Copa America.
David La Vaque