7:30 p.m. at Sporting Kansas City • Ch. 9, 1500 AM
Hot teams meet on cold pitch
About Sporting Kansas City: A year after missing the playoffs for the first time since 2010, Sporting Kansas City won its last four regular-season games — and was unbeaten in its last five — to clinch the Western Conference’s top seed in the playoffs. After it allowed a tying stoppage-time goal, SKC beat San Jose in its first-round playoff game on penalty kicks. Goalkeeper Tim Melia stopped all three shots he faced, giving his team the first 3-0 penalty-shootout result in MLS history.
About Minnesota United: The Loons are on a nine-game unbeaten streak, dating to a Sept. 23 loss at Columbus Crew. They are 5-0-4 in that time and went 3-4-2 on the road in the regular season … The winner Thursday has three full days to rest and prepare for a Western Conference final on Monday against Seattle. The Sounders beat FC Dallas 1-0 on Tuesday in the other West semifinal. The Loons will play at Seattle on Monday if they win. Top-seeded SKC will play Seattle at home if it wins.
Injuries: Loons D Ike Opara (undisclosed), Luis Amarilla (ankle surgery) and Tyler Miller (hip surgery) are out for the season. MF Sam Gleadle is listed as out as well. Sporting KC lists D Matt Besler, Graham Zusi and MF Felipe Gutierrez as not medically cleared to play.