June 2, 2018 / 3:14 PM / 22 days ago

Minnesota United aim to crack tough defense at Sporting KC

Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath hopes his team can snag a second straight victory on Sunday when they visit Western Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City.

Heath would also prefer his team’s final performance before a 20-day break in the schedule not necessitate a rousing halftime talk.

While Minnesota (5-7-1) defeated the Montreal Impact 2-0 last Saturday evening, they built their lead in the second half after a first 45 minutes that caused Heath to give his team a piece of his mind after the break

In particular, Heath called the opening 25 minutes “as bad as we’ve played all season,” part of a half in which Minnesota was outshot 7-4 and failed to put an effort on target.

“It’s not good for my health, I don’t think,” Heath said of his halftime talk. “I’m not sure it was words of wisdom. There were a few words I couldn’t repeat.”

Christian Ramirez and Miguel Ibarra scored early in the second half to put Minnesota on the path to victory against struggling Montreal.

However, MNUFC probably won’t have the same margin for error against Sporting Kansas City (7-2-4), who remain atop the West despite drawing their last two matches.

Most recently, Sporting settled for a 0-0 draw at home in steamy conditions on Sunday against Columbus Crew SC, despite playing the second half up a man after Federico Higuain’s ejection.

Before that, Kansas City drew Minnesota 1-1 in Minneapolis, despite outshooting the hosts 24-6 and leading 10-4 in efforts on target.

Overall, however, Sporting are unbeaten in their last four (2-0-2), and have conceded only one goal in that stretch. And they may bring a renewed sense of urgency to their second game of the season against their West rivals.

“I know that guys are chomping at the bit to get back out there on the field on Sunday against Minnesota,” said Kansas City defender and captain Matt Besler. “We’re really looking forward to bouncing back and having a better performance.”

—Field Level Media

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