Sporting Kansas City vs Minnesota United summary: score, goals & highlights | MLS Decision Day
Sporting KC vs Minnesota: As it happened
Johnny Russell sends Sporting KC through to the playoffs
Club captain Johnny Russell's brace secured a return to the MLS Cup playoffs, highlighting his continued importance to the team. His second goal essentially confirmed their place in the post-season and was the result of some dogged play from Russell.
Sporting Kansas City will host San Jose Earthquakes in a Wild Card playoff clash! Brilliant news for a team who had been out of the playoff places ahead of kick-off today.
Sporting KC make the playoffs!
Confirmation that Sporting will be heading to the post-season after a 3-1 victory over Minnesota United. It was team captain Johnny Russell who orchestrated the win with a crucial brace for his side.
Peeeep peeeeep peeeeeeep
Full time in Kansas City and Sporting run out 3-1 winners, almost certainly booking their place in the MLS Cup playoffs.
It was a solid performance from Sporting KC who effectively won the game in two first half minutes.
The hard-working Alan Pulido is replaced by Felipe Gutierrez.
Sporting KC look very capable of closing this game out and booking their place in the playoffs.
There will be a minimum of four added minutes at Children's Mercy Park.
Emanuel Reynoso steps up to take the free kick but balloons it well over the crossbar.
Time is slipping away for Minnesota.
The Sporting defender is booked for a foul on the edge of the box, around 30 yards from goal. Minnesota United will almost certainly strike at goal from here.
Brilliant turn from Alan Pulido on the halfway line to get Sporting on the front foot again. He's pulled back by Will Trapp, who's already been booked, before playing the ball forward to Shelton.
Trapp was a little lucky to avoid a second yellow there.
GOOOOOAAAAL! Minnesota United
Michael Boxall finds the back of the net for Minnesota, nodding home a back post header to reduce the deficit. No more than a consolation though surely?
And that will be Johnny Russell's last action of the evening. The Sporting captain was an injury doubt ahead of kick-off but he has been the difference-maker for his side, scoring twice to seal the win.
He's replaced by Khiry Shelton.
GOOOOOAAAAAL! Sporting Kansas City
That should be that!
The Sporting KC captain Johnny Russell makes the game safe with his second goal of the night! The did well to block a clearance from Michael Boxall and poke the loose ball home from the edge of the six-yard box.
Into the final 15 minutes of normal time there needs to be a major shift from Minnesota if they are to make something happen. Regardless of other results elsewhere, Minnesota need a win to have any chance of making it to the playoffs.
What can they muster in the final stages?
Substitution for Sporting KC, Eric Thommy is withdrawn in place of Gadi Kinda.
The Sporting KC midfielder hobbles off the pitch to receive treatment. It looks like his team are readying a substitute.
Which teams are in the playoffs?
As it stands FC Dallas, Sporting Kansas City and San Jose Earthquakes are taking the final three playoff spots in the West.
There's just 20 minutes of the regular season remaining, Minnesota need to get a goal back very soon if they are to keep their dreams alive .
First chance for Bongokuhle Hlongwane to stretch his legs as Minnesota break on Sporting. He gets his team up the pitch but the hosts get number back and extinguish the danger.
Another booking for the increasingly-frustrated Minnesota United. The experienced defender goes into the book.
Big change for Minnesota as Bongokuhle Hlongwane comes off the bench, replacing Fragapane. The South African forward is a little unpredictable, but can be a difference-maker for Minnesota.
Close! Sporting KC
More good work from Russell, a similar effort to the left-footed curler that he scored with in the first half. This time it's just wide of the far post and Minnesota's playoff hopes survive.
Thommy takes the free kick and looks to catch St. Clair out from the tight angle. He gets it completely wrong and the ball flies harmlessly into the crowd.
Johnny Russell does well to skip past Dibassy on the right flank and win his side a free kick on the edge of the box. A chance for Sporting to deliver now, and more seconds eaten up.
Good work from Teemu Pukki on the right wing, beating his man and pulling the ball back toward Fragapane. Sporting have the players back to clear the ball, but that's a little more positive from Minnestoa.
Another foul on Emanuel Reynoso, who protests to the referee about the frequency of these late challenges. Reynoso is staying much higher up the pitch now, looking to create something for his side.
Minnesota United are really struggling to get anything going here. Head coach Sean McAuley must be considering making a change fairly soon, but there's no movement yet
The first booking of the night goes to the Minnesota captain for a late challenge on Thommy in the middle of the pitch.
Elsewhere in the Western Conference, Houston Dynamo have doubled their lead against Portland Timbers. If that result stays the same then the winner of Sporting KC and Minnesota looks set to make it to the playoffs.
Sporting KC start the second half on top once again, looking comfortable on the ball at the back and in midfield. Minnesota United will need to lift their intensity if they are to claw their way back into this game.
And we're back!
The second half is underway at Children's Mercy Park. For at least one of these teams, their 2023 MLS journey ends tonight.
Decision Day scores in the Western Conference
Here's the picture at the break. FC Dallas and Sporting KC are the big winners so far, and both are heading into the playoffs as it stands.
It's still all to play for in the Western Conference, but at the half time break Sporting Kansas City are enjoying a two-goal lead over Minnesota United. As it stands Sporting are in eighth, while Dallas FC and San Jose Earthquakes occupy the other two unsettled playoff places.
ICYMI: Remi Walter scores for Sporting
Just two minutes after Johnny Russell had given his side the lead, Remi Walter doubled Sporting's advantage. It was created by Daniel Salloi with some brilliant work on the left flank and coolly finished by Walter.
Peeep peeeep peeeeeep
Huge cheers as the referee brings the first half to a close.
Delight for the home crowd with their team leading 2-0, but this game is far from over.
There will be a minimum of two minutes of added time at the end of the first half.
Free kick to Sporting KC is another dangerous position, this time on the left wing.
Thommy's cross is headed away by Pukki and the loose ball is slashed well over the crossbar by Johnny Russell.
Close! Sporting KC
Alan Pulido does brilliantly to control a long ball and play it out wide to Johnny Russell. The Sporting captain looks to dink the ball towards the back post but it's flicked out for a corner by Zarek Valentine.
Better from Minnesota as the play the ball around on the edge of the Sporting box. Reynoso turns sharply to get the ball into Pukki, who turns and shoots from 20 yards out.
His effort is easily saved by Melia, but it's an improvement from Minnesota.
WATCH: Johnny Russell stunner gives his team the lead
If Sporting KC go on to qualify for the playoffs tonight, this opener from their captain will likely be the crucial goal. It was a brilliant left-footed effort from Russell, who has been his team's most reliable performer for much of this season.
Another good opening for Sporting KC as Walter skips down the right wing and looks to pull the ball back for his teammates. His pass nearly finds Salloi but Dotsun gets a foot in to block the ball.
Thommy whips in a corner kick for Sporting. Minnesota get it cleared but the hosts recycle possession and come back once again, they're really putting the pressure on now.
The game has sparked into life, thanks to a quick-fire double for the hosts. Sporting KC has had the lion's share of possession in the early stages without really threatening Dayne St. Clair's goal.
That all changed in the space of three minutes and the Sporting KC crowd are on their feet now. They smell blood...
GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL! Remi Walter
This game has burst into life with a quick-fire double for Sporting KC. French midfielder Walter made a clever late run into the penalty area and coolly converted a low cross from Salloi!
GOOOOAAAAL! Johnny Russell
What a strike from the Sporting KC captain! Russel picked up the ball on the right wing, before cutting inside onto his left foot and rifling a shot into the top corner from 25 yards!
Crucial goal from the Sporting leader.
Powerful run from Thommy to bring Sporting forward at pace. He shrugs off a challenge but can't find a pass through to Alan Pulido.
Minnesota manage to stem the KC attack and get bodies back behind the ball.
Reynoso is down again after another late challenge. The Minnesota United attacker has shown some neat touches in the early stages and Sporting will have to keep him quiet.
Good play from Alan Pullido in the middle of the pitch to work the ball out to Johnny Russell on the right wing. Sporting KC look to have a chance to play forward but they turn back, opting to keep possession rather than drive at goal.
You get the sense that both teams are desperate to avoid conceding the first goal.
Nasty collision in the penalty box as Sporting defender Danny Rosero lunges in to poke to ball past Dayn St. Clair. There's no malice in the challenge but his boot connects heavily with the Minnesota keeper.
St. Clair is down to receive treatment.
Free kick to Sporting on the left wing after Trapp gives away a silly foul. A chance for the hosts to deliver into the box now...
Chance! Sporting KC
Brilliant play from Daniel Salloi who lifts a neat pass over the Minnesota backline to play in Thommy. The latter reaches the pass but can only poke his shot wide of the target.
Close! Minnesota United
Poor play from Sporting to lose the ball midway inside their own half. Reynoso picks up the loose ball and strikes from distance. His effort takes a deflection and is comfortably collected by Sporting keeper Melia.
Emanuel Reynoso receives a whack from Logan Ngenbe on the halfway line. Sporting KC will need to keep the Minnesota playmaker under close supervision tonight.
Minnesota get the ball clear and launch a quick counter-attack, Reynoso and Pukki combining for the visitors. For a moment it looks like Sporting could be in danger until the referee pulls it back for an offside.
An early warning for Sporting.
Good spell of possession for Sporting as they work the ball nicely around the edge of the box. It's worked wide to Logan Ngenbe on the left and his cross is deflected out for a corner kick.
Neat play from Daniel Salloi who skips past a Minnesota challenge and into the penalty box. His next touch is a little heavy and it runs away from him, but that's a promising start from the youngster.
As has been the case this season, Sporting KC are dominating the ball in the halfway line while Minnesota sit back in their defensive shape. Sporting will need to be weary of the likes of Reynoso and Pukki on the break.
And we're off!
Great noise at Children's Mercy Park for this crucial playoff decider.
Seven games to come in the Western Conference
The East set the bar pretty high on Decision Day, with late drama securing playoff places for both Charlotte FC and New York Red Bulls. In the West there are three playoff spots up for grabs and five teams in contention. Alongside Sporting KC and Minnesota; FC Dallas, San Jose Earthquakes and Portland Timbers are all in the running.
Kick-off draws near in Kansas City
There can be no doubts for both teams tonight, nothing less than a win gives them any chance of making it to the playoffs. Expect fireworks at a packed Children's Mercy Park, kick-off coming shortly...
Ahead of tonight's game we spoke exclusively to Sporting Kansas City striker Alan Pulido. The Mexican's return from injury sparked an incredible run of form that leaves Sporting in contention for the playoffs on Decision Day.
Here's what Pulido had to say about Lionel Messi, the playoff race and a possible return for the Mexican national team...
Tension builds ahead of kick-off
It's do-or-die time in the Western Conference, with five teams in contention for the remaining three spots in the playoffs. Two of those teams - Sporting KC and Minnesota - go head-to-head tonight.
We'll be bringing you full live coverage from Children's Mercey Park, with kick off in around half an hour.
We've already seen incredible drama in MLS today as the Eastern Conference wrapped up the final round of fixtures. Ahead of Decision Day there were five teams battling it out for two playoff places, with Charlotte FC and New York Red Bulls coming out on top.
Here's everything you need to know about the playoff picture as it stands...
And here's how Minnesota United line up...
It's the 'Christmas tree' formation for Minnesota United, with a duo of attacking midfielders to feed Designated Player striker Teemu Pukki. Both teams need a win tonight to have any chance of making the playoffs, so we should be in for a real cracker.
Here's the Sporting KC starting XI...
No major surprises for Sporting Kansas City, who will need a big performance from the attacking duo of Alan Pulido and Johnny Russel if they are to make it to the playoffs.
Decision Day drama in the East!
We're halfway through Decision Day 2023 and there's already been plenty of excitement in the Eastern Conference. Both Charlotte FC and New York Red Bulls made it through to the post season after some late, late drama.
Both Sporting Kansas City and Minnesota United will be hoping to join them...
Kansas City prepares for crucial MLS clash
Sporting Kansas City began the 2023 MLS campaign with a ten-game winless run, but still find themselves able to qualify for the playoffs on the Decision Day. After putting together a brilliant run over the summer the Sporting fanbase will be in great voice at Children's Mercy Park tonight.
Sporting Kansas City and Minnesota United are going head-to-head for a place in the MLS Cup playoffs, but how does the post-season work? There have been a number of changes for this season, including the introduction of a Wild Card round.
Here's everything you need to know...
Hello and welcome to AS USA for a thrilling MLS Decision Day!
For the final round of fixture in the West we will be bringing you live coverage as Sporting Kansas City take on Minnesota United. Both teams can secure qualification to the playoffs with a win, but both risk missing out on the post-season.