Minnesota United scored two goals in stoppage time against a short-handed Sporting Kansas City squad to claim a stunning 2-1 victory in the first match in Group D of the MLS Is Back tournament in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday.
Khiry Shelton scored in the 43rd minute to give Sporting the lead. Shelton collected a beautiful pass from Alan Pulido just past midfield and raced up the right sideline. As he approached the box, Minnesota keeper Tyler Miller took a step to his right, exposing the short post. Shelton wasted no time in firing it past Miller.
Minnesota United appeared to score the tying goal in the 64th minute when Ethan Finlay redirected a loose ball past SKC keeper Tim Melia. But a VAR review ruled that the Loons were in an offside position. Moments later, Finlay missed from short range. But that flurry seemed to breathe some life into the Minnesota United side.
In the 74th minute, Melia received a red card for a takedown of Aaron Schoenfeld. Richard Sanchez came in to replace Melia, forcing Sporting KC to play a man down the rest of the match. Minnesota United kept the pressure on until Shelton's own goal leveled the match in the 92nd minute. Then, in the 97th minute, Kevin Molino picked up a loose ball and left-footed shot from the center of the box for the game-winner.
Minnesota United started the season with three straight wins for the first time in the club's four-year history.
Minnesota, which already was without defending MLS Defender of the Year and former SKC player Ike Opara, and midfielder Ozzie Alonso, lost forward Luis Amarilla less than 10 minutes before kickoff. Amarilla was taken off the pitch with an undisclosed injury.
Sporting controlled the action in the first half, with 62 percent possession and a 9-1 shots advantage. Sporting finished with a 13-9 advantage in shots.
Sporting KC played had received a positive COVID-19 result on Friday, but coach Peter Vermes doesn't believe it harmed his team's chances on Sunday.
"The fact is that at first everyone is a little taken aback, surprised," Vermes said in the postgame press conference."We'd been in that place before when we had a false positive, so we weren't sure which way it was going.
"When it got confirmed, that night we had training after we subsequently took tests again and came back negative outside of that one person.
"It definitely had a little bit of a shot to the guys, but the next day they were fine, they were right back at it. It was only really for a few hours.
"I've said all along that players are going to get it, people are going to get it, it's just how you react from it and I thought the guys did a good job in dealing with it. I don't think it had any affect on us today."