Sporting Kansas City (10-15-7, 37 points) extended the club’s unbeaten run to six matches with a fifth straight home win on Saturday as Willy Agada scored twice on his 23rd birthday in the club’s 4-1 victory over Minnesota United FC (13-13-6, 45 points) at Children’s Mercy Park. Erik Thommy added the game-winning goal to go along with an assist as the pair of summer signings have now combined for 10 goals and three assists in the team’s past 10 MLS matches since the duo debuted on July 23.
Sporting, who improved to 7-0-0 at home against the Loons in MLS regular season play, started the game on the front foot and could’ve taken the lead inside the opening six minutes. A free kick squirmed its way out to Roger Espinoza near the byline and his cross found Agada, whose powerful header was clawed out of the goalmouth by Dayne St. Clair with Daniel Salloi unable to force home the rebound.
Roger Espinoza fired a speculative effort over the bar from 20 yards in the 19th minute before Minnesota created their first chance of the night, as Luis Amarilla cut inside on his right foot inside the area but saw his low strike well held by John Pulskamp.
The breakthrough arrived in the 31st minute, with the ball finding the back of the net in a fortuitous manner after a lovely attacking move from Sporting KC. Agada found Espinoza in midfield who immediately fed the ball wide to Johnny Russell, who exploded beyond Kemar Lawrence before firing an effort on goal that St. Clair could only beat away right into center back Michael Boxall who redirected the ball into the back of the net for Minnesota’s league-leading fourth own goal of the year.
Sporting doubled the lead 10 minutes later as Thommy thrashed home his third goal of the campaign following a frantic sequence. Espinoza again was heavily involved as he prodded the ball wide to Russell on the edge of the area who saw his curling effort cannon off the inside of the post and out, but the Scotsman picked up his own rebound and found Thommy who skillfully evaded a challenge before thundering home beyond St. Clair to make it 2-0.
On the stroke of halftime, Sporting added a third goal as Agada scored his first of the night to cap another fine Sporting move. After Remi Walter had picked up a loose Minnesota clearance, Espinoza played it wide to Ben Sweat whose pin-point delivery found Agada crashing in to send a bullet header into the back of the net off the underside of the bar, making the score 3-0 at the halftime interval.
The second half opened with a promising scoring opportunity for each side, first with Amarilla sending his shot wide in the 51st minute in a one-on-one opportunity as Pulskamp came off his line to cut down the angle. Five minutes later, Salloi’s well-taken attempt forced a strong save from St. Clair and Agada was first to the rebound however his attempt carried over the crossbar.
Minnesota pulled a goal back in the 57th minute through Designated Player Mender Garcia. The 24-year-old Colombian latched onto an early cross from Kemar Lawrence – who marked his 30th birthday with an assist – and fired an acrobatic volley inside the near post for his first MLS goal.
The action would be Minnesota’s last shot of the game — although the Loons came close to a second goal in the 77th minute if not for a goalline clearance from Sweat to keep out a deflected cross – as the Sporting Kansas City defense followed up back-to-back clean sheets with another strong showing.
Agada put an exclamation point on the performance in the 81st minute with the club’s fourth goal of the night and his seventh in the past eight games. Thommy won the ball off Kervin Arriaga in the attacking third and Salloi picked up the loose ball before playing a perfectly-placed pass into the path of Agada at the top of the six-yard box. Agada now has three multi-goal games in his first 10 MLS matches and his seven goals in the last six weeks are third most in MLS.
Despite the 4-1 victory, Sporting was mathematically eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday following the LA Galaxy’s 4-1 win over the Colorado Rapids. Sporting will next host the Seattle Sounders at 4 p.m. CT on Sunday, Oct. 2 on Fan Appreciation Day in the club’s home finale at Children’s Mercy Park with tickets available online at SeatGeek.com.