KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The Hot Boy is on a hot streak.
Two-time USL Championship Most Valuable Player Kevin Molino continued his outstanding 2020 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs on Thursday night as he scored twice to lead Minnesota United FC to a 3-0 victory against top-seed Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park to send the Loons to the Western Conference Final for the first time in their history.
MNUFC will face Seattle Sounders FC on Monday night at Lumen Field in Seattle for a place in the 2020 MLS Cup (9:30 p.m. ET | Fox Sports 1).
Molino grabbed the goals, but it was another USL alumni that grabbed the early spotlight for Minnesota. Former Forward Madison FC and San Antonio FC loanee Dayne St. Clair came up with three crucial early saves – including an outstanding point-blank stop to deny SKC’s Roberto Puncec in the 15th minute – to keep the hosts from taking an early lead.
In the 27th minute, however, Molino struck for the first time and kicked off a run of three goals in 12 minutes that put the Loons in control. Dummying a pass from the left, Molino quickly shifted forward to latch onto a through-ball by Emanuel Reynoso and curled his finish from the left side of the penalty area just past SKC goalkeeper – and former Charleston Battery loanee – Tim Melia.
Molino then produced the highlight moment of the night as he slipped in onside behind the SKC back line to get on the end of a lifted pass by Reynoso into the right side of the penalty area. The former Orlando City SC standout pivoted to send a right-footed volley into the left corner of the net that doubled MNUFC’s advantage.
Reynoso added a third assist on the night six minutes before halftime as his corner kick from the right was headed in by Bakaye Dibassy, giving him back-to-back three-assist games this postseason. Molino’s brace, meanwhile, put him in rare company as he joined Carlos Ruiz (2002) and Robbie Keane (2012) as only the third player in MLS Cup Playoffs history to record two-goal games in back-to-back postseason contests in the league’s history.