Minnesota United FC secured a point at home in their penultimate match of the season following a second-half comeback Wednesday evening against the Chicago Fire. Down two goals at the half, Loons head coach Adrian Heath went into the locker room fuming, saying postgame that he was upset by the lack of effort, intensity and “want” to play the game.
“I thought some of our play was excellent second half. But, it shouldn’t need me to be as irate and as emotional I was at halftime to get that type of reaction,” Heath said.
Although many saw it as a must-win match for the Loons in their pursuit for a home playoff match, their goal of hosting at Allianz Field for the second year in a row is very much alive thanks to heroics from the San Jose Earthquakes. The 10-man Quakes pulled off a stunning upset over 2019 MVP Carlos Vela and LAFC following the conclusion of Minnesota-Chicago, winning 3-1 at home while clinching their first playoff berth since 2017 at the same time.
LAFC were one of three teams fighting for the final playoff spot in the West, along with the Loons and FC Dallas, going into Wednesday night. Following their loss to San Jose, LAFC will not host a playoff match, meaning the two teams competing for 4th in the West would be FC Dallas and MNUFC. In classic MLS fashion, the schedule has blessed soccer fans all around the world with that exact matchup happening on deadline day: The Loons host FCD in their regular season finale Sunday, Nov. 8th at Allianz Field.
The scenarios differ for each team, but there is only one way the Loons can clinch 4th in the West: A win. If the Loons manage to claim three points against FC Dallas, they’ll automatically clinch 4th place. However, a draw would be enough for the visitors, as they lead on PPG going into the match.
Here is the table on what PPG would look like for both teams following the conclusion of the match.
It’s expected to be a gritty, back-and-forth match between the two sides — especially considering they are not strangers to each other. They’ve already played twice this season, with each side taking three points. It’s set to be one of the best games of the season.
Following the conclusion of the Loons match Wednesday evening, MNUFC captain Jan Gregus spoke on the disappointment of the result against the Fire, but also the opportunity that Sunday’s match presents.
“That didn’t happen (three points against the Fire) but we need to do what we need to do basically, and that’s to win the next game whatsoever. Whatever will happen after will happen and will not be in our hands. In our hands, is to put a great performance on, on Sunday, against Dallas and that’s the most important thing right now.”
Depleted due to injuries and Covid-19 implications, Loons gaffer Adrian Heath has a lot of decisions to make going into the evening. The Loons were without starters Chase Gasper, Michael Boxall, Ozzie Alonso and Hassani Dotson against the Fire, and it’s unknown if any of them will be eligible and/or healthy to play in their regular season finale.
It’s fair to say that the Loons have left everything on the field through the complicated mess that the 2020 season has been, but an overwhelming storyline has been the consistent injuries to the roster. Sunday is going to be their biggest test of the season, and it’s going to test the depth this team has.
Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m. at Allianz Field.