Major League Soccer officially announced that 2020 playoff qualification will be determined by points-per-game rather than total match points accumulated throughout the season due to the implications that the pandemic has had on the league. Multiple teams will not have played the same amount of matches as their opposition, and as a result, PPG will be used to determine who makes it and who does not.
For Minnesota United FC, PPG could be the reason they are awarded a home playoff game for the second straight season. The Loons, who had their second match in as many weeks cancelled Sunday evening due to positive COVID-19 cases among team players, are in pole position for the final home match spot in the Western Conference.
The race for 4th in the West has been close all season, but PPG has made it all the more contested. Los Angeles FC and FC Dallas are neck-and-neck with the Loons heading into this final matchweek, but with a slightly advantageous lead, the Loons control their own destiny. The Loons have two matches left on their schedule, and lucky for them, they’re both set to take place at Allianz Field. They host the Chicago Fire on Wednesday the 4th and FC Dallas on Sunday the 8th. The schedule has set itself up so that two of the best in the West will dazzle back-and-forth on decision day.
- MNUFC: The Loons host the Chicago Fire on 11/4 and FCDallas on 11/8.
- FCDallas: They travel to Nashville on 11/4 and then to Minnesota on 11/8.
- LAFC: They host the Portland Timbers on 11/8.
With there being so much on the line, here are the scenarios for each team and how the results this upcoming week could affect their PPG standing. This table assumes each team earns at least one point this upcoming week.
|Team||0 points||1 point||2 points||3 points||4 points||6 points|
Here are the five scenarios that would push the Loons into 4th at the end of the day on Nov. 8.
- The Loons win out. If you beat both the Chicago Fire and FCDallas, you earn a home playoff match. It’s as simple as that.
- The Loons and FCD both draw one match, drop the other and LAFC Loses to the Timbers.
- The Loons draw both matches, FCD don’t win (they can draw both) and LAFC loses to the Timbers.
- The Loons win against either the fire or FCD, draw the other match and LAFC lose against Portland on decision day.
- The Loons win one out of two matches, FCD win one out of two matches and LAFC lose to the Timbers.
For the Loons, it’s become evident that three points in one match this upcoming week is a necessity. Looking at the scenarios, it’s inevitable that one of the two other teams chasing 4th will be breathing down their neck until the final whistle on Sunday the 8th. Their destiny however, is in their hands — they can control which path they take now. The biggest takeaway from looking at scenarios, is if it does end up coming down to decision day between FCDallas and MNUFC, that could be the MLS game of the season.
The schedule has set the Loons up for late drama, but thankfully, it will be at home at Allianz Field.