Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath is targeting two more victories to ensure a post-season berth after the Loons’ hopes were called into question by a run of three consecutive defeats.
Minnesota went down 1-0 to the Portland Timbers last time out, and are now just four points ahead of the eighth-placed LA Galaxy in the Western Conference standings.
But Heath is choosing to remain upbeat concerning their hopes of extending the campaign, declaring: “Watching the other games, one or two went for us and one or two didn’t. We play all the way through.
“We’ve got to win a couple games. Win a couple games and we’ll be fine. Obviously, we said that with six games to go and now we’re down to four.
“If we win a couple games, we’ll give ourselves what we set out to do in February.”
Minnesota’s next opponents Los Angeles FC are competing to win the Supporters’ Shield, with their tally of 60 points putting them just three shy of Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia Union.
Though LAFC fell to a 2-1 reverse at FC Dallas after Ryan Hollingshead was sent off in their last outing, coach Steven Cherundolo is taking the positives from that defeat ahead of their final four matches.
“There’s a lot of good that came out of this game, and we’ll pull out the positives for sure,” Cherundolo said after the loss.
“The team defended fantastically with 10, very disciplined, gave up very, very little, and in the first half we were also dangerous going forward.
“So there’s a lot to get out of this game, we’ll see how we recover physically, there’s four games left and there’s four games we’d love to win, but we’re focused on Minnesota first and foremost.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Minnesota United – Luis Amarilla
The Paraguayan’s 13 goal contributions (nine goals, four assists) this term are only bettered by Emanuel Reynoso (10 goals, four assists) for the Loons, and he will hope to profit against a side with four defeats in their last five matches.
Los Angeles FC – Cristian Arango
Arango scored LAFC’s lone goal against FC Dallas on Saturday, his fourth straight game with a goal, the fourth time he’s scored in at least four straight games in his MLS career. Since his debut last August, Arango has scored in a league-high 25 games, three more than any other player in that time.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Los Angeles FC ended a five-match winless run against Minnesota with a 2-0 home win on May 1. LAFC have never won in Minnesota (D2 L1), one of two opponents the Black and Gold have visited three or more times and never won at (W0 D2 L5 at LA Galaxy).
– Minnesota are enduring their third three-match losing streak of the season, though this time they haven’t scored in any of those games.
– This is the first time in club history that Minnesota have lost three straight games without scoring in any of them.
– Los Angeles FC dropped points from a winning position for the first time this season, losing 2-1 at FC Dallas after scoring first. LAFC had won the previous 20 games in which they led at any point, one shy of the MLS record of 21 straight, set by the Seattle Sounders in 2011-12 (including playoffs).
– Minnesota attempted 21 shots in a 1-0 loss at the Portland Timbers on Saturday, equaling the second-most shots the Loons have taken in a match without scoring in the club’s MLS history. They took 24 shots in a scoreless draw against Sporting Kansas City in August 2021.