Minnesota United’s 0-4 start this season occurred nearly five months ago, but the Loons can’t shed the past.
MNUFC (10-9-7) sit in seventh place in the Western Conference going into Saturday’s game at FC Dallas (6-13-9). The fact the Loons are in the final MLS Cup Playoff spot is a testament to how they have rebounded since that poor opening four games.
But their precarious position and why they aren’t higher in the standings is because of how they stumbled out of the starting blocks. Two draws with San Jose and one apiece versus Dallas and Vancouver also factor in as well.
While Minnesota lost 3-1 to D.C on Wednesday, six of the top eight teams in West gained points, and five clubs ahead of them won. The Loons, who have eight games left, have played one fewer game than the three teams ahead of them (Portland, Real Salt Lake and L.A. Galaxy).
The Loons need all three points against 11th-place Dallas, which fired head coach Luchi Gonzalez on Sept. 19.
Minnesota rested central attacking midfielder Emanuel Reynoso and defensive mid Ozzie Alonso on Wednesday; they are expected to return this weekend.
Saturday’s game has added importance given how shorthanded the Loons will be for the Colorado Rapids game Oct. 10 at Allianz Field.
Due to World Cup qualifiers, the Loons will be without three starters and a reserve. Leading scorer Robin Lod and backup defender Jukka Raitala will join Finland; top center back Michael Boxall meets up with New Zealand; and starting right back Romain Metanire goes to Madagascar.