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Three crazy minutes: that’s all it took to turn Saturday’s game on its head. Everyone at Allianz Field was left stunned after FC Dallas put three goals past the Loons in as many minutes, turning a 0-0 game in the 55th minute into a 3-0 stunner by the 58th. Despite the tough result, Head Coach Adrian Heath doesn’t think the scoreline tells the whole story.

“Hugely disappointed to come off 3-nil because I don’t think that we played badly today,” he said. “We probably played better today than we did against Houston [Dynamo]. If I look at the full 90 minutes, the first half was good. We streaked it down to one opportunity and looked dangerous on the break. Then, it was just a little bit of quality on the final ball, but

I was relatively pleased at halftime. After that, was it three in three minutes or something… I don’t know. After that again, there’s nothing in the game. You don’t win too many games when you concede three.”

Whenever something like this happens on the field, there is a mental component that comes into play. Conceding three goals in three minutes is jarring and unusual; it’s difficult to simply shake that off and play at peak performance for the remainder of the match. Moving forward, Coach Heath knows the importance of mentally moving on from this match.

“As I’ve said to you, it’s five minutes of madness,” he said. “You take the big punch and then you don't get yourself settled and ready. We went backwards from the kickoff. The third one is like schoolboy errors. There’s not an awful lot I can say. We’ve got to erase that pretty quick and dust ourselves down and get ourselves ready because it doesn’t get any easier. We go to Portland [Timbers] who are in the same boat as us, fighting for your life to get in the right area of the league and then we’ve got LAFC. The next two games are big for us.”

Another anomaly plagued the Loons this weekend, as they failed to score for the second consecutive game. This comes after a long run of goalscoring that saw MNUFC get on the scoresheet in 13 league games in a row, stretching from mid-June to late August. On Saturday, something just wasn’t clicking.

“At the end of the day, as I say, I think our work to get up there has been good today,” Heath said. “How many on target? That tells you. Is there something wrong? We’ve got four or five unbelievable opportunities and we haven’t hit the target… and they’re clear looks. They might be 20 yards out or 18 yards out, but they’re clear looks. Should do better.”

Despite taking 15 shots, only two of MNUFC’s attempts were on target. Creating chances wasn’t the problem this time; instead, the issue was in seizing opportunities and applying that finishing touch.

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Following this loss, Minnesota United have fallen into fifth place in the Western Conference standings, leapfrogged by both FC Dallas and Nashville SC. The race for the playoffs is getting increasingly tight, but the Loons have done a lot of work to get into the position they are now. Goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair knows that his team needs to re-rediscover their form if they want to keep their season on track. 

“I mean we still have a game in hand on [FC Dallas], so we can definitely come back and use that to our advantage. We’ve put ourselves into a good spot leading up to this point in the season, and we’d love to finish the season stronger going into the playoffs.”

With big games on the horizon against Portland and LAFC, it’s time to shake off any lingering bad vibes from a tough week and press on with confidence. The end of the regular season is in sight, and Coach Heath recognizes the importance of finishing strong.

“We’ve got five games left,” he said. “A couple here and three away. I’ll still say the same. I still think six, maybe seven points would be enough. The last two games have not helped that situation. It puts more pressure on, it gives the teams below us a little bit of a lifeline. I said before the season started, this West [Western Conference] is going to be tougher now. I think it’ll go to the wire and nothing has changed.”

This weekend, Minnesota United will be traveling to Providence Park to take on the Portland Timbers. Both teams are clinging to playoff spots at the moment, which should make for another chippy game. Last time these teams met, fans were treated to a 4-4 thriller. While that was fun, the Loons will be hoping to concede a few less this time as they look to shore up their defense.

UP NEXT

Portland Timbers vs. Minnesota United FC

Providence Park | Portland, Oregon

09.10.2022 | MLS Game No. 30

9:00 p.m. CT (MLS LIVE on ESPN+, Bally Sports North EXTRA, The CW - Twin Cities, 1500 ESPN)