Gonzalez Celebration

Minnesota United FC are back in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs once again. The Loons clinched their postseason berth on Decision Day with a 2-0 win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Allianz Field.

It's the fourth consecutive postseason appearance for Minnesota, the only team in the Western Conference to qualify for the playoffs in each of the last four years.

"It's a testament to all the hard work everybody's done, from the coaching staff to the players, front office, the ownership, everybody," said head coach Adrian Heath after a sold-out match in front of 19,941 fans. "And the supporters. Supporters deserve to make the playoffs because they turn up every single week, regardless of what's going on, and get behind the group. It's nice for them."

It hasn't been an easy ride for the Loons. One of the hottest teams in the league over the summer, they struggled down the stretch, winless in their prior six matches before Decision Day. Injuries hit their squad heavily, with important players like Bakaye DibassyHassani Dotson and Jacori Hayes all suffering season-ending injuries.

"I think this one's been a lot more challenging," Heath said of this season's playoff qualification. "I really do, with the injuries we've had and the amount of people we've missed."

Buoyed by 10 goals and 11 assists from playmaker Emanuel Reynoso, the Loons kept their head above water. And when it mattered most, against a Vancouver team fighting for their own playoff lives, they got the job done. It's that same tenacity and ability to win in crucial moments that makes Heath so bullish as they prepare to challenge for MLS Cup 2022, no matter where they play.

"We've been to LA and won. We've been to the Galaxy and won. We've been to Dallas. We've been to Nashville," he listed, with a visit to Frisco, Texas in Round One of the playoffs looming.

"This group can win games anywhere, and we've proven that in the past. Is it going to be easy in Dallas? No, it's not. But do I think we can go there and win? For sure I do. And anything's possible."

While they'll miss the vibrant crowd at Allianz Field to start their playoff campaign, Heath is confident they can win as the No. 6 seed at No. 3-seeded Dallas. They've already done it, beating FC Dallas 2-1 in May.

"We're good on the road, it's not as easy as you'd like," Heath said. "But are we capable of winning? For sure we are."