• CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE: If Minnesota United can pull out a win on the road against the Galaxy on Decision Day, the math is simple: they’re in the playoffs. Portland’s win over RSL pushed them up to 52 points, locking them into the fourth seed. The Loons are sitting on 48 in fifth place, so they can’t catch the Timbers even with a win. But getting all three points would put them at 51 and leave LA on 47. If Vancouver beat Seattle, that would also put them at 51 points and 13 wins and with at least a two-goal advantage on goal differential over Minnesota. In that scenario — unless Minnesota blow out the Galaxy somehow — the Whitecaps would be in fifth and Minnesota in sixth. But at least according to FiveThirtyEight, MNUFC still have the highest chance (45%) of finishing fifth of any team still in the race. While finishing fifth and without a home game to start the playoffs would have counted as a disappointment prior to the start of the season, the four-game losing streak to start the year changed that calculus considerably. Now, MNUFC have a good chance to become just the third team since 1999 to start the season with four losses and still make the playoffs — and that includes CF Montréal and NYCFC in the topsy-turvy season of 2020. If they do end up with the fifth seed, their opponent will be the Portland Timbers, which might even count as good news given that the Loons have faced the Timbers twice — once at home and once on the road — and come away with the win both times.
  • WORSE AND WORST CASE SCENARIOS: If Minnesota end up with a draw against LA on Sunday, it’s a lot more complicated. Forty-nine points would put them clear of being caught by either LAFC or RSL from behind, and it would also put them clear of LA, who would end with 48. Vancouver would have the chance to get up to fifth with a win over Seattle once again, but if the Caps draw with the Sounders, MNUFC would hold the advantage in wins with 13 to Vancouver’s 12. It should come as no surprise that losing to the Galaxy is a doomsday scenario here. LA would leapfrog them for fifth, leaving the door open for Vancouver to push them back to seventh with a win against Seattle. Even more concerning, is RSL can beat SKC or LAFC can beat Colorado (both road games, it’s worth mentioning) either of these teams would equal Minnesota’s 48 points and either win out on total wins (RSL would have 14) or on goal differential (LAFC would have 13 wins to equal MNUFC but currently have a +5 goal differential to Minnesota’s -2, which would get worse with a loss). The good news from that perspective, though, is that both SKC and Colorado have something left to play for since only a single point is holding either back from a top seed and a Round One bye. Did I mention that all these games are happening at the exact same time? It’s guaranteed to be a wild one on Sunday evening.
  • TRAPP MUZIK: Wil Trapp isn’t here for the glory. The man has been on the pitch for longer than any other MNUFC player this season (2,643 minutes as of this writing) and has amassed a grand total of one assist and one goal on 13 shots. Heck, Bakaye Dibassy has more shots than him (17). But he’s also attempted and completed more passes (1443/1655) than any other player at a higher percentage (87.2%) than all of the regular starters except for Osvaldo Alonso (91.2%). Trapp’s total includes 110 long balls, which is by far the most by any player not named Tyler Miller — Romain Metanire is second with 69. He’s also played 1,333 short passes, which is almost 350 more than Chase Gasper’s 993 in second and all season, he’s only committed 16 turnovers. Sixteen! In 2,643 minutes! That’s one turnover every 165.2 minutes. It all goes — along with his occasional captaincy of the side — to show how essential Trapp has made himself in the engine room in a season when his acquisition was overshadowed early on by the signings of forward Adrien Hunou and midfielder Franco Fragapane. Between him, Alonso, Hassani Dotson and the other holding midfielders who have gotten minutes this season, Minnesota United’s midfield has been in very good hands, and it wasn’t all that long ago that the center of midfield was an area of major concern for the club. Holding mids might not get the attention they deserve, but they’re a key piece for any club that wants to make it past Decision Day.