Big facts: Minnesota United has advanced to the MLS Is Back Tournament Knockout Stage, presented by Audi. Exactly where they’re going to end up in Group D, though … that’s a little more up in the air. Let’s talk through the different scenarios that are dependent on the result of tonight’s game against the Colorado Rapids.
If MNUFC wins tonight…
If the Loons win, they will win Group D with seven points overall, bumping Sporting Kansas City down to second place in the group. This will slot Minnesota United into the D1 place in the Round of 16 bracket, meaning their next game will be on July 26 at 10:00 p.m. CT on FS1, TUDN and TSN.
The opponent will be a team from either Group B, Group E or Group F and will be dependent on how the wildcard standings play out. The teams from each respective group in the mix are Chicago Fire (B3), FC Cincinnati (E3) and Houston Dynamo (F3).
If MNUFC and Colorado draw…
If tonight’s game ends in a draw, the Loons will finish second in Group D with five points and will face Columbus Crew SC on July 28 at 7:00 p.m. CT on ESPN and TSN.
Columbus has been victorious in all three of its games this tournament, leaving opponents FC Cincinnati, New York Red Bulls and Atlanta United goalless and confused.
The Crew currently have the most points in MLS and have not lost a game yet this season. In the Western Conference, Sporting Kanas City and our very own Loons are not far behind. SKC has 12 overall points, with one loss and five games played. MNUFC has a total of 10 points, undefeated and only four games played. Tonight’s result against the Rapids will see where Minnesota United stacks up in the regular season picture beyond the MLS Is Back Tournament.
If MNUFC loses tonight…
Now, the (not so?) fun stuff. Here’s where things get tricky.
If the Loons lose by two or more goals, they will finish third in Group D behind Real Salt Lake on goal differential. This would put MNUFC in the wild card selection group, with a potential meeting against either Orlando City or San Jose ahead.
If the Loons lose by one goal, but score at least one goal, they will finish second in Group D ahead of Real Salt Lake on goals. That would send them off to the aforementioned matchup with Columbus.
If the Loons lose by a 1-0 scoreline, the league will go to disciplinary points to determine whether it’s a second or third place finish in Group D. The good news is that so far, MNUFC has only had five yellow cards through two games to RSL’s 10 through three, so if the referee keeps his cards in his pocket tonight, the Loons should come out ahead.