Preview | #MINvFCD

Preview | #MINvFCD

MINNESOTA UNITED FC vs. FC DALLAS
Allianz Field | Saint Paul, Minnesota
11.08.2020 | MLS Week No. 23 | MLS Game No. 21
5:30 p.m. CT (FOX Sports North, FOX Sports GO, MNUFC Radio on SKOR North)

2020 Records:
FCD: 9-5-7 (1-4-3 on the road)
MIN: 8-5-7 (4-1-3 at home)

Decision Day presented by AT&T is here and the Loons have much to play for. While Minnesota United are headed to the playoffs no matter what, the final regular season matchup against FC Dallas could see them climb as high as fourth and host a first-round playoff game or drop as low as eighth, depending on other results. A win over Dallas would knock the Toros back, while a loss opens them up to a first-round matchup on the road against any number of teams above them. Head Coach Adrian Heath will be hoping that the stakes will push them to a tighter, more focused start than they got off to against Chicago Fire FC last Wednesday. In that game, the Loons shipped two and could have conceded more before righting the ship and clawing back for a draw. That kind of effort won’t get it done against a hot Dallas team who have won their last three. With the international break ahead of the start of the postseason, look for the Loons to throw everything they have at this last game of the regular season to make it count.

THE OPPOSITION
FC Dallas are undefeated in four games overall, with six goals scored to just one conceded in that stretch. Their hot streak has boosted them into the final home playoff spot in the Western Conference and to stay there, they’ll be leaning into the leadership of Luchi Gonzalez. The second year head coach has gotten the most out of a squad that has largely lacked one of its most promising young playmakers in Paxton Pomykal and sold another player brimming with potential — Reggie Cannon — midway through the season. He’s made adjustments all over the pitch, even starting Toros defensive mainstay Ryan Hollingshead on the left wing against Nashville. The result? A 1-0 win in which Hollingshead scored the only goal. They’ll have to give it everything they’ve got on Sunday: Despite FC Dallas’ dominance at home, they have yet to win take a point at Allianz Field.

ETHAN FINLAY ON DECISION DAY

“For me, it’s very clear: you win and you’re in that fourth spot. So that would be our sole focus, to get a home playoff game. It’s nice, honestly, going into those games when you don’t have to depend on anybody else or any other result to go your way, for one thing to go the way you want it. We have full control of that. We get to play at home, even on Decision Day, which I think is a great benefit. We know what’s at stake so we gotta go out there and take care of business.”
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ADRIAN HEATH ON THE SEASON OVERALL

“It’s been an incredibly difficult year for everybody. And I think we’ve had it a bit more than most with the injuries that we’ve had. I think back to even the George Floyd situation where we probably didn’t train for a week then because of what was going on in and around the city. It’s been a very, very difficult year. Kudos to the players, they’ve kept battling on and everybody’s been needed because, as I say, with the injuries that we’ve had, everybody’s stepped up and it’s a big game for us at the weekend. I’m pleased for the players and now let’s see if we can go and get home field advantage.”

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STORYLINE
It’s hard to imagine a game more rife with implications for both sides than this one, coming as it does on the final day of the regular season. With Dallas in fourth and Minnesota in fifth in the West, a win for either side should cement a home playoff game in the first round. If the two switch spots, history will favor MNUFC as the playoffs get underway but if the Loons have to travel to Dallas, it makes their path much tougher — Minnesota have never won at Toyota Stadium. An even bigger problem for the Loons might be the performances of other teams. Depending on who wins and loses on Decision Day, MNUFC could find themselves as low as seventh in the table and could end up facing a daunting road matchup with any of Sporting KC, Seattle Sounders or Portland Timbers.

FIRST TOUCHES

Jose Aja scored his first-ever goal for MNUFC in Wednesday’s draw.

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SOUND OF THE LOONS: DECISION DAY

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