Just four weeks into Minnesota United’s inaugural season in Major League Soccer, there was a league-wide consensus: the Loons would be the worst team ever, in every aspect of the word. There was even an article on our own SB Nation pointing out how bad United was going to be. The commentors on that article weren’t any more optimistic than the piece itself. “This team will be bad no matter what this season, but maybe just drop to a deep block and limit the embarrassing scorelines?” wrote one. Another added that “I have no doubt in my mind they will be the worst of all time and will set many undesirable records along the way.”
But that didn’t happen.
Minnesota was supposed to finish with the fewest amount of points in history. That mark still belongs to the now-nonexistent Tampa Bay Mutiny (14 points), or in a more modern campaign, DC United with their 16-point 2013 season. The Loons picked up their 17th point in a victory over the Portland Timbers in mid-June.
United was also going to post the worst-ever goal differential as well. Assuming that the San Jose Earthquakes don’t defeat the Loons by 15 goals (which is close to impossible, but stranger things have happened), the title of worst goal difference will stay tied between DC United and Chivas USA, who both finished at -37 in 2013.
While MLS fans and analysts didn’t necessarily assume that Minnesota United would finish with the most losses in a season, they won’t do that either. The New York/New Jersey MetroStars (their first loss was that name zing) lost a whopping 25 times in 1999. United has 17 losses right now, so at most, they could finish with 18.
Goal scoring hasn’t been horrible either. DC United only found the back of the net 21 times in 2010 (and only on 30 occasions so far this season), but Minnesota has scored 45 goals.
None of those numbers mean that this season has been good, however. There is still one record that looms over Minnesota United: the number of goals conceded in a single season. The 1999 Colorado Rapids let in 69 goals in a 32-game season. Through 33 games, the Loons sit at 67.
So, what if San Jose scores three times against United? Will the team then become the worst ever? Will people argue that Minnesota United shouldn’t have been allowed into MLS? Will fans abandon the team, considering all hope to be lost?
The answers to those four questions are basic: nothing, you must have skipped the first part of this article, who cares?, and no.
If Minnesota breaks that record and concedes 70 or more goals, they’ll have let in the most in a season. Big whoop. While that number is still a number and will not change, the 18 goals from the first 4 games certainly blow that statistic out of proportion. None of the defenders from the 5-1 loss to the Portland Timbers in the season opener still start on a regular basis. United has five clean sheets, which proves that those three big losses were more a lack of preparation than anything else.
The 2017 Loons will not be known as the worst team ever, because they’re not even the worst team in MLS this year. LA Galaxy and DC are both guaranteed to finish with less points than Minnesota this year, and Colorado can finish level with the Loons at best.
The people who say Minnesota should still be in NASL will continue to say that, whatever happens on Saturday. Nothing can change their mind, however wrong they may be.
And as for any fans that somehow can’t bear to have their beloved Minnesota United FC go down as the worst of anything, what were you expecting? The Supporters Shield?
Minnesota United’s season wasn’t good, that much is clear. You might say it was bad, but it certainly won’t go down as the worst.