Wednesday night’s match against Sporting Kansas City didn’t start off on the right foot for Minnesota United. SKC opened the scoring with a goal off the arm of Botond Baráth to take a 1-0 lead. It would be the late second half when the Loons evened the match up with Ozzie Alonso scoring then Hassani Dotson scoring the game winning goal in the 90th minute.
With the 2-1 win over Sporting, Minnesota clinched their first Playoff berth since moving to Major League Soccer in 2017 and first overall since 2015 in the North American Soccer League. With the berth in the Playoffs they’ll be looking towards winning their first MLS Cup, first league Championship under the Loons branding, and first Championship since the 2011 NASL Soccer Bowl title.
“We want to go even further then that, we don’t want to just get in the playoffs. We said that. There wasn’t too many people, I didn’t read one publication, I didn’t read one magazine that tipped us to be in the playoffs this year.” Heath said in his press conference after beating Sporting KC.
Vito Mannone and the rest of the squad were excited after securing the playoff spot on Wednesday night.
“It’s a great achievement, great win, and there’s more time to celebrate because there’s another game in three days. We’re trying to let it sink in because it’s a historic moment for the club and it’s a great achievement after a long season. We’ve just fought so hard, and it’s a great achievement for the club, the fans, the team, the staff, and everybody involved.”
Ozzie Alonso kept his playoff streak going this season, and pushed that the team is ready for more soccer after the next two matches.
“When I came here, nobody thought we were gonna make the playoff. And we’re here in the playoff, so very excited and very happy. Because, from the beginning, we believed in this team, they were gonna make the playoff. And we did it. So, now we got to keep going. We also have two more games. And ready for the playoff.”
“I’m very excited. I mean its big for all of us here, we are all very strong competitors and we want to be the best and to do that we have to keep playing the best we can and keep winning games.” Dotson stated in the locker room after the match. “I think we are going to enjoy the moment right now and as soon as tomorrow hits to start recovering, like I said we want to win every game and the game plan is not my decision so everyone here is just going to focus on that and do the best we can.”
Los Angeles Football Club comes into the match on Sunday being just 1-1-3 in their last five compared to Minnesota’s 3-1-1 in the same five match stretch. LAFC will look to avenge their loss to Minnesota from a few weeks ago and show why they are one of two teams going after the MLS Supporters’ Shield.
Adrian Heath is not underestimating the visiting squad and feels the home match against them is the biggest test of the season.
“I think so. [That’s] the reason that they have the Supporters Shield wrapped up with a couple of games to go because they’ve been the best team. Normally the league tables don’t lie. You are where you finish normally and I think it’s only fitting that they [won] the Supporters Shield. They played the best football this year. Hey, we are going to have to bring our A game. As I said to the players this morning, if we play like we did on Wednesday – no disrespect to Sporting [Kansas City] – that will not be enough to but this game. But I expect us to win this game. That way maybe our worst 45 [minutes] since we’ve been in this stadium. We know we have to play better and I think we will do.
Minnesota United FC
- Questionable: None
- Out: None
NOTE: While no one is out on injury Chase Gaspar will miss the match as he serves a one match suspension for a red card in the closing minutes of the match vs SKC.
Los Angeles FC
- Questionable: None
- Out: M – Javi Perez (ACL), F – Josh Perez (MCL), D – Danilo Silva (lumbar disc)