Minnesota United came into last night’s match on the inside of the playoff picture, but after the 90 minutes of football the team ended the night on the outside looking in. The Loons only managed one late, ultimately inconsequential goal, to Vancouver’s two.
Minnesota started the match with 10 of the 11 starters returning from Saturday’s draw against LAFC. Dotson would shift from RB to LB, replacing Chase Gasper, while Métanire would come back in at right back.
The boys tonight in Vancouver. pic.twitter.com/ZjGsiI5Z6A— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) October 28, 2021
The first 45 minutes of the match we’re fairly back and forth with the teams roughly splitting stats. Minnesota had more shots and just a bit more possession while the Vancouver Whitecaps did have more tackles and really prevented the Loons from getting a good chance at goal.
Vancouver would snag the first goal of the match when Brian White received a long ball down the pitch and sent a shot at goal. Tyler Miller batted down the ball for what looked like a great save, but the ball went towards Michael Boxall who accidentally sent it into the goal off his foot and was unable to save it.
Michael Boxall opens his account for the 'Caps after 10 years!#VWFC #VANvMIN pic.twitter.com/PMUJ3gjkjb— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) October 28, 2021
After getting his stat sheet robbed by an own goal earlier in the match, Vancouver’s Brian White scored the Whitecaps second goal of the night. Seemingly putting the nail in the coffin as the Loons had been unable to muster up much that looked dangerous.
PICK UP THE PHONE GREGG #VWFC #VANvMIN pic.twitter.com/9l2cB6QKOQ— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) October 28, 2021
Minnesota did however refuse to get shutout and played until the end. Fanendo Adi scored a messy goal at 90+1’ and the Loons did push hard for the final few minutes, but we’re ultimately repelled by the Whitecaps.
.@fanendo opens up his scoring account with the Loons. pic.twitter.com/PowD2ByJe9— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) October 28, 2021
This loss puts the Loons in a dangerous situation where they could easily be eliminated from the playoffs by next Wednesday. There are two scenarios in which that could happen.
The first key to the scenario is MNUFC losing to Sporting Kansas City on Sunday in St. Paul. If that happens the Loons are immediately on the back foot heading into decision day. Minnesota can only mathematically be eliminated if Vancouver, Real Salt Lake, and LA Galaxy all win their next game. While at that point they could still tie RSL on points, it would then revert to the first tiebreaker which RSL would hold and MNUFC couldn’t match.
That scenario is the most straightforward, Minnesota is on their back heel and really needs to win their final two matches to guarantee a playoff spot. One loss and their destiny is in the hands of everyone else above them.