Playoff math, injury updates on Lod and Reynoso, Heath on the Queen

·4 min read

With six games remaining, Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath predicted two more victories probably would earn a playoff spot.

Then the Loons lost to FC Dallas and at Portland and Sporting Kansas City by a combined 8-1 score and played Los Angeles FC to a 1-1 draw.

After a week's FIFA international break, the Loons have games at San Jose and at home against Vancouver on "Decision Day" left.

"The problem is I said then we needed to win two and now we're down to two," Heath said. "If we win both, I think we still probably make the top four. If we don't have any more points, we probably won't make it. We've put ourselves in a spot, but we're in a spot where a lot of other teams wish they could be."

Heath's team could use a little help from those all around their sixth-place standing in Western Conference.

Portland didn't help them by scoring a 95th minute goal in a 1-1 draw with Columbus on Sunday that moved the Timbers a point ahead of the Loons into fifth place.

"This weekend would have been unbelievable," Heath said if not for that. "We couldn't have asked for better results. There are a few games to be played this week and weekend and then we'll see where we are because everybody will have two games left them. You look at the fixtures and it's impossible for all the teams around us to get maximum points because they're all playing each other."

More than hopeful

Loons midfielder Robin Lod worked on his own Tuesday after he didn't join his Finland national team for the upcoming break because of an ankle injury.

"The one thing about Robin is, he never complains about anything," Heath said. "For him to say, 'My calf is really sore, I feel as though if I play it's going to tear,' we have to err on the side of caution. He feels a lot better today than he did yesterday, so we're more than hopeful that he'll be fit and healthy when San Jose comes around [Oct. 1]."

Kallman hurting

Star midfielder Emanuel Reynoso was back training after he was suspended for Saturday's 4-1 loss at Sporting Kansas City.

Center back Brent Kallman didn't train Tuesday because of a sore foot that has been bothering him.

"He's still a bit sore, but we think he'll be all right," Heath said.

Left back Kemar Lawrence joined in training. He has been playing with a troublesome knee that kept him out for three games starting in late August.

"When you play almost every game back-to-back, you get a knock here or there," Lawrence said. "Somewhere in there, you've got to get a couple days to look after it because if you keep getting knocks and don't attend to them, it turns to something bigger."

Garcia's first goal

Recently acquired Mender Garcia scored his first MLS goal Sunday when he converted Lawrence's long diagonal cross off one bounce into contorted right-foot strike. He quickly reached into the net to grab the ball.

"It was really beautiful, very special," he said in Spanish through a team interpreter. "I've been looking for my first goal for a while now. Unfortunately, the result wasn't what we wanted, but very happy. I think it will help fill me with confidence to keep working hard and doing things well."

Second team's season ends

The Loons' MNUFC2 reserve team finished its inaugural MLS NEXT Pro season in sixth place and out of the playoffs with a 9-10-5 record for 36 points. It lost 4-1 at home to Earthquakes II on Sunday night.

"It has been valuable," Heath about this new second team. "We've learned a lot of lessons."

Good luck

Heath crossed his fingers sending four players — Canada's Dayne St. Clair, New Zealand's Michael Boxall and Honduras' Kervin Arriaga and Joseph Rosales — off to play for their national teams for two or three international games overseas.

"The worst part is not just the games, it's the travel," Heath said. "They're traveling huge distances. When you consider what's at stake, its not ideal, not just for us but for everybody who is losing players the next week, 10 days."

Pomp and proud

Born and raised in England, Heath watched what he could of Queen Elizabeth II's state funeral on Monday from London and Windsor.

"Incredibly proud," he said. "I don't think anybody does these things better than we do. The pomp and circumstance was incredible for an incredible lady. It was a very sad day for everybody, but I thought they pulled it off incredibly well. I expected crowds like that. I don't think people outside Great Britain realize not only how important she is, but how well loved she is."