With only one win in their last six matches, Minnesota United FC has tentatively fallen below the playoff line in the Western Conference of Major League Soccer.
Playing their third game in eight days, the Loons (8-8-7, 31 points) are at home in Saint Paul, Minn., on Saturday against the LA Galaxy in a pivotal matchup for both teams.
Minnesota is coming off back-to-back losses and is 0-6-2 all-time against the Galaxy, having played three times at Allianz Field against the Galaxy but never won. But LA is also in a bit of a tailspin, though they hold the No. 4 playoff position in the West.
The Galaxy (11-8-5, 38 points) were fortunate to earn a draw on Wednesday against one of the bottom-dwellers in the conference, the Houston Dynamo. Houston held a 1-0 lead until the 61st minute, when Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez put in a header.
Hernandez has a team-leading 11 goals, despite missing significant time due to injury. But the Galaxy are winless in their last five matches (0-2-3).
"We've got to be able to find the emotion and the urgency and still stay organized and purposeful in what we're doing," Galaxy coach Greg Vanney told the Los Angeles Daily News. "We're back and forth on that one where we have urgency and intensity and then we lose a little bit of the structure of the game and what we're trying to do."
Minnesota United is scoreless in its last two matches, road defeats at both the Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City. The latter was a 4-0 loss and dropped the club to 1-3-2 during the funk.
Loons coach Adrian Heath said he couldn't remember the last time his team had that bad a game. But the players moved on from it quickly.
"We've gone through some of the good stuff, because there was plenty -- once again, we had two or three really good opportunities," Heath said. "When the Galaxy come to town, you know what's coming. Invariably, the last few years have been difficult for them but they're the standard bearer of the league."
--Field Level Media