UPDATE FROM POST EARLIER TODAY:
United CEO Chris Wright said before tonight's game that the Allianz Field grass playing surface will be torn up and replaced starting after tonight's game to correct rooting issues caused by draining problems in the stadium's original system.
It is being now with the assurance that there will be an improved field in three weeks, whenthe stadium could host both the St. Thomas-St. John's college-football game and a United home MLS playoff game on the weekend of Oct. 19th-20th.
More to follow later.
Tonight's starting 11 is without starting left back Chase Gaspar, who is suspended after he received two yellow cards that became a red card late in Wednesday's playoff-clinching victory over Sporting Kansas City.
Ozzie Alonso also is not in the top 18, four days after playing against Kansas City.
Veteran Lawrence Olum will play his defensive midfield position while Wilfried Moimbe-Tahrat starts at Gasper's left-back spot.
Angelo Rodriguez is back in the top 18 while young Thomas Chacon is not.
Three days after it clinched its first MLS playoff spot there, Minnesota United tonight at Allianz Field can clinch a first-round home game if it beats league-leading LAFC in a 6:30 p.m. televised nationally on FS1.
United also can clinch a home game if it loses, but Real Salt Lake loses to or ties Houston at home this evening -- or if United ties and RSL ties or loses.
United coach Adrian Heath reported "some tired legs, some tired bodies" after Saturday's last training preparations, but he said he expects everybody to be available.
"We'll see what we can do," he siad. "We spoke about it within the group. They're all focused and excited."
United remains the only team that has beaten LAFC at home this season with that 2-0 victory on Sept. 1 when league MVP favorite Carlos Vela didn't play because of a hamstring injury.
He has been back in the lineup the last three games for a team that is 20-4-8 and leads everybody in the league by at least seven points. LAFC locked up the league's Supporter's Shield given to the team with the best regular-season record with Wednesday's victory over Houston.
United currently is second in the Western Conference -- a point ahead of third-place surging L.A. Galaxy and two ahead of fourth-place Seattle -- and is intent on staying there to secure not just one home game, but possibly two if it advances.
"We want to finish off the season well," Heath said. "We want to finish second if we can. To do that, we have to get a result this weekend. We know that. It's a difficult task, but something the players should be looking forward to."
United went to L.A. and won just a month ago. When asked if he thinks LAFC players will seek revenge tonight, United defender Michael Boxall said, "I don’t think so. I think that’s just one game for them in a season when they’ve been very successful. We need to come out with energy. At home, we’ve been tough to beat. We need to come out and do the same again."
United is 10-1-5 at Allianz Field in its first season there. Its only loss came June 2 to Philadelphia.
An interesting item about today's MLS schedule: All Eastern teams play another in games starting at 4 p.m. Central time and all Western teams play another starting at 6:30 p.m.
The same thing happens next week for the season's finales when all games are on Sunday and all start at 3 p.m. Central time.
The league calls it "Decision Day" that determines the playoff bracket. The idea: protect the integrity of the games and prevent teams and coaches from making decisions based on how other teams in other games are doing.
Check back about 5:30 p.m. for United's starting 11 and top 18 tonight.