Preview: Minnesota United FC has lost four consecutive games but still holds the final North American Soccer League playoff spot based on goal differential. The Loons, with 36 points, are tied with Tampa Bay and Miami FC in the combined standings. The Rowdies (9-8-9) have a game in hand on Minnesota (10-11-6), making Wednesday’s match crucial for the Loons as they look to separate from the pack. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, has momentum. After a 1-1 draw against Indy Eleven on Sept. 3, the Rowdies trailed Minnesota by eight points. A six-game unbeaten run has them back in the playoff picture.
Players to watch: After Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Jacksonville, Minnesota coach Carl Craig said of Wednesday’s preparations: “The challenge is to get their heads in the right place. Because four losses in a row is very tough to take. We’re going to now look at the fellas and say, ‘Who can we count on?’ ” Midfielder Jamie Watson had his two-game scoring streak end Saturday.
Numbers: Four losses in a row make Minnesota the NASL’s coldest team. The Loons also rank as the league’s worst road team (1-7-5).
Shorthanded: Loons defender Damion Lowe (Jamaica) and backup goalkeeper Steward Ceus (Haiti) received national team call-ups for the 2017 Caribbean Cup and will miss this match as well as Saturday’s match at Puerto Rico.
DAVID LA VAQUE