United FC gameday

7 P.M. vs. Tampa BAy at National Sports Center, Blaine Ch. 45

Preview: Minnesota (8-2-5) felt it peaked too soon last fall season and plateaued. This time the situation feels different. The United went unbeaten in September and are closing in on a playoff spot.

United FC at a glance: Minnesota is unbeaten in nine consecutive matches with six victories in that stretch. Four of United’s final five matches will be at home, where the Loons are 5-1-5. The lone loss came June 13 against Fort Lauderdale. Minnesota’s 47 goals overall are nine more than the next team. Forward Christian Ramirez is tied for second in the North American Soccer League with 10 goals. Midfielder Ibson scored twice last week in a 5-2 victory at Fort Lauderdale.

Tampa Bay at a glance: Tampa Bay (4-8-3) arrives in Minnesota coming off a 1-1 draw at home against Indy Eleven in which a pair of first-time starters made big plays. Forward Long Tan, who arrived on loan from Arizona United SC on Sept. 22, scored. Midfielder Freddy Adu provided the assist on Tan’s goal from a corner kick. The Rowdies are tied with FC Edmonton for fourth place in points in the NASL combined standings.

DAVID LA VAQUE