With a shower of ice and a spray of soda pop, Minnesota United players celebrated making history. But no champagne, no goggles and no plastic sheeting in the Allianz Field locker room.
"Oh, no, there's a game on Sunday, so just a few words from the boss," United midfielder Jan Gregus said after his team clinched its first playoff berth in MLS history Wednesday night. "I heard they threw some ice on Hassani [Dotson] after, but I did not see that. I was in the hot and cold water. No, just congratulations to everybody, player to player, and that was it. Nothing huge."
Unlike how the Minnesota Twins raucously greeted their division-clinching victory in Detroit, United players enjoyed maybe a cold beer to wash down a historic evening.
The regular season rolls on with second place in the Western Conference and home-field advantage in the playoffs still at stake. Next up is a home game Sunday against league-leading LAFC and the regular-season finale a week later at Seattle.
A victory Sunday guarantees United a home game in the playoffs' first round after Wednesday's 2-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City moved it past Seattle and back into second place.
LAFC clinched MLS' Supporters Shield for league's best record and home field throughout the playoffs with its victory over Houston on Wednesday.
United, the L.A. Galaxy and Seattle all are poised to secure a first-round home game. Fifth-place Real Salt Lake trails United by five points and fourth-place Seattle by three points. It still could deny one of those three teams with just two games left to play for every team, but it's a long shot.
The team that finishes in second place is positioned to play two home playoff games.
After the league's final regular-season games Oct. 6, a day called Decision Day, playoff teams have a FIFA international week break before playoffs begin Oct. 19 and Oct. 20. A United home game would set up a possible conflict with a football game on Oct. 19 at Allianz Field between St. Thomas and St. John's.
"Clinched," Loons veteran midfielder Ethan Finlay tweeted after Wednesday's game. "Now the work begins!"
After a day off, the team resumes practice Friday.
United coach Adrian Heath praised his players in the locker room afterward, saying, "I couldn't be more proud of you because sometimes it's more than just going out and playing football. It's about what's underneath your shirt. That carries you a long way. Tonight, absolutely outstanding for what we did to keep going. Not the way we played, our belief in each other."
Dotson, a rookie, celebrated his game-winning goal in the 90th minute with a double-knee slide at one corner of the field. When the final few minutes of stoppage time ticked away and United had clinched a playoff spot, he took off his jersey and tugged on an oversized Loon head.
In the locker room later, he was reminded that fellow rookie Chase Gasper recently told him he should braid his hair. Dotson said he would if he scored another goal this season.
His game-winning goal came in the final minutes when he showed poise and patience with three touches as he worked his way toward the middle of the 18-yard box. He scored on a left-footed shot that deflected off an SKC player's backside and eluded outstretched goalkeeper Tim Melia.
"We have to start looking for [a hair] appointment," Dotson said.
A new hairdo and that Loons head he temporarily wore is about the only celebrating Dotson and his teammates planned after Wednesday's comeback victory.
"As I said to the players, this is just the start," Heath said. "We have to keep moving on. We have to keep getting better. That's what we'll do."
Another Allianz Field sellout crowd chanted players' names in timely fashion throughout the game and sang in a colored-smoke celebration at the end.
"It's a great feeling," said United goalkeeper Vito Mannone, cheered for making seven saves that including two diving ones in succession in the 26th minute with his team trailing 1-0. "You don't get this many times in your career. But when you get it, you need to enjoy it."