After all that has, or hasn't, transpired in its current six-game winless streak, Minnesota United still can advance to the MLS Cup playoffs for a fourth consecutive season.
The Loons can do so with a victory or draw on Sunday's "Decision Day" against streaking Vancouver before what's expected to be a record home crowd at Allianz Field.
The Loons also can still earn a home playoff game late in a season in which everything else around them seemingly has fallen just right, except for what the Loons have done themselves.
"It's crazy, I know," coach Adrian Heath said.
Clinging to seventh place in the Western Conference, the Loons face a Vancouver team that has won its past three games, all at home.
If the Loons lose, they'll miss the playoffs for the first time since their second MLS season in 2018.
"What with the World Cup, it's going to be a long, long break if we don't make it this weekend," Heath said. "It'd give us a bit of time to think about what's gone on."
This season ends with the MLS Cup final on Nov. 5 scheduled to finish two weeks before the World Cup begins in Qatar.
What's gone on is a late-season collapse in which the Loons have taken just one point from 18 points possible after they last won, beating Houston on Aug. 27.
The Loons entered Decision Day a year ago needing a victory or draw as well. They hung on for a 3-3 tie at LA Galaxy when both teams knew in the final ticking minutes one team was headed home for the season after Real Salt Lake concurrently scored a 95th-minute winning goal at Sporting Kansas City.
The Loons became the first team in a full MLS season since 1999 to make the playoffs after starting 0-4.
This time, they're trying to make the postseason after going 0-5-1 late in the season.
Heath said those six games have included a couple of performances in which his team deserved better than it got — and more than it deserved, including Saturday's 2-0 loss at last-place San Jose.
"We can't hide the fact that there has been three, four performances that have not been good enough," Heath said. "The weekend was one of them. I was really disappointment in our commitment with what was at stake. Our energy levels were really poor trying to get a result. As a staff, we have to take responsibility for that."
Heath was asked Tuesday how he can ensure there won't be another low-energy performance with all that's at stake.
"I can't ensure it, I never can ensure it," Heath said. "At the end of the day, you put the players you hope in the right frame of mind, in the right system to go get your result. The one thing I do know is that without a fight and a drive and a desire and an enthusiasm, you don't win games of football."
The Loons will play on with starting midfielder Kervin Arriaga suspended because of yellow-card accumulation and with veteran Robin Lod questionable. Lod worked on his own with a trainer at Tuesday's training and Heath said he hopes Lod will join the group Friday or Saturday before they determine if he's fit for Sunday.
The Loons know what it's like to play 33 games only to play the 34th and final one with everything at stake.
"I think about last year, same thing," Loons midfielder and captain Wil Trapp said. "Ultimately, it's focusing on the 90-95 minutes we have on the field. If we take care of that, nothing else really matters."
Like last season, you can consider the Loons' regular-season finale the playoffs before the playoffs. This time, they'll play it at home.
"We've turned it into that sort of the game the way we've played the last few games," Loons defender Michael Boxall said. "I think with the circumstances, there's no other one we want than in front of our fans. We've got the full week to prepare for Sunday. We know there's a lot of things we have to tidy up. We need everyone's best performance to make sure we have further games after that."
Sunday is fan appreciation day at Allianz Field, and the club is asking supporters to create a unified "black out" by wearing black.