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Minnesota United FC

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The first MLS playoff game in Minnesota United FC history will also be the first postseason game in the league for star Los Angeles Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Sunday night's clash in St. Paul, Minn., is the final match of the opening weekend of the playoffs, but it may not be as pressure-packed for Minnesota as it seems. While the Loons are new to the MLS playoffs' win-or-go-home format, they are very familiar with the concept from earlier this season.

Minnesota faced an elimination game five times in this summer's U.S. Open Cup tournament and made it all the way to the final against Atlanta United FC, the eventual winners.

The Loons are coming off a 1-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders in the regular-season finale that dropped them to a No. 4 playoff seed. Now they are looking to extend a noteworthy season marked by the opening of their new stadium.

The teams played to a 0-0 tie on April 24 in the third-ever MLS game at Allianz Field. The Galaxy defeated Minnesota United 3-2 at Los Angeles on March 16.

"Our experienced players are going to have to show up," Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath said to mlssoccer.com. "Our back four is going to have to show up. They have (Uriel) Antuna on one side, (Cristian) Pavon on the other side and Zlatan through the middle. There's a lot of goals there."

The matchup to watch will be Loons defender Ike Opara, the MLS defender of the year, against Ibrahimovic, the runner-up for the league's Golden Boot with 30 goals scored.

"I don't focus on defenders like (Opara), I try to help my teammates, I try to help my team win, create chances for myself, create chances for my teammates and that's how you win the game," Ibrahimovic said. "It's not a battle of one against one. It's a collective thing."

The Galaxy could also see the return of midfielder Romain Alessandrini, who has been out since April 13 with a knee injury.

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GAMES

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W 44% L 56%
4 5
  • @Los Angeles FC L 3 - 5
  • @Minnesota United FC W 2 - 1
  • @Houston Dynamo L 2 - 4
  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC L 4 - 3
  • @Real Salt Lake W 2 - 1
  • Montreal Impact W 1 - 2
  • Sporting Kansas City W 2 - 7
  • @Colorado Rapids L 1 - 2
  • @Seattle Sounders FC L 3 - 4
  • @Los Angeles FC D 3 - 3
W 43% L 57%
3 4
  • LA Galaxy L 2 - 1
  • @Seattle Sounders FC L 0 - 1
  • Los Angeles FC D 1 - 1
  • Sporting Kansas City W 1 - 2
  • @Portland Timbers D 0 - 0
  • Real Salt Lake W 1 - 3
  • @Houston Dynamo L 0 - 2
  • @Los Angeles FC W 2 - 0
  • @Sporting Kansas City L 0 - 1
  • Orlando City SC D 1 - 1

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  • LA Galaxy @ Minnesota United FC 2-1
  • LA Galaxy @ Minnesota United FC 0-0
  • Minnesota United FC @ LA Galaxy 2-3
  • LA Galaxy @ Minnesota United FC 3-1
  • Minnesota United FC @ LA Galaxy 2-2
  • Minnesota United FC @ LA Galaxy 0-3
  • LA Galaxy @ Minnesota United FC 2-1