Minnesota United season ends in 3-1 loss at Portland Timbers

Minnesota United midfielder Emanuel Reynoso (10) looks for a pass chased by Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Chara (21) during the Portland Timbers game Minnesota United first round MLS Cup Playoffs match on November 21, 2021, at Providence Park, Po ((Photo by Diego Diaz/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images))

The Minnesota United 2021 season came to an end Sunday night in a 3-1 loss at the Portland Timbers in the opening round of the Major League Soccer playoffs.

The Loons never panicked despite an 0-4 start to the season, earning a No. 5 seed in the Western Conference Playoffs and Sunday’s trip to Portland. Minnesota United had beaten the Timbers twice this season, and got the first goal of the game in the 11th minute from Franco Fragapane.

But the Timbers answered with three straight goals, including tying the game 1-1 in the 43rd minute, just before the end of the first half. Portland added goals in the 61st and 66th minutes to pull away for the win over the Loons.

Minnesota United had to make an emergency move and start Dayne St. Clair at keeper, after starter Tyler Miller tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the day. Midfielder Ethan Finlay was also not available to play after suffering a concussion in training.

"Everybody can’t make the playoffs and everybody didn’t. And so, pleased to the players efforts. I think we didn't give ourselves much room for error with the start. With that start there's only I think four teams haven't qualified for the playoffs. So, you know, the players are certainly responding," Loons coach Adrian Heath said after the loss. "We’ll come back hopefully stronger. For certainly this is the best group we've had since I've been here. So, if we can add to it, which is going to be the objective in the offseason, to add one or two pieces with it, make us stronger in certain areas, then that's what we're going to do."

Minnesota United finishes the season 13-12-10, and in the playoffs for the third straight season.

The Loons announced on Monday they’ll open the 2022 regular season out east on Saturday, Feb. 26, at Philadelphia Union. Minnesota United will host Nashville SC for its home opener at Allianz Field on Saturday, March 5 at 5 p.m.