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In describing the process of how a character went bankrupt in his novel, "The Sun Also Rises," Ernest Hemingway gave the perfect description for many aspects of life: "Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly."

It's an apt way to think about the end of the road for yet another Minnesota head coach — Loons manager Adrian Heath, who was let go Friday with two games left in a disappointing Major League Soccer season.

At least from an outside perspective, Heath's tenure — this is his seventh year, and he's been the club's only manager since moving to MLS in 2017 — has been teetering on the brink of collapse for a couple of years.

The Loons started 0-4 in 2021, needing a sprint to the finish to make the playoffs for a third consecutive year. They made it back again last year, becoming the only Western Conference team to make the postseason every year from 2019-22 — a fact Heath justifiably used in his defense to deflect criticism of his style or results.

But aside from a spirited run to the semifinals during the 2020 COVID season, Heath's Loons have been one-and-done in the playoffs. That backdrop and the first 25 matches of this season, another in-the-hunt slog, were the "gradually" part of Heath's ultimate undoing.

As I talked about on Friday's Daily Delivery podcast — sentiments expressed just hours before he was officially fired — the "suddenly" part came in the last seven matches, and particularly in a 5-1 defeat at LAFC on Wednesday.

That lopsided defeat, in which Heath either stubbornly or reluctantly played a similar lineup to the one that had produced winless results in the Loons' previous six matches, not only torpedoed any realistic chance of a playoff berth but also seemed to push a lot of supporters over the edge.

More importantly, it was enough for Loons owner Dr. Bill McGuire to say enough is enough. That sentiment was expressed in a team news release with this quote from CEO Shari Ballard: "This was a difficult decision, but we believe that the time is right to move in a new direction."

When you know, you know.

Just as years of heartbreak caught up with former Gophers football coach Glen Mason in one spectacular bowl game meltdown. Just as a blowout loss to the Packers finished off former Vikings coach Brad Childress. Just as years of job speculation came to a head when Mike Yeo's Wild lost 13 of 14 games.

"The Sun Also Rises" boils down to one, long existential crisis — which is how some of the most vocal Loons fans might describe the Heath era.

I would describe it differently: A respectable but unspectacular seven-year run punctuated by some questionable tactical and lineup decisions, but a tenure during which Heath did reasonably well with limited resources.

The Loons are in the bottom five of league payroll this season, and they've generally been in the bottom third in recent years. Heath's teams were resilient, and that shouldn't be taken for granted.

On a personal level, Heath was always an enjoyable and engaging personality. I interviewed him multiple times for the Daily Delivery podcast and always found him to be both genuine and interesting — whether the subject was soccer or any of his other various interests.

During one particularly memorable session, I got him going about his critics.

"Hindsight United has never lost," Heath said. "Everybody I speak to says, 'In hindsight ...' Well I haven't got hindsight. I have to pick the team two or three days before (a match) and work on the team's shape. People have always got a really good opinion of what we should have done after the event."

Hindsight United never lost, but Minnesota United did. Heath is gone, and now we'll see if he was part of the problem or someone who was making the best of a flawed situation.