Six points away from a home playoff game with six regular-season games remaining, Minnesota United clings to the Western Conference's seventh and final playoff spot by a point.
Can the Loons rebound from Sunday's 3-1 home loss to Colorado that coach Adrian Heath called "hugely" disappointing, particularly because his team played with a man advantage the final 35-plus minutes?
"Well, we have to, don't we?" Heath said Tuesday. "We're still in a playoff position, but we made it more difficult for ourselves than it was before the game on Sunday."
The Rapids scored three unanswered goals after defender Danny Wilson's red-card foul sent him off in the 56th minute. So Colorado played on with 10 men.
All the Loons managed with or without the advantage was Adrien Hunou's eighth-minute goal, despite their many later chances.
"It would have been a great opportunity for us," Heath said. "We're in a position where it's in our hands now. We've got [eighth-place] Vancouver, got [sixth-place] L.A. [Galaxy] to play. You look at everybody's fixtures and it's crazy. Everybody is playing each other all the way through now."
Six Loons players — including four important starters — missing Sunday will return from national-team duty and personal leave before Saturday's game at Austin FC, their health and condition not known until they arrive.
Starting defensive midfielder Wil Trapp trained Tuesday after he didn't play Sunday because of the birth of his second son. Right back Romain Metanire was due back Tuesday night, attacker Robin Lod and defender Michael Boxall are expected back by Thursday.
Without half their starting back-line available, Brent Kallman subbed for Boxall and D.J. Taylor for Metanire on Sunday.
"It's not ideal," Heath said. "Only a couple days with the travel. They're coming from all corners of the world, but we'll have to be ready. We've got like six Cup finals left — three left at home, three away. There are implications in every game we play."
The Loons have not had their entire team together for an extended period this season because of injuries, international duty and in-season signings.
"That's every team," Trapp said. "Of course, we'd love everybody healthy all the time, but all we can do now is just prepare for who's available and get the job done on the field."
They have six games left to do so.
"It has been frustrating at times," Heath said. "Obviously at the weekend four of your starters are not playing, people who have an influence in the group. It has an effect on you. You can complain, but as long as we keep playing fixtures on international dates, this is going to get worse because our league is getting better and more and more players are coming with high quality.
"You're bringing in players who are international footballers because that's the way the league is now."
It's a ... boy?
Trapp and wife Beth's second son, Charlie, was born Sunday morning some 18 hours early and fewer than six hours before Loons kickoff.
"I called Adrian, I was at the hospital with no idea how long it'd take," Trapp said. "We were pleasantly surprised with the timing, but it just a little too tight for everything. … We definitely thought it was going to be a girl and Charlie just popped out. So I'm a father of two boys now, which is kind of a crazy idea."
Older son Theo turns 2 on Sunday.