After so much momentum and so many scoring chances Saturday night, Minnesota United left Allianz Field with nothing to show from a late 1-0 loss to desperate Sporting Kansas City.
Second-half substitute midfielder Gadi Kinda's counterattack goal in the 84th minute was the difference on a night the Loons' regular-season unbeaten streak ended at seven games, dating to early July,
That's one short of tying the club's regular-season record.
Afterward, coach and players expressed their disappointment and frustration in their inability to score a single goal and to prevent the goal they did concede. They also expressed their unhappiness with officiating — or rather lack thereof — just before the go-ahead goal.
"Obviously, hugely disappointed," Loons coach Adrian Heath said. "If you reflect on the game, it's not a fair result. … It was always going to be tight and the first goal always was going to be massive. We had a couple great chances to get that first goal.
"When you don't take them, you always leave yourself susceptible when you're pushing as many men forward as we were."
That the Loons did.
The Loons pushed forward repeatedly in the second half. They missed scoring chances on Teemu Pukki's stopped-short shot in the 73rd minute and Michael Boxall's header goal in the 78th that was immediately ruled offsides.
"It's one of them he probably thinks he should have scored," Heath said about Pukki's big chance.
The Loons dropped one spot in the Western Conference standings, from seventh to eighth in a season when nine of 14 teams will make the playoffs. They are two points ahead of both ninth-place Kansas City — which moved up three places — and 10th-place Dallas.
The Loons have six games remaining in their regular season with their streak of four consecutive playoff appearances on the line. Heath predicted his team will have to win two of them — maybe more — to get back to the playoffs.
They have won only three times in 14 home games this season. This time they didn't even have a draw to show for their efforts, as they have done eight times.
"To not come away with anything is a disappointment," Heath said.
They outdid Sporting KC 14-6 in shots taken and 5-2 in shots on target on a night their goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair had relatively little to do.
At least as compared to Tim Melia's frantic second half for Kansas City. He stopped, among others, Pukki on a seemingly certain goal in that 73rd minute.
Heath and his players argued that their star Emanuel Reynoso was pulled down at one end of the field — potentially drawing a second yellow card and a game ejection from a Kansas City player.
"It's a foul in front of me," Heath said. "Rey gets his shirt pulled. That's clear as day for everybody to see but then we should have done better at the other end."
No call came. At the other end, Kinda scored the winner by taking a long pass lofted forward and turned it into a two-touch goal inside the 18-yard box.
"Who didn't see it?" Boxall said about the no-call foul. "You want these supposed competent referees to not make mistakes in moments that lead to game-making decisions. The referee is not far away. The linesman is right there, The fourth official is there.
"One of them has to do their job and make the right call. That was pretty frustrating. I'm not too happy about that. Every week you expect better, but every week you're surprised."
Boxall didn't have the same complaints about his goal disallowed.
"I saw it on the screen," Boxall said. "Looks like it was the right call. What was it? A half a yard maybe? Just split-second timing."
Pukki was one of three Loons players back on the game-day roster after they missed last weekend's 1-1 home draw with New England because they were away on international duty.
Joseph Rosales and Sang Bin Jeong both were designated as substitutes. Jeong entered in the 63rd minute. Veteran Bakaye Dibassy started and played all 90 minutes on a night when center back Micky Tapias (thigh) was out. So, too, was captain Wil Trapp (illness).