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With a season on the line Sunday at Allianz Field, Minnesota United star Emanuel Reynoso produced in the 39th minute both the winning goal and more of his own mythology in a 2-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City.

A Loons team that trailed after just eight minutes made Reynoso's successful penalty kick stand as that winner all afternoon after teammate Franco Fragapane tied the score in the 20th minute.

The victory moved the Loons from the Western Conference's eighth place – just below the playoff cut line — to fifth. It also moved them just one point behind fourth-place Portland — and the last home playoff game in standings that change by the day, if not the hour, with one game left for Minnesota.

Coach Adrian Heath called last week's 1-1 home draw with Los Angeles FC his team's best game this season. He deemed Sunday's match its best victory. In between, the Loons lost 2-1 at Vancouver and fell below that playoff line.

"It was the best result considering the pressure the players were under," Heath said. "Today was a big, big game for the club, big for the players. Going into a game knowing you have to win the game is a different mentality."

Reynoso scored the winner with a confident sleight-of-foot trick that fooled Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia in the most pressured-packed of situations.

Reynoso pulled off his own "Panenka" – named after the Czech player who popularized the decelerating, chipped penalty kick that won the 1976 Euro final – after Reynoso, with some theatrics,drew a foul in the penalty area shortly before halftime.

"The guy's magic," teammate Chase Gasper said. "I did not expect that, especially in a situation like that. I think it surprises everyone. Then when you think it's Rey, it doesn't really surprise you. He's always pulling tricks out of his sleeve."

Loons striker Adrien Hunou collected the ball after the foul on Reynoso. After a brief conversation, Reynoso took the ball and placed it on the 12-yard mark for himself.

"Adrien grabbed it, but I was confident," Reynoso said in Spanish through a team interpreter. "They had given me the penalty. I decided to grab it and thank God that Adrien didn't have a problem with that."

It was the Loons' first made penalty kick this season – and only their second attempted after Ramon Abila missed one.

Reynoso said he chose to pooch this one — Melia guessed left, the ball rose and fell where Melia originally stood – after he consulted with Loons backup goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas.

"Because we never really get penalties, the goalkeepers don't know how we kick," Reynoso said. "So I was able to chip it."

As the Loons' most-gifted player, Reynoso has earned the right to call his shot.

"There's not an awful lot I can do when he picks the ball up," Heath said. "He has so much confidence in his own ability. You can see that the way he plays. When he plays like he did in moments today, I always say he's maybe the most talented footballer in the league. He can do things that nobody else can do."

BOXSCORE: Loons 2, Sporting KC 1 | MLS standings table

Heath praised his team's performance, saying it took "a lot of grit and determination, a lot of belief, a lot of courage." He also criticized supporters or media members who might have lost the faith.

"As I said last week, the world wasn't over when we lost to Colorado and or when we lost to Vancouver," he said. "Everything is great when we win and everything is so much doom and gloom when we lose. We are always somewhere in between because that's the nature of the game."

The seventh-place L.A. Galaxy plays on Monday, sixth-place Vancouver and ninth-place LAFC play against each other Tuesday and eighth-place Real Salt Lake and Portland play against each other on Wednesday, Those results will determine what the Loons must do in their season finale Sunday at the Galaxy.

"We've got a few results to go, don't we?" Heath said. "The next few days will give us an idea how important it will be. Certainly, it's going to be a huge game."