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Somebody asked Minnesota United coach Eric Ramsay a simple, single question after Wednesday's 5-3 runaway loss at FC Dallas:

What happened?

"That's a good question," he replied.

If anything, Ramsay said he would have expected his shorthanded team to have struggled with the ball, but defended more professionally without it.

Instead, a Loons team missing nine players either gone away for Copa America international duty, injured, suspended or just not playing did the opposite.

They extended their winless streak to three games and are 1-3-2 in their last six. They're currently fourth in the Western Conference, five points behind both L.A. teams and a point ahead of fifth-place Colorado.

The Loons controlled parts of the first half creating changes, but they couldn't convert except for Bongokuhle Hlongwane's corner-kick header goal in the 32nd minute that was sandwiched around the first two of FC Dallas star striker and designated player Petar Musa's first MLS hat trick.

Hlongwane and Hassani Dotson answered Musa's first two goals with tying goals of their own, but they had no counter for the final three that were surrendered individually and far too easily — other than Wil Trapp's late penalty kick in second half stoppage after Dallas already lead 5-2.

It was the Loons' first penalty kick awarded this season. Dotson's goal was his second in 11 days against FC Dallas and the fourth of his career against them.

"If I was betting man, I would have said we'd be a strong defensive team tonight," Ramsay said on a video call afterward. "I thought it we had issues, it'd be more with how well we used the ball. We created good spells of control in the game, really impressive in that area. But we conceded five goals. We come away really disappointed. "

FC Dallas hadn't scored five goals in a game since 2021.

Ramsay estimated his team's "Expected Goals" stat — based on where and how a shot was taken — was over three.

"That's not where we lost the game," he said. "We lost the game based on goals we conceded and the key incidents that led to that. When we made mistakes, we were punished for it."

Ramsay attributed Wednesday's struggles to a back-three defensive line that has not played much together, players playing out of their natural positions and the sheer numbers of players unavailable to play.

"You have a really disappointed dressing room in there because they know full well our circumstances. We've done enough across large spells tonight to have won the game," Ramsay said. "Aside from those uncharacteristic moments of defending that didn't resemeble the group we are. That's the most disappointing thing."

BOXSCORE: Dallas 5, Loons 3

Leading goal scorer Tani Oluwaseyi and starting goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair are both with their Canadian national team. Star striker Teemu Pukki is out because of an injury sustained early in international play. Midfielder Kervin Arriaga was neither starter or sub.

When asked if his absence is related to transfer rumors and next month's transfer window, Ramsay said, "I can only say it's a personnel issue. Other than that, I can't say. We'll leave it at that."

With so many players unavailable, the Loons signed MNUFC2 players Kage Romanshyn Jr., Molik Jesse Khan and Finn McRobb to short-term agreements so all three were available to play on Wednesday. But none were called to use one of the limited short-term callups they're allowed from the second team.

Ramsay was asked if he still sees hope in sight with the Copa America tournament just starting and the other players absent as well. He called his team positive and pragmatic.

"I always see hope," he said. "I saw hope prior to this game. I saw hope prior to the game in Seattle because we're got a group very willing to throw themselves into a challenge. We look hard at ourselves after games like this, but we are also realistic and I am absolutely adamant that we are off to a good thing here. We remain very calm, very level and we come out of it on the other side with lessons learned and everyone better for it."

The Star Tribune did not send the writer of this article to the game. This was written using a broadcast, interviews and other material.