Coach Adrian Heath said before his team's inaugural MLS season that he liked how many of his players -- a number of whom ascended with the club from the NASL -- had chips on their shoulders and points to prove.
After a month, when Minnesota had bled 18 goals in four games, that felt like a hollow excuse for a roster compiled on the cheap. Now that United has steadied itself and pulled within two points of a playoff spot, Heath's sentiments help explain how his resilient squad weathered such a horrid start.
Minnesota has an opportunity to increase its standing further on Sunday afternoon, when it hosts an LA Galaxy team (5 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN) ahead only on goal difference.
The bounce back could prove temporary, of course. Minnesota is averaging just a point per game, which is not exactly playoff pace. Even in parity-flattened MLS, money spent is a decent predictor of success, and United's payroll is second lowest in the Western Conference.