See more of the story

Some players are additions. Some are multipliers.

Minnesota has seen its share of multipliers who made an immediate impact. Jack Morris. Brett Favre. Lindsay Whalen. Maya Moore. Randy Moss.

Emanuel Reynoso is a multiplier, if not an exponent; an athlete who makes those around him better, who elevates a franchise and possesses the power to lift fans from their couches.

Monday night, Reynoso continued one of the most remarkable postseason runs in Minnesota history, scoring one goal and assisting on another to give Minnesota United a two-goal lead in an MLS conference final in Seattle.

Of course, Minnesota history is littered with great players who never won a championship. The Loons gave up three second-half goals to lose 3-2.

In the first half of the first half, Reynoso was all but invisible, one touch pass being the extent of his contribution. The score was nil-nil, and neither team had managed a true scoring threat.

Then Ethan Finlay was fouled, and Reynoso lined up for a free kick from about 30 yards from the goal.

Facing a line of defenders, he somehow squeezed a shot between two of their heads, curving it to the right side of the goal, where it deflected off the outside post and banked in for a 1-0 lead.

Bend it like Bebelo.

Bebelo is his family nickname. \"Rey\" is his nickname around teammates. As the FS1 announcers noted, \"Rey\" in Spanish means \"King.\"

Before Rey arrived in Minnesota, the Loons were a nice local team with a passionate group of fans who could talk of patiently building a winner while sounding like every other team that hadn't won anything yet.

With Reynoso playing quarterback, Minnesota United, a fourth seed, won two playoff games by a 3-0 score, setting up their showdown in Seattle on Monday night. The winner would advance to Saturday's championship match at Columbus.

The player who transformed the Loons cost them a $5 million transfer fee, or what the Twins usually pay their utility infielder. Reynoso may be the greatest bargain since unbottled water.

Rey dominated MLS royalty Monday night, looking transcendent on the home field of the team that has won two of the past four league titles.

In his first two MLS playoff games, Reynoso became the first player in league history to record two three-assist playoff games.

He's the kind of player who can attract the fan who revered fellow Argentine Maradona, and the fan who, when hearing the word \"soccer,\" thinks \"Ted Lasso.\"

Seattle had one apparent goal wiped out by a foul and hit a post with a long shot.

Shortly after Jordan Morris' rocket shot caromed off that post, Reynoso blasted a long kick on a set piece into the box, where Bakaye Dibassy flicked a header into the right side of the net, giving Reynoso eight points in his first three MLS playoff games. Meaning he had accounted for all eight of the Loons' goals.

Reynoso, at 25 years old, has the most assists in a single postseason in MLS history.

In most American team sports, the best players spend the most time with the ball. Reynoso seems to spend as little time with it as possible, flicking the ball instantly to an open teammate or open space.

So many MLS players look like they're playing 1-on-11. Reynoso seems to perpetually create 2-on-1 breaks.

But Reynoso was not a major factor late in the second half, as Minnesota, playing on short rest, seemed to tire and Seattle attacked relentlessly. Reynoso's two moments couldn't match Seattle's stronger overall play.

\"It's a cruel game,\" Loons coach Adrian Heath said. \"The most important thing is that we're moving forward ... I feel like we're very close to having a top-notch team.\"

The Loons have found their star and made their first playoff run.

It would be tempting Minnesota-style sports fate to predict future playoff success, but there is no question the Loons have found their franchise player.

Jim Souhan's podcast can be heard at TalkNorth.com. On Twitter: @SouhanStrib. • jsouhan@startribune.com