It is said that bad things come in threes, and after their third straight loss, the Loons are hoping the saying proves true as they gear up for a double-match week. Minnesota United put up a good fight in a very difficult place to play on Saturday night, which is something to be proud of. However, the final results become almost more disheartening when the effort is there but the execution is wanting. Over the course of this busy week ahead, MNUFC will need to take what they’ve learned these past few matches and add that extra cutting edge to find success once more.
“I’ve criticized the players for their performance in Chicago, nowhere else,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath. “I can’t criticize the players for their effort this evening. We’ve come to a very difficult place and I thought the game was very even. In general play, I didn’t feel we were ever in real danger. So no, in terms of the effort from the guys, I’m really pleased with the effort they put in this evening.”
It is difficult as a team to consistently put in the work but miss out on the rewards. However, the Loons have strong determination and will not let their heads hang low.
“It’s really tough for me,” said DJ Taylor. “I feel like the last few games, even though we’ve lost, we’ve been playing really well. It’s kind of like you get tired of losing. Maybe in the first five games, you could say we didn’t play as well as we have been, and we still got the results. The game is all about small margins. Anything can happen. I think we just take this with a grain of salt and just keep moving on. We learn from it and don’t put our heads down. We have a busy month - we’ve got [U.S.] Open Cup on Tuesday and [FC] Dallas at home, which is a huge game for us. For now, just look at the video and move on and keep coming together. Hopefully, our performances will finish off with results.”
Despite the losing streak, MNUFC have been playing as well, if not better, than they have all season over these past couple of weeks. The defense has consistently proven a force to be reckoned with, and the offense has created some real chances on the counterattack – the team just needs to find a way to ensure the points reflect that.
“I thought our defensive shape was excellent,” said Heath. “I thought the back four marshaled their attacking threat very, very well. We had a lapse at the end on the throw-in, allowed the ball to come into people’s feet and then he [Albert Rusnák] set it up. It’s a good finish from him, but disappointing from our point of view because in general play, nearly all evening, I didn’t think they caused many problems – not like they normally do here. So there’s been a lot of good stuff, but if I could be a little bit critical, I don’t think we caused them enough problems in forward areas.”
Defender DJ Taylor would agree with the need to be more clinical in the attack. “I think we were just lacking a little bit of composure,” said Taylor. “On a couple of the counters we did have, the final action, the final shot, the final cross, whatever it was, we lacked a little composure in the finer details. It’s just about being sharp in the final third and having some composure in the goals. If we get a shot, let’s get it on target. Let’s create chances. I think that’s some of what we were lacking tonight.”
With a busy week ahead, including a U.S. Open Cup match in Detroit, Minnesota United has an opportunity to bounce back and find their footing once more.
“I think it will be good. The U.S. Open Cup is always fun,” said Taylor. “The good thing about having a quick turnaround is we only have time to react and move forward. I think the Open Cup will be a good challenge for us, especially after what happened last year – we’ve definitely got some bad blood to settle. I think the game in Detroit will be a good one. They beat Columbus [Crew] last time, so we have to give them the respect they deserve. We’re also going to go there to show our dominance and play the way that we play and get back to how we were doing when we were undefeated.”
There will be no time to pump the brakes this week, having to travel from Seattle to Detroit, and then immediately back home for the FC Dallas match. Perhaps this non-stop barrage of soccer will help ignite the team once more. A win against Detroit City FC followed by a double knockout of Western Conference foes FC Dallas would certainly be a beautiful thing to see. Get those scarf-wielding arms and vocal cords ready because a busy week for the Loons means a busy week for the fans, and Wonderwall is just begging to be sung.
Detroit City FC vs. Minnesota United FC
Keyworth Stadium | Hamtramck, Michigan
04.25.23 | U.S. Open Cup Third Round