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Head Coach Adrian Heath

On assessing the game at Portland…

“The assessment was that we were far and away the better team, created the better chances and the players didn’t get what they deserved for the performance that they put out there. In fact, I spoke to the guys this morning, the last 188 minutes, apart from the five minutes against Dallas, we’ve been the best team, in both games. Been very apparent. Disappointing results but not disappointing performances. We have to take some confidence from that going into a huge game.”

On playing in a new formation…

“Considering only we worked on it most of last week, it couldn’t have gone any better in terms of the players understanding their roles and the responsibilities within that team shape. No, really, really solid. Kept the possession. Our ball circulation was really good. Went forward when we needed to. Didn’t expose ourselves too much in counterattack moments, which Portland [Timbers] are very good at. Overall, I can’t be anything other than extremely pleased with the performance.”

On preparing for LAFC with the quick turnaround…

“No, and now by the time you get back, it’s Sunday night and now it’s Monday morning and the game is tomorrow night. It’s not ideal but it’s the same for them [Los Angeles FC]. They were in Dallas at the weekend. They’ve got a really strong squad, a little deep squad. It’ll be interesting what team they put out. Rey [Emanuel Reynoso] is training this morning, Reynoso. We’ll see if there’s any reaction and that will dictate what we do tomorrow.”

On defensive frailties as LAFC has conceded 10 in the last five games…

“It’s just a reminder that football is not easy. People think it’s easy. They’ve [Los Angeles FC] lost four of the last five. They lost to Houston [Dynamo] the other day, who just sacked their manager because of their poor form. It just goes to show that you cannot take things for granted. You have to maintain that level. They were on course for breaking the points record and everything. It just goes to show that it can turn around very, very quickly. And it’s not easy. People think it’s easy at times. Last time I looked, the opposition want to win as well.”

On preparing to play against star players like Cristian Arango…

“Concentration levels have to be spot on. We have to make sure that when we’re attacking and the ball is deep in their half, we’re in good spots. Preventative marking, all of the stuff that you talk about. The one thing is, if you drop your guard for a split second and end up on the wrong side or you’re not concentrating, if he [Cristian Arango] gets an opportunity, invariably, he punishes you. That’s what his record suggests.”

On Gareth Bale and how to coach players to defend him…

“It’s the same sort of thing. You have to be really, really concentrated. You have to be aware of where he is at all times. He’s still got that incredible pace at times when he opens his legs. You’ve got to be weary of that. You can’t get too square with him. You can’t give him too much room. All of the usual stuff. The reason he’s had the career he’s had is because he’s got quality. If we give him time, space, good players generally show you that they’re good players.”

On the reason behind Gareth Bale’s reputation at Real Madrid…

“Obviously, we’re not fully aware of everything. The fact that he’s never made any secret of his love of playing for Wales and his golf. When he puts them in order, that order, it doesn’t go down too well with people. I think that when Gareth decides that enough’s enough, people will actually look back and go, ‘My god… what a player, what a signing he’s been for Real Madrid.’ Because the one thing that people don’t get at times is playing for Real Madrid comes with a certain pressure. You’ve got to win every game. You’ve got to win every game you play, home or away. That comes with a level of stress. He’s coped incredibly well with it over the years. No, I’m sure that when he looks back at his career at Real Madrid and what he’s done for Wales, he’ll look back with a great deal of satisfaction and he should.”

On what a victory would mean for Minnesota United…

“We could go back to fourth. It puts us in there. I said a few weeks ago, I think two wins might be enough for us. Now we’re making it harder for ourselves by them games have gone from six to four, so it’s a big game for us. There’s no getting away from that. If we play like we’ve done in the last few weeks, we’ll give ourselves a chance.”

Midfielder Wil Trapp

On his evaluation of the Portland Timbers match…

“We just watched some review on it. For a change of shape, I thought we did some really good things. Now, that’s a little bit tainted with the fact that the result didn’t go our way, but we’ve got to take the positives from it knowing that we created chances, knowing that we defended extremely well. But, there’s just those little moments, little concentration pieces that especially down the stretch here, they start to add up.”

On facing LAFC at home Tuesday night…

“They’ve been a strong team all year. Their present form doesn’t necessarily reflect that, but in terms of the quality that they have, the way they can create chances and unbalance teams is pretty special. So for us, understanding that even on short rest, how we set ourselves up, how we win our duels and then ultimately, understanding that we can hurt them in transition moments.”

On any players on LAFC that the Loons need to focus on…

“I think you look at, from the back half of the team forward, guys like Ilie Sanchez or that number six, is super important for the way that they are able to break lines and unbalance teams with their movement and passes between the lines. Then, obviously you look at the front half of the team: Chicho [Cristian Arango], [Carlos] Vela, [Gareth] Bale, you name it, they really do have quality and again it’s going to be a tough test. But at the same time, it’s one that we feel on short rest, we’re confident in.”

On if the formation changes again for Minnesota’s Tuesday night lineup and the keys to success…

“It’s about understanding your role in the matchups that you’re going to have. It’s a team that likes possession and for us, we’re going to be in moments where it’s one-v-one. We’ll be in moments where we have numbers up. So, how we read those situations, win the ball, and transition quickly to get our crowd involved, but also to create chances.”

On what he saw with the two forwards against the Timbers on Saturday…

“I was really impressed with runs behind the line that they [Mender Garcia and Luis Amarilla] both made. Really making [Dario] Zuparic, [Bill] Tuilloma and [Zac] MacGraw have to turn and run and face their own goal is never something as a defender that you want to deal with. I thought Luis and Mender both did a really good job getting us as midfield players and wingbacks many chances and the opportunity to play behind and stretch their team.”