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Head Coach Adrian Heath

On having some time off to recuperate…

“Obviously the guys that played all the minutes got bit in the buildup to the break, it’s been nice to get them a bit of time off. The break has come at a really good time for the seven or eight injured that we’ve got, who now, are a lot closer to being available for selection. The likes of [Emanuel] Reynoso, [Franco] Fragapane is back out working, Robin Lod, Niko Hansen, the list goes on, Juan Agudelo. But hey, they’re all a lot closer now to being available.”

On having some success on the road over the last several matches and going to Seattle this weekend…

“Keep the run going as well. You look at where the table is now, everybody is bunching up now in and around that playoff line, so it’s important to put a little bit of gap between one or two of us. The fact that one or two played this weekend, it’s closed up again. We’ve got a huge week coming up, we know that. We go to one of the most difficult places in the league in Seattle on Saturday, and the we got to Kansas who are never easy, and then we’ve got the Galaxy. big week coming up for us.”

On the Sounders being a little more fragile than in the previous matchups this season…

“They’ve had a few…but they started the season incredible, didn’t they. They broke the record for going as long as they did without losing and we were there at the opening day of the season and even though we played well for an hour, that’s not enough in Seattle. We know what’s coming. They’re incredibly well organized, they’ve changed the system and they’ve not missed a beat. Which is a testimony of the work [Brian Schmetzer] and his staff have done. We know it’s difficult there. We’ve generally played quite well, and not had the results that our performances have deserved at times. Certainly, we know we’re going to have to play well this weekend, we know that.”

On any individual on the Sounders he’s looking at paying closer attention to…

“Well, where do you start? Is it [Raul] Ruidiaz, where you know that if you drop your concentration level for a split second, invariable he finds a spot and scores? Is it Nico Lodeiro from somewhere, creating an incredible pass? I think Cristian Roldan has developed into a really good offensive player. He’s always had that work rate but now he’s creating things as well. Is it Brad Smith, coming in late from behind? You can keep going. All I know is it’s going to have to be a really good collective performance. If we do, I know that we have talent, I know that Brian Schmetzer is smart enough to know that if they don’t play well and we do, we have more than enough to win the game.”

On if this is the biggest week of the season for Minnesota United, give the next three opponents…

“Yea, it is. I think so because we’ve got games after that we’d look at and think this is an opportunity for us. Nine points at this stage, in a week, against teams in and around us, is going to be big. As I say, that little gap that we’ve had has enabled us to get one or two of our better players available. The difference-makers. Robin Lod makes a difference for us. [Emanuel] Reynoso, [Franco] Fragapane. Them all are a lot closer to playing than they were two weeks ago.”

Midfielder Hassani Dotson

On how he’s feeling having a few days off…

“There’s been a lot of games, and some of us have some injuries, so I think the break has allowed us to focus more on recovery and slowly build back up our fitness.”

On the vibe of the group after a few days off…
“Like you said, it’s good for us to have the time off but then we need to build back up the game fitness to get ready and we’re seeing a lot of faces that were out injured. I’m very glad to have them back.”

On what he expects out of this weekend’s matchup against Seattle…

“Expecting a tough matchup. It’s away at [Lumen Field] and they’re a very good team but we have a lot to prove to ourselves. I’m expecting a really gritty performance from us I just can’t wait to get back on stretch of things.”

On any individual on the Sounders he’s looking at paying closer attention to…

“They have a number of guys, [Raul] Ruidiaz is scoring goals. Cristian Roldan and Joao Paulo are the heartbeats of their team. Their defense is doing well. I think they have a pretty complete team but we always pick ourselves to win any match.”

On getting a good result out of an away match in Houston…

“It boosted moral, especially with the two results we had before. It was nice to get a road win in Houston, which they have a good, but obviously, haven’t gotten the results they would like. I think that was a very important win for us at a difficult place as well.”

Midfielder Ethan Finlay

On having a few days off…

“We all needed a little bit of a rest, us healthy guys and then give then injured guys a little bit of extra time to get back and hopefully get ready for this weekend.”

On how he would view the season for Minnesota so far…

“If you take away the first four games and the start we had, we’d be the third best team in the league. If you could do that, you’d say ‘wow, we’re doing great. We’re right back where we were when we ended last season and picking up, kind of, where we left off.’ But we didn’t. We started slow and put ourselves a little bit behind the 8 ball. But I love the response from the group. We’ve been tested with the depth with the injuries throughout the summertime, we’ve had guys away for international duty and it’s been a next man up kind of attitude. We’ve had guys step up. Brent Kallman has been stepping in and that’s always a tough position to be in and then keep getting shutouts and keep getting defensive results. Defensively, we’ve been fantastic. 22 or 23-some goals against this season, it’s a testament to those guys in the backline, to Tyler [Miller]. I think we’re right on par with where we want to be. We’re positioned in a good place but now we’ve got to start to get some results on the road.”

On getting a good result out of an away match in Houston…

“I think it gave us that confidence that we know we can do it. We’ve been so close. Going back to the Seattle game at the start of the year, we were the best team for 60 minutes but you look at the score line, we got walloped. It was a little bit of validation that this group can go on the road. We still have some scars from that Colorado game, two-nothing on the road, right? We know we can get results on the road. Coming out with a two-one, gritty, maybe ugly, performance in Houston gives us a little validation that ok, we can do this, we can close this thing out. You’re going to need that attitude going to places like Seattle, places like Kansas City. You might have to make the game a little bit ugly and for to withstand the late pressure Houston put on us and get a result on the road, was great for confidence, not only for the guys on the field, but even for the guys back here. There was a lot of guys texting after that game what an important win. Everyone was drawn into that game and knew how important it was.”

On the Sounders being a little more fragile than in the previous matchups this season…

“Yea, I’m tempted not to agree with them being fragile because I know how deadly they can be. They’ve struggled a little bit at home as of recent and that means they’re going to be extremely hungry and have urgency on that side of the ball for them. We gotta be patient. Last time we played them, for 60 minutes we were the better team and we just didn’t put away our chances. This game is going to be similar in the fact that we might control some possession, we might control some of the tempo of the game but it’s what we do with it. I think goals change games and we get a goal in that first game, I think it changes the game. Scoring the first goal on Saturday afternoon will be extremely important for how that game will go.”

On if this is the biggest week of the season for Minnesota United, give the next three opponents…

“Without a doubt. Biggest week of the year for us. You don’t make or break your season with this week but there’s an opportunity to set ourselves up to be in contention for…in the top three in the West. And on the other side, there’s team right behind us so we have to be diligent about understanding that managing guys over three games, managing results. There may be a point late in the game where it’s ok and understanding that we’re on the road and you might have to pack it in and move on to the home game on the weekend. We’ll have to address that as the week goes on. We give ourselves some breathing room if you go out and get the three points right away on Saturday and we’ll approach Wednesday and the following Saturday appropriately.”

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