Minnesota United snatched all three points from home against traveling Real Salt Lake this past Saturday with a four-goal victory. It was the first win in MLS history for the expansion franchise, which now has four points and some positive momentum to build on moving forward. Here is what the team had to say following the win.
Head Coach Adrian Heath
On getting that first win:
"Yeah, wasn't the start that we wanted but I thought that showed a lot about the group tonight. When you've conceded the goals that we have and then you concede after three minutes through another error. I think there's been a real buzz about the guys and I'm just so pleased for everybody connected with the team: ownership, supporters, players, everybody. Because it's never easy when you have the start we had, it wasn't going to be easy. And next week we go to Houston, then we go to Dallas. Two home games out of seven, it's not easy with the teams that we've played. But the players have kept going, they've kept coming in every day and training really hard. As I said to Christian Ramirez, I'm a big believer in 'you get out of life what you put in.' And the amount of work he's put in, he deserves the goal he got when Rimando made a mistake. But without him challenging the keeper and running 30 yards to do that, he doesn't get that opportunity. Pleased for a lot of the players as well."
On when he could relax:
"When he blew the whistle. I'm serious. Because when they score the next goal, you know what it's like and I thought please God not another one of these. Just don't let them get another chance. I'm pleased for the players and it's never easy. I've been in their position. Knowing them, they're all young guys, they read social media. I'm an old guy who's not involved in social media — don't read it, don't read newspaper. So it doesn't really affect me as much as I know it will them. I'm really pleased that they've had a really positive result. Everybody's happy. It's the first win in the club's history in MLS. But we have to move on. Back in tomorrow, which we are, and we have to start to prepare for Houston, looking at their result this evening."
On emotions after the match:
"Relief and everybody can maybe calm down a little bit. And then pleasure for everybody who's worked so hard to be an MLS club. When I look at what the owner, Bill McGuire, has put into this club and what it's meant to him, I think it was a really good day for them people. A little bit of payback and a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel because they must have been thinking, 'What have I let myself into?' a few weeks ago. But hey: I'm pleased for a lot of people, but most importantly the players and the supporters because they're the most important people."
On the pressure on him personally:
"I've been through this before. I didn't expect to start like that, I've got to be honest. But I knew we were going to have to take some defeats this year because every expansion team does. I think somebody said last night there hasn't been an expansion that hasn't gone two months without winning a game. I was just hoping it was our first two months. I felt as though we started well tonight. I know that sounds silly when they score after three minutes, but I felt all week that the players were all in a really positive mood. I thought we started the game pretty well. I knew that if we could stay in it even when they scored the goal that we would get opportunities today and we took them at the right times, which is something that's not happened to us before. And I think we scored at the right time as well, which teams have done against us over the last few weeks. Every time that Salt Lake had a little bit of a foothold in the game, Bobby comes up with a couple of big saves for us before the half and then we go and score again. We had a little bit of luck and one or two things go our way today."
On bigger name players stepping up:
"I thought Molino, I thought Venegas, I thought we got more out of Kadrii. We feel as though we've got good forward players. I felt as though three or four of the frontmen gave us a proper performance — the kind I know they're capable of. If we can do that on a consistent level and not give too much away, I think we'll always be in games."
On the progression in the attitude of the players:
"I think that the training's been really good every week. That's one thing I can't fault the players for. They've come in every day and competed and worked really hard and done everything that we've asked of them. But today, I sensed before the game ... you know, we had a good chat. I said I thought this was the most important game in this club's history. I really do. And I told the players that before the game and our players and our supporters need to see something. They need to see a little bit of drive and desire and enthusiasm and I thought we had all of that tonight in abundance. I'm glad that we got the rewards for the effort we put in."
On whether the defense is still a concern going forward:
"Well, I hope it's not going to be a major issue. We try and work on it each and every game. I did say this a few weeks ago: When you've conceded the goals that we have, everybody automatically looks at the back four and the goalkeeper. But it's the six in front of them who are really important as well. I felt that the four in front of the back four tonight — the five, if you like — they worked harder and I thought they were in better positions and gave the back four a little bit more protection than we have done in the past."
On a possible battle at the goalkeeper position with Shuttleworth and Alvbage:
"[Shuttleworth] will certainly hold onto it until next week. That's all I can say. I say to the players every week: 'Your actions on the field, your performance — that's what I look at. If you play well, and I feel as though you're doing everything you can, you will keep your place.' And Bobby's done well tonight. He will keep his place. And the same for the rest of the group. I don't pick the players, they drop themselves."
On what he does after a win:
"Sleep. Probably sleep tonight, yeah. That'll be a first these last few weeks. It will probably be a better weekend for Mrs. Heath."
On conveying the message to the team that there's still work to be done:
"We're in tomorrow. Then Monday we'll have the day off and then it's back to the drawing board because obviously we'll have a look at the tape in the next couple of days. There'll be things that we're happy about and then one or two things that we know we have to work on. I already know there's some areas that I wasn't pleased with and we'll address them on Tuesday and work towards what we're going to try to do next week in Houston."
On adding two new players and what that does to the team chemistry:
"One thing I do know about football is that the best motivation is losing your place. Competition for places is what football is all about. You have to stand up and be counted and if by your actions and your performances, you keep your place, not a problem."
Goalscorer Christian Ramirez
On winning in front of the home fans:
"It means the world. I think we’ve put together stretches but haven’t really had the performances that we wanted and put a full 90 minute shift in. Everyone left it all out there and I think that’s what it takes for us to continue along this path and keep building on this momentum."
On what the team has been focusing on:
"I think we really focused on our defensive pressing to make it really tough to play against us. So that leads to more turnovers for them and now they are spread and we’re in good areas to attack. I think if we continue to focus on the defensive side and making it hard for teams we’ll to see good results."
On Rimando's howler:
"I just knew it was a tough spinning ball so I just tried to put any pressure on him. He’s really good with his feet so I got really lucky that he got tangled up. This season has been so crazy this far that we needed something like that to go our way. It sucks that it had to come from a guy that’s so respected. He’s human though. He made a mistake. We capitalized on it so hopefully we get some more bounces to go our way."
On chasing that winning feeling:
"It feels too good. Hopefully the guys continue to want this feel and we’ll continue to build off of this."
Man of the Match Kevin Molino
On getting a goal in the match:
"It’s great. First I’m delighted for my teammates, we have been working hard the whole preseason and I think we deserve it. After coming off three difficult results and to come back in such a manner and such a respect to win the game and I’m just happy."
On coming off the international break:
"Being back home with friend and people you grew up with makes you much more comfortable. Going back to home makes me realize that I have to get going there and get a goal there and then come back here with a lot of confidence. I was happy to do that and now I’m happy for the team victory tonight."
On what the offense needs to continue to do moving forward:
"The front six, we work in training to keep pressing and keep them high up the park so they don’t play to get in the back of us so have to to take blame, the front six, for some of the goals that we concede. Now we actually get to go out there and execute it today and I’m just happy and delighted for the fans that come out in the number in the snow when we disappoint them. Now we give them something to go home to enjoy."
On what to work on moving forward:
"We need to keep going. Hopefully this is the turning point. We get a couple chances and we should take the opportunity and we let up two easy goals. That’s what we go back on the drawing board for, to work on the things that strengthen out strengths and our weaknesses. We can’t take this one win for granted. We need to keep going. It’s a long season and mentality is going to take through the rest of the season."
On the improved Minnesota weather:
"We were just happy to get good weather under good circumstances finally. The last few games we have played have been under difficult circumstances, and no excuses but, just happy for the boys tonight."
MNUFC Defender Justin Davis
On the historic night:
"For the club to get its firs win in the league is special and I thought the performance was great from everybody. I thought defensively we were much better. Kind of upset about the second goal. Shouldn’t have given it up, but other than that I thought we were good. Offense was obviously on point tonight so that was good. So yeah, it was a special night for everybody."
On differences seeing old traditions from NASL days in MLS environment:
"I think it’s nice that the tradition stayed on. We brought things from NASL and we’ve kept that and kept our identity and haven’t lost sight of what built this team and what led us to this point. So I think the fans appreciate that, I know I certainly do. Hopefully it’s here for years to come."
On the recent signing of a new fullback:
"There’s not much I can do with it, I knew I had to put a showing out there today to give Adrian [Heath] something to think about. The speculation was that [Burch] is going to come in and take my spot, but I’m going to make it hard for Adrian to take me out of there. I thought the times I have been in there we’ve looked pretty decent. I think it was my spot to lose so I think I put in a good performance so hopefully he’ll keep that in mind."
On his positioning throughout the match:
"I think I just did what the game presented. I think they kinda played like a diamond so their outside midfielders tucked in a lot and there was a lot of space there that we tried to exploit. Got forward a little bit. Played some balls in. I think once we got the lead we wanted to stay compact and kind of weather the storm a bit."
On Christian Ramirez scoring up top:
"I though he did really well against Wingert and Maund holding the ball up. I thought he did real well with that and two goals speaks for itself."
On that first win feeling:
"I feel like we can enjoy it tonight. It was a special night. We obviously put ourselves in a little bit of a hole to start the season. A result like this is hopefully something that can spring us forward. We’ve got a tough couple games going forward so it could be tough so we gotta keep going."