Minnesota United won its second straight home match on Saturday, this time defeating the Colorado Rapids 1-0 with Miguel Ibarra knocking home a header for his first ever MLS goal. Here is what the team had to say following the match:
Head Coach Adrian Heath
On the first clean sheet for MNUFC in MLS ...
Pleased for the back four — well, back five in the end. Just said to them in there, they've had a lot of criticism and the one area of our team which has had a lot of praise is out attacking play. I thought it was reversed today. I didn't think our front four were as good as they have been. Combination play and just being a threat — wasn't as good as it has been. But I was pleased for the defenders because people who've been out to training know how much hard work they put into it. For them to get a clean sheet and defend the box the way they did at the end of the game, I'm really pleased for them.
On updates for Brent Kallman and Miguel Ibarra:
Kallman's had a slight hip problem and we've been managing it, but he's been okay. Today he got a kick on the cuff and he just said he couldn't go on. That was one of them. Ibarra was just shattered. I said to somebody after the game: I know Miggy's a crowd favorite and believe you me, nothing would give me greater pleasure than that he's playing so well that he plays every week. People have to understand it's been nearly 18 months that he's not played regular football. It's going to take him a while to get into the groove and start to play the way that people have seen. Today will go a long way for him. His confidence levels will go up obviously, getting another 85 minutes under his belt. That'll work wonders for him. Hopefully onwards and upwards for Miggy.
On starting Ibson and his role:
Proper player. Top-drawer player. One thing I've said since I've been at the club is for natural ability, far and away the best player at the club. But he's also showing now a real discipline, an understanding of what's expected of him, especially playing in the two-man midfield. The discipline on both sides of the ball is huge and I think he's showing that. In terms of his ability and his quality, that's never been in doubt. I've been doing this 40 years and he's one of the most talented I've been involved with watching play or coaching.
On the continuing building of chemistry:
We've put so much work in in the last four or five weeks and when you keep conceding goals, you don't feel as though you're getting any reward for it and you wonder if the penny's dropping with one or two people. But there were one or two instances tonight where I looked and saw things that we've been working on consistently over the last three or four weeks and hopefully that's a sign of things to come because we certainly looked a lot more solid back there today.
On what else has contributed to the improvement:
A lot of hard work Monday to Friday. The coaching staff can take some praise of that and Mark Watson worked really hard with the back four over the last four to five weeks but more importantly they're also getting to know each other. Bobby's obviously now settled in and he did some really good stuff when we needed him. Hopefully that's the start of things to come.
On where the team is right now overall:
I think that we've gradually gotten better and when you consider the start that we had, I'm pleased to be where we are with another two home games to come. Let's see where we are at the end of this little homestand because I keep telling the guys: They've got as much belief in themselves as I've got in them. We'll work hard and see where it leaves us for next week. Another tough game, but we want to keep winning at home. We want to make this a fortress. Sometimes you get scrappy 1-nil wins. I've played in games where you don't really deserve anything. I think attacking-wise today, it was probably the worst we've been since the opening day of the season. But we got the result that I think the players deserved.
On keeping the starting XI going forward:
I hope so. I think certainly the guys who've been in the team have worked hard the last few weeks. The very, very big point for us away in Houston, I think there certainly won't be too many changes for next week, if everybody's fit and well. We'll have to see where everybody is tomorrow.
On the veteran leadership on the field:
One of the things that we identified quite early on is that we needed some more MLS experience. I think Cronin and Burch have got over 400 games between them. You couple that with Ibson's probably 5 or 600 game career, there's a lot of experience on the field now. I think they showed that at times today and they do a lot of stuff that probably goes unnoticed but they're in the right spots that make people play different balls. Them two worked really hard tonight and did some really good stuff.
On the roles of the players who aren't getting starts like Justin Davis:
At some stage, like Justin Davis, like some of the other guys, they're going to be needed. And then he has to come in and play as well as Burchy's doing at this moment in time. The one thing about the lads is they come in every single day. The guys who've been left out, I can't fault their attitude. Every single day they come in and train to the maximum. And they know they're going to have to wait for their time to come 'round. Collen Warner's had it now for the last couple of weeks. I think it goes to show that I'm still trying to find out what my best eleven is and what my best combination is. I think we're getting there. It's time.
On what has led to the strong second half showings:
It's normally my voice. Certainly, was today. No, I think this group trains hard and works hard and I have no qualms that they're going to be able to see games out. Actually, I thought we started really slowly this evening and let the opposition take the initiative and control possession, which is something that I don't particularly like. Anybody who knows me knows that I like to control the game through possession and we didn't do that tonight. We had a few words at halftime and I thought we were a lot better in the second half. So we had a good response.
Goal Scorer Miguel Ibarra
On scoring his first MLS goal:
It was good. I think it was an important goal for the team. Most important was that we got the three points. Just keeping that shutout and getting three points was really important.
On the first eight matches of his MLS career:
I came here from Liga MX so I’m coming back and getting used to MLS again and getting myself playing again. So very important. Getting the goal is going to help my confidence to just keep going.
On his confidence moving forward:
These last couple of practices I’ve been feeling very comfortable and I just showed it on the field now so I’ll keep going from there.
On scoring a diving header:
I don’t really do that often. So, it was actually a surprise for me to be there in the box.
On the dab celebration:
That’s mine and Calvo’s handshake every morning and we said we would do that in a celebration and I think we executed it well.
On earning more playing time:
I went to Liga MX and didn’t really get time there so now just getting playing time and getting my confidence back. I think I really showed it today and last game. I’m getting back into it and it feels really good to get out there and play.
Missed chances and breaking through the Colorado defense:
We couldn’t catch a break just getting that goal gave us an extra breath there. Most important for us was getting the shutout. We get the shutout we get one point or we get three. We knew the goal was going to come.
On the team earning its first clean sheet:
It was really important. We defended the box really well and that’s what we worked on in practice. We’ve conceded a lot so that was really important.
MNUFC Goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth
On coming back from injury:
It was normal. Obviously, the collision was pretty bad but coming back through the normal protocol and to be honest I was symptom free. The rest of the week felt pretty good and I passed all the tests so I was good to go.
On first clean sheet with Minnesota United:
It’s big. I think the biggest thing is that we put in a defensive performance and really dug in. The team as a whole worked really hard tonight to get numbers behind the ball and get blocks in. I think overall defensively it was a good team performance.
How it feels earning that shutout:
We’ve been working on our shape tirelessly in training. The coaches have really been harping on it because we’ve been conceding a lot of goals and it feels good for the group to kind of dig in. I’m sure everyone feels how gratifying it is to be consistently putting in that work and finally see some results.
On building chemistry with his defenders:
I think any way you shake it it’s a group of guys who haven’t played together that long. Now we’re eight games in and we’re getting more comfortable with each other and that’s pretty obvious in how we’re playing and we’re trusting each other more. Obviously, that happens a lot on the training field throughout the week where we’re day in and day out putting in the work on our shape. This week it’s no different and we’ll go back to the drawing board and put in a good performance against San Jose.
On a consistent lineup:
As a whole, like I said, it’s a new group of guys and we’re still learning about each other. That happens on the training field as well. We’re going to have guys coming in and out of the lineup. We’re going to have guys step in and do a good job, like Jermaine Taylor he came in and did great. Solid as he could be. That’s going happen throughout the year where guys are going slide in and do great and hopefully that continues.
On his first save of the match:
Anytime I can come up with a save and help the team out that’s obviously what I’m trying to do and come up with saves in key moments. For me that’s what I try to pride my game on and hopefully something I can continue to do going forward.
On defending against the Colorado attack:
Defending in the box is something we’ve been working on consistently over and over again. Today it really showed. Guys were locking on to people and winning the ball in the air and attacking things. It’s something we have to continue to do going forward. One time is not good enough. It’s a long season and we need to take the positives, move on and get ready for next week.