Minnesota United dropped three points at home on Independence Day despite a solid home run in recent matches. It was a one goal match, which could have gone either way, but the Loons were on the wrong side of a late goal finish. Below is what the club had to say following the match:
Head Coach Adrian Heath
On how he sums the game up:
I don’t think it was anything in the game, to be honest. I think they had a few chances late on, when [Justin] Meram came on and we were chasing the game and the game was stretched. But, I don’t think we deserved to lose it, but I certainly don’t think we did enough to win the game. We got a lot of ball. I thought we started the second half very brightly, and then they got a goal against the run of play actually and it just sort of took the wind out of our sails again. We made a bit of a go of it late on — we put a lot of balls in the box — and we got in a lot of good situations and our final ball wasn’t good enough. So, it’s disappointing. But, the little break now I think has come at a really good time for us because we’re sort of running on fumes at the moment, so it’ll give one or two players an opportunity to get themselves fully fit again. One or two to recharge the batteries a little bit. Because I think the one thing that it showed tonight, that our strength in depth has been certainly tested to the maximum with the players out and the injuries that we’ve got. So, transfer window is around the corner, let’s see if we can go and get some players to help us with both working on the team, and with the squad in depth. That’s what we’re trying to do.
On what he was hoping to see from the defense with Francisco Calvo and Jermaine Taylor on international duty and the lineup changes:
Well, it’s strange, because we went on their last two or three performances and then their shape completely changed from what we thought they were going to do. They went with the three at the back and it changed the way that we’d set up really. But we changed at halftime, went back to more of a traditional 4-2-3-1, and we got the wide guys higher and sort of affected their shape a little bit. I thought we were the most likely for about 20 minutes of the second half. And as I said, they got a goal against the run of play and it sort of deflated us, and then we started to come again. When you do that, you do leave yourself open to the counter-attack and as I said, Meram came on and showed his quality and had two or three really good efforts. They’ll have been disappointed if they hadn’t have won. Deep down I don’t think either team deserved to win the game.
On how he thinks his players handled the in-game formation changes, etc.:
I think they were fine. I thought there were some really great performers. I thought Joe Greenspan, considering not only is it his first MLS start, I think, people don’t realize Joe has hardly trained because of the concussion. For maybe three-and-a-half weeks. I thought he put a really good shift in. He’s exhausted in there, and well he might be, because it was a really hot night. And people like Justin Davis, Kevin Venegas — people who haven’t played regularly — you could tell the 90 minutes, they’ll benefit from the 90 minutes because we didn’t look sharp in a lot of areas.
On what he saw out of Jerome Thiesson tonight:
I thought he adapted to a new role really well. We know he can play both sides of full back, but he played right-side center back for most of the game this evening. I think he’s done really well. But he’s a good professional and I expect that out of him.
On Ismaila Jome still being set for a loan:
Well, it’ll all be depended on what we bring in and if everybody is fit and healthy. But he does need to play. I think the biggest issue for me is that he has to start believing in himself a little bit more. Because the kid has talent. He showed glimpses of it in the second half, beating people and good little combination play. And he’s feeling more and more comfortable. But he’s got to start believing in himself at this level. Whether we try to get him games out of here, a lot of that will depend on who comes in and what positions come in, and what strength in depth we’ve got, how people are with injuries.
On what went into the decision to start Miguel Ibarra on the bench and how he brought energy as a substitute:
Well, he didn’t last week. Can’t pick and choose when we have that energy. Can’t pick and choose to be, not just Miguel. That could have been three or four others. To put all that energy in at TCF Bank Stadium, save three points on the road. Can’t pick and choose when you decide you want to play full of energy. That’s non-negotiable. That goes for three or four players.
On whether Abu Danladi re-tweaked his hamstring:
We’ll see. We’ll see. I don’t know.
MNUFC Midfielder Sam Cronin
On the new formation affecting his individual playing habits:
Not a whole lot. I mean, there’s a lot of players behind the ball obviously. So, when I’m in the middle I’m able to find time to get the ball and turn there’s not a ton of options so we kind of lent itself to a little slower build up. The heat and everything, it was a little slippery this game. Didn’t change a whole lot for us in the middle.
On working with guys in new positions:
Jerry was good. He could’ve been our best player maybe. He did a great job filling in at center back and filling in at a couple different positions tonight as we switched formations. So, yeah, those guys in the back did fine.
On the difficulty of changing formations in game:
No. I thought they were the right changes at the right time given the personnel that we had. We were bit by the injury bug a little bit. So, we didn’t have loads of options. So, I think for the players we had out there we put ourselves in the best lineup to get a result.
On the importance of the break coming up:
Yeah, we need it. We maybe don’t deserve it with the way we’ve performed. But we’ve had a busy stretch and losing just messes with you a bit and puts you in an irritable mood a little bit. I think it will be best for all of us to step away. Get away from each other a little a bit and just kind of regroup and reenergize. The games don’t get easier. We got a game coming here in two weeks so we gotta make sure we recover, get our minds right and get fresh and health. Because we do that, when we’re healthy, we’re a good team. When we don’t we’re being average and we don’t get wins. There’s still a lot of reasons to be optimistic even though maybe it doesn’t feel like it right now.
On the energy late in the match:
I thought we were pretty good on the ball in the second half. I think it helps, too, attacking that end with the supporters’ group. On the corner kicks, it brings that energy to the game. So, they’re huge for us. And as everyone can see there’s some heavy legs today, but the supporters really cheered us on so that was big. It was disappointing, obviously, not to get a better result for them.
MNUFC Forward Christian Ramirez
On what he was looking to do to get on the board:
When we started with Abu, there was really an emphasis for me and him to pin them back by running in behind in those channels with them playing in the three. And I thought we were doing that pretty well. Until he pulled up with a knock. We were stretching them and it was starting to open up for Molino underneath. Sucks that we had to change that formation that was working so well.
On attacking pressure near the end of the game:
I just think we spent so much energy in that first half to get them on the back foot so early. I thought we played some good soccer. Just weren’t that sharp in the final third. Maybe it was new faces. Maybe it was just the day. That stuff is going to come and go. We kept pressing, we kept being good defensively besides that one chance he hits from 25 [yards]. That’s a tough blow to go.
On the importance of the upcoming break:
It’s big. Some guys I know are going to be in getting fit. Some guys are going to be getting healthy. Guys are going on Gold Cup duty. We all just need to click the refresh button starting on [July] 19th. Good tune up game against Atlas next Saturday. We just need to make sure we’re healthy and fit for that.
On playing with a second striker vs. alone:
It depends. If we’re playing like we did today, it’s nice to play with Abu and it make my job easier because I know I’m running in behind him if he’s coming for the ball on one side and I’ll know what side specifically I’m running in. If it’s just me up top I know I’ll have to both the work, and both the work defensively. It just really depends on the opposition. But, it’s nice playing with Abu up there, too.
MNUFC Defender Justin Davis
On playing in a five-man backline:
Yeah, I mean, it’s obviously a spot I’ve never really played before. So, not only having a couple days to go through it with the new set of guys, but yeah, I think I just tried to focus on keeping Ethan Finlay in check – his movement was pretty good. But I think the first 10 minutes of the first half was kind of sixes and sevens a little bit. But I think we figured it out finally, because he was dropping so far back to hit the ball, so I ended up kind of playing more in the midfield. But yeah, it was new, it took that first 10 to figure out the system and then also get my game sharpness back.
On extra communication and work between the three center backs:
I think the communication was huge. I think talking with [Ismaila Jome] the whole game, talking with Joe [Greenspan], those guys. Everyone was on the same page of listening and giving instructions and I thought – I don’t know how many chances they had – but apart from the goal, I didn’t really feel too worried about what they were creating. At the end it is what it is.
On pushing out wide and getting more into the attack:
Yeah, we kind of tweaked things a little bit in the second half, so it was more of kind of where I’m used to playing. So that was nice getting forward a little bit more, playing a couple of balls into the box. I felt, yeah, a lot more comfortable there as the game presented different things and gave us the opportunity to change.
On how he approaches the break after 90 minutes:
Yeah, it’s tough man. Like you said, not being in the lineup as much as I’m used to, it’s a battle. You know, you just try to keep your game and fitness up. It’s tough when you’re not getting it. So, I’m trying to take the fitness I got from today, trying to do a little bit of extra in the days off and be ready to go for the friendly. And then hopefully, [Marc] Burch is still out – I don’t know what the plan is moving forward with the transfer window opening up – but I’ll see what happens.