Minnesota United played a friendly against Atlas FC this past Saturday to a 1-1 draw in front of a good crowd at TCF Bank Stadium. The match allowed for a lot of new players to enter the rotation and a chance for Heath Coach Adrian Heath to mix up the lineup a bit. Below is what the team had to say following the match.
Head Coach Adrian Heath
On how it was to play the guys that don’t get a lot of playing time:
It was perfect for us. And obviously when you’re playing a decent team who keep the ball as well as they do at times, it was hard work for them. But they’ll all benefit from the fact that they’ve had some minutes. Some of them were running a little bit on empty at the end, but hey, that’s what it’s about. Sometimes you think, ‘Can we do without this game?’ But tonight, it’s been well worth it for a lot of our players.
On specific players that stood out to him:
[Bashkim Kadrii] always looks like he’s got a goal in him. He scored a goal and he had a couple that hit the post, and then late on he had one that just went wide of the post. He scores a goal. He’s got a great left foot and if we can get him in those areas, invariably he’s a finisher. I thought he did okay tonight. I think there was one or two of us that did okay. I thought Joe [Greenspan] had another good game. I thought he defended the box very well. So, most of them will benefit from having some minutes.
On what he saw out of Brandon Allen:
I could tell he’s big and he’s aggressive. He had a half a chance in the first half. If he can, at this level, it’s a step up from where he’s been playing. Probably felt a little bit — he only arrived, he doesn’t know anybody’s name, he only arrived late last night. So, it was tough for him. But he’ll be better for the hour he was on as well, and he gives us a little bit of depth there, because obviously if Abu [Danladi] isn’t fit, we’ve only really got Christian [Ramirez] who can play through the middle who has been used to it. So, it’ll help us until the end of the season, I’m sure.
On Rasmus Schuller’s injury:
It looks like he’s got a thigh strain. We’ll have a better idea tomorrow. It’s disappointing for the kid, because he's been working so hard in training. And I thought he started the game very brightly, so that’s a blow for him. But hey, it’s the nature of the game. You have to keep going and hopefully we'll get him back sooner than later.
On defending well and good individual efforts from players:
Yeah, I thought we defended the goal well at times when we had to. And they’ve got really good forward players. They’ve got movement and their timing of their runs in the box was very good. I thought we had three or four really good last-ditch tackles. But if you look at the game as a whole, apart from a couple of long range shots, both of our keepers haven’t really had big, big saves to make – 25, 30 yards out. And they’ve dealt with them as you would expect them to deal with them.
On controlling Atlas forward Matías Alustiza:
Well it’s difficult because he’s a good player and he drifts around and he gets in good little pockets in between the midfield and defense. Got a great left foot. I thought it was a great go for the goal. I think our marking left a bit to be desired. And [Milton] Caraglio, it was a terrific ball from him. A quality player. And that’s what quality players do. Give them time. Give them space. Invariably they hurt you. And he did.
On how he views the upcoming home stand:
Well, we could have done without Rasmus getting injured, because we’re getting around to getting people back, and obviously we protected Ibson and Sammy [Cronin] for as much as we could. And [Kevin] Molino. And Christian Ramirez. I look at that team tonight and if you’re picking your starting XI, there’s probably eight players didn’t play. So, on the whole, it was a decent evening for everybody.
MNUFC Forward Brandon Allen
On playing a game the day after arriving:
I mean, yeah, it was a quick turnaround for me. I flew in and got in around like seven o’clock. And he actually just told me as I got here that I was starting. And I was like yeah, I’m fine with it. I came out, I felt good. But hopefully next game I can find the back of the net and really contribute to this team.
On whether he got a chance to really talk to teammates before playing:
I mean, I just met them today. So, I’m starting to get the connections going and learn how they play and the tactics and all. But, it was a good first day for me and I’m excited to be a part of this team.
On how it felt to get out there and play with the team, whether he felt any chemistry:
Yeah, I mean, right from the start I felt really welcomed. The connections were definitely there and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the year, actually.
MNUFC Midfielder Bashkim Kadrii
On what was going through his head for the goal:
I just tried to hit it over the goalkeeper, but he chested it and came over him and yeah, I just tried to do something and it went in the goal. So, it was good.
On getting a lot of chances:
It’s good for the confidence. I’m trying to do all of the best every day. I got my chance today and I did okay today so hopefully it can continue.
MNUFC Midfielder Miguel Ibarra
On playing against former Liga MX rivals:
I mean, definitely it was great to be out there. Like I said, it’s a great team from Mexico – they’re a great team they have great players. Just being out there, and for the guys that haven’t got minutes getting out there and getting minutes. I think it was a great result.
On the atmosphere compared to other friendlies:
I mean, you could just hear our crowd. It’s like every game, you score a goal you can hear the whole crowd. The support was great. You could even see they came to support Atlas, too. So, I think that’s going to help us in the long run to get Hispanics out.
On the defense and how you contain Matias Alustiza:
I told the players, they had to move really good forwards, especially against Alustiza, who is a little guy who runs and wants the ball. And they have a big forward, Caraglio … So, I had already warned the guys on how they played. Joe Greenspan, everybody back there did great. The goal was unfortunate and I think they did great overall 90 minutes.