Minnesota United opened Allianz Field this past Saturday, drawing against New York City FC in front of a sold out home crowd. Here is what the team had to say following the game:
MINNESOTA UNITED HEAD COACH ADRIAN HEATH
On two dropped points at home, and if it hurts a little more given the day:
"A little bit. But, hey. I’m sure for the neutral, it was an entertaining game. Not too good for the both coaches I wouldn’t have thought. The game was too open for my liking. We gave away three poor goals. They didn’t have to work hard enough for the goals. So, for us to come out of the game with something, I’m pleased for that. Last week going to the Red Bulls, if we would have said we’d get four points over the next two games, we would have probably it. But obviously today, we wanted it to be a special day for everybody. It’s been a great day, and pretty much relieved it’s out of the way now and we can concentrate on just doing what we do, which is playing football and not doing an interview every 20 minutes about the stadium. I’m glad that it’s all over. I’m glad that we didn’t lose. I thought our supporters were magnificent. I thought the noise in the stadium was incredible. And it bows for better times ahead I think."
On if it took a while for the emotion of the moment to get the game to settle in:
"A little bit. And you know, you’re looking at players running into spots that they shouldn’t do. And that’s a lot getting caught up in the day. I thought there were some outstanding performances. I thought Romain Metanire was incredible. I don’t know what his physical stats will be, but my God, he kept going. And then Ethan Finlay down that side, were really, really good in the first half. And I don’t think we utilized that enough. You know, even the second goal, we played short to [Michael] Boxy when all our successes were coming down that side. And that’s probably why they made the change at halftime. It’s a disappointment, but it’s a point and you should never, ever underestimate one point."
On if he thought the right flank was going to be a strength going into this game:
"Well it was a pretty large cat and mouse game. We’d been trying to guess their team all week as I’m sure they were trying to guess ours. So, they caught us at a little surprise with their formation, the way that they played. But, you know, one thing I did say, that they have good players. They have really good, comfortable footballers. They’re all good on the ball, and if you go chasing it, individually, rather than a tight block, keep yourself nice and compact, they will pick you off. They did that too much, certainly in the first half. And in the second half, you know, the players in their enthusiasm to go and try and win the game, you leave yourself open to the counterattack. So, I wasn’t sure we were going to get one, and then I’m thinking, well they might knick one on the break. So, probably don’t all think the same that a point might have been a fair result in the end."
On how he felt about Darwin Quintero’s return to the line-up:
"It was one of those days for him today. Not a lot came off for him. We made the change later on. But. There will certainly be bad days for Darwin [Quintero]."
On if it was always the plan to ease Darwin Quintero’s minutes:
"No, no, no. We wanted to see how it was. You know, obviously, when the game was getting so end to end, we felt that the extra athleticism of Abu [Danladi] and his pace would actually help us, which he did a little bit."
On when the last time was that he saw a goal like Minnesota United’s third one, or had he ever:
"When was the last time? Probably not. It didn’t mean as much, anyway. Last time was so long. No, but obviously it’s one of those things that people keep talking about it, but he’s a really good keeper. He’s a good boy. He’ll recover from that."
On what the scene was like for him pregame:
"We knew it was going to be quite an emotional day for a lot of people. I was so pleased for Dr. McGuire and the ownership group. It’s something that was a dream, high in the sky two or three years ago. To see the stadium full, the atmosphere inside the stadium. I’m really pleased for a lot of people."
On if there was something redeeming about seeing the stadium opened, after the way his last job ended:
"Yeah, it is. I just, as I say, I thought our crowd, the crowd was magnificent. The noise in the stadium was everything we thought it was going to be. It was an exciting game, obviously there was goals, as well. Overall, it was probably a fair result, but it was obviously a disappointment that we didn’t go the whole three and send anybody home happy."
On how his heart rate was during the middle third of the first half:
"It’s never good. Now, as I said, the game was too open. It was too end to end. It was like the feeling of a playoff game when somebody had to win at the day. As I said to the boys at halftime, yeah, we want to go and win the game, but don’t let charging around the field, trying to win it and then lose the game. That was the message. Towards the end, we got some momentum and I thought we were actually going to knick it. But, you know, with the quality that they have on the break, I was always mindful that we were taking chances with the amount of bodies that were in the box."
On how Ike Opara is doing:
"I haven’t seen him. But apparently a pretty bad cut."
On the nine corners that he had, and if he liked what he saw on those nine:
"Well, you know. [Francisco] Calvo had a good opportunity in the first half. Jan [Gregus] puts good balls in. We keep putting the ball in the right area – because that’s the secret – consistency putting the ball in the right area. We have enough size to make things happen in the penalty area."
On went into the decision to put Romario Ibarra in for the start over Abu Danladi:
"We just thought that, I thought the game would lend itself for Abu [Danladi] coming on when the game got stretched, yeah."
On Kevin Molino being ready to play:
"Yep, [Kevin] Molino is ready. Obviously with the situation with Ike [Opara], that made sort of, made us use him as a defender. Ideally, we would have tried to get him on at some stage today, but when you’ve been out for 10 months, I’m not sure you’re worried about one day."
On the more success from attacking on the right versus the left, and what he attributes to that:
"I thought Romain [Metanire] was outstanding today. I thought he was the best player on the field. I really do. Defensively, in good spots. And attacking-wise, incredible energy. Him and Ethan work really well together there on that side in the first half, and obviously that’s why they made the change. And then we made the change later, we took Darwin [Quintero] off and met more of a 4-3-3. And I thought that helped us as well. You know, because they had the extra body in there, and [Maximiliano] Moralez, he’s so smart, coming in and joining in at the right time. So, overall, it was disappointment but I’m pleased that we’ve come out of here with something."
MINNESOTA UNITED MIDFIELDER ETHAN FINLAY
On the feeling of the first game at Allianz Field:
"It was a real special moment, obviously, for the players, the fans, everyone who’s been a part of this long journey. Absolutely special moment, obviously disappointed with the result today, we want to get three points. It was long time coming but can’t fault the effort."
On the atmosphere of the stadium:
"It was better. This will probably be the only time I’ll ever in my career have the opportunity to do what we did today and open a new stadium and be a part of that. It was special, I had hairs in the back of my neck standing up as we came out of that tunnel, just to hear the fans, for, I don’t know you can’t even say 90-minutes, what was it 98, 99 minutes, obviously, when you include the stoppage time. A special day."
On this day meaning more being a native Minnesotan:
“Yea, obviously, I never thought this day would come. I mean, I grew up, went to high school in Marshfield, Wisconsin, about three hours away from here. If I wanted to go to a professional game, we had to drive six hours to Chicago – that’s an easy three hour drive and I think there’s some fans from Marshfield as well. That’s cool, it’s going to be unique for our part of the country, we’re going to draw fans from all over the north Midwest, I guess. It’s a special day."
On how well the attack on the right worked for the team today:
"Yea, I think the first half, obviously, when they kinda played the three-back, five-back system, we had a great opportunity to try to expose them over there, Tony Rocha stepping in, and we were able to do that in the first half. When they went to the four-back system, it was little more difficult, but I think Romain and I are starting to get a little but more a rapport, obviously and we hope to build on that."
On Romain’s performance today:
"I thought it was good. I mean, this guy is end-to-end, and you can see his service, and the quality of his service, his ability make a pass, even as a right back. He continues to improve week after week."
On the team’s third goal:
"I have, but more on TV, on the blooper reel but, honestly, you have to credit that to the pressure of the guys up front. I thought Angelo and Darwin, we talked about it midweek, we’ve talked about it in prior weeks, they really set the tempo and today was no different. Those guys should get an assist on that because the pressure they started with put Sean under the pressure and he made a poor touch and we got a goal out of it. Hopefully, in the future, we can nick more of those."
On Heath’s comment about the game being too open, and what does the team do to fight that:
"Yea, you know it’s tough because it’s being the home opener, the tempo, we start to feed off the crowd and you saw that. We start to kind of pick up and maybe we have a little sense of urgency and maybe lose track of it. Look, there’s maybe two moments there in the last ten, 15 minutes where they could actually steal a winner. So we have to conscious of that going forward but the fans were a huge part of that late in the game and we just have to manage their intensity and channel it the right way."
MINNESOTA UNITED MIDFIELD OSVALDO ALONSO
On what it means to be the player to score the first goal in Allianz Field:
"It means a lot! I never thought I would score the first goal in the new stadium. I’m very happy for the goal but disappointed in the result but we have to keep going."
On his thoughts on the atmosphere of Allianz Field opening:
"It was great! It was amazing. Being in front of the 20,000 fans screaming."
On the moment he scored:
"It was crazy! When I saw the ball, I thought I had it, I hit it well, I scored a goal and people started screaming, It was a great move from me I’m never going to forget it."
On the energy building up to the stadium opening is what made it such an open game:
"First game in the new stadium, disappointed in the result but happy for the goal."
On the response of the team after NYCFC scores two goals:
"The game was intense, the first game opening a new stadium is always intense. I think this wasn’t the result we wanted but it’s an important point and we’ll keep working hard, it’s a long season."
MINNESOTA UNITED DEFENDER BRENT KALLMAN
On having grown up in Woodbury and what it was like to play at Allianz Field today:
"It was cool man. It was crazy; super loud. The fans were incredible, awesome atmosphere, feels like they are right on top of the game. I think that kind of adrenaline really showed in the game."
On if you ever thought growing up in Woodbury that you would be doing what you got to do today:
"Probably not, no. Man, it’s awesome. What a road we’ve been on to get here. I’m just so happy for everybody at the club: the ownership group, the staff – everybody that’s done such a great job on this place and put work into it over the last few years. Man, it’s awesome. What a stadium. Unfortunately, we didn’t win. We wanted to win for everybody."
On how this stadium stacks up to the rest of the League:
"Here comes a surprise, it’s the best. It’s the best."
On what makes Allianz Field the best stadium in MLS:
"How close and how tight everything is, it makes it a proper soccer stadium. Everybody is right on top of the field and then the Wonderwall behind the goal is an intimidating thing for oppositions to come in and see. It’s great."
On what it was like being down on the pitch with the energy and atmosphere in the stadium:
"It was awesome and what I expected. I was just trying to take it all in. Trying to embrace the moment. I thought they [the supporters] did a great job and they set a really good bar for going forward."
On if all that energy and emotion is what created such an open game:
"I think you saw some uncharacteristic mistakes from both teams. When I came into the game at the end, it was wide open, and I was a little concerned because we were throwing bodies up and I was worried about getting caught out in a foot race, which I don’t want to be stuck in. I think that’s just natural because we really wanted to push for the win and give that to the fans, so guys were pushing forward trying to get that goal. I think it’s to be expected a little bit."
On how Osvaldo Alonso must have felt getting that first goal:
"Yeah, it has got to feel good and it was a class goal too. What a finish! Perfect technique. I was a little jealous [laughs]."
MINNESOTA UNITED DEFENDER FRANCISCO CALVO
On the atmosphere surrounding the game tonight:
"It was amazing, we just have to give thanks to the fans and thanks to the organization. I think we made a really good effort on the field, the game was square. I’m sure the upcoming games will be better."
On jealousy that Ozzie got the first goal:
"No I’m so happy he scored. I would’ve been happy if anyone scored the goal. If it was me, the guys would’ve been happy. Even if it was Vito, I would be happy. I’m happy for Ozzie, he deserves it!"
On Calvo’s attempt to score towards the dying minutes of the match:
"We were tied, I tried to help the team score. I was waiting for a good cross. I got it on my right and I put it up and over. It is what it is, we have to keep our heads up. We got one point."
On the team’s effort:
Good, I feel very good about the team’s effort. I think we were very excited to start the game which is normal and the team put out a great effort. We gave away two goals which were during important moments of the match. We must assume responsibility but in the end I’m sure we will improve once we play more games here in Allianz. Today was our first home game in Allianz Field and we will keep gaining confidence in this field and hopefully this will become a fortress for us.