Minnesota United played its second home game of the season this past Wednesday, earning a 0-0 draw and holding a clean sheet for the second time in 2019. Below is what the team had to say following the final whistle.
MINNESOTA UNITED HEAD COACH ADRIAN HEATH
On how he felt about his team’s performance, and if it warranted more than a point:
"Yeah, I do. I thought we were the better team. I thought we, took us about, maybe the first 10 minutes to adjust to the way their shape was. But after we made one or two little adjustments, one or two little tweaks, I thought we were the most dominant team, against a very good team, and I thought that it’s two points that we’ve lost tonight. You know, as I’ve just said to the players, never, ever bemoan on only getting a point, because at some stage that might help us. But, when I look back, I’m really, really proud of the players. I thought they gave everything that they could. You know, the crowd were great. We kept the crowd in the game with our play in the second half. And I thought we were unfortunate not to win the game. We had – if you look at Angelo’s [Rodriguez] chances, a couple of things that Ike [Opara] did and stuff in and around the box, I thought that we probably had the cleaner chances. I can’t really remember Vito [Mannone] making a big save that you go ‘that’s a great save.’ And what did he have – the big man – at the end of first half that went wide of the post? I can’t really remember him having a lot apart from that."
On the game ending in a draw the last time the team was at home, and which score sits better with him between 3-3 and 0-0:
"Well it might keep you and everybody else quiet for a week that we’ve kept a clean sheet, because I’m fed up of hearing it. I’m sure you’re fed up of talking about it, because I know I am."
On if the anxious energy of 20,000 fans waiting to sing Wonderwall impacts the game:
"No. The players are trying everything they can. I want to hear Wonderwall. They want to hear Wonderwall. But we’ll keep going, and we’ll go again on Sunday. And if we play like that, it’ll be enough to hear Wonderwall."
On how he felt about the players’ who stepped into the lineup today:
"They did terrific. Obviously, Kevin [Molino] was getting tired. He hasn’t played for a long time. I thought Abu [Danladi] was very, very good. He was dangerous all evening down this right side. I thought the two midfield players after the first 10 minutes actually quite controlled the game. Romain [Metanire], again, was incredible. Outstanding. And I thought Brent [Kallman] and Ike [Opara] did a really good job on someone who is very difficult to play. And Eric [Miller] did what he has to do. The [Uriel] Antuna kid is a threat. You know, he causes problems. I thought the back four were excellent."
On if the individual effort was better tonight:
"Well, it was. We didn’t make the mistakes. The effort has been there both individually and collectively. But we haven’t really made a big mistake that’s cost us. You know, if we go over the last two games, the seven goals, I can actually think that five or six of them have been individually errors. Obviously, at this level, you get punished for that. Like we did with [Alejandro] Pozuelo last week. And tonight, we didn’t. We didn’t gift them anything. They had to earn any little off chance that they created. They had to earn it. Which was pleasing."
On if this game was the definition of a nearly game:
"The nearly games that I talk about, I always say that I don’t think we deserve to win the game. And I thought we could have won the game. I thought if anyone was gonna win the game tonight, it was going to be us. And I thought we deserved that. We pushed it, we kept pushing the envelope, and I thought the the effort from the players was terrific."
On all of the set pieces that the Loons had during the game, and what he thought of those:
"We were dangerous tonight. You know, Ike [Opara] had, what? Two or three efforts. And from the second ball, that’s been left in the penalty area because we’ve been in good spots to compete with the first one. For me, when we’re not in the right spots, the ball gets cleared and it gets 30 yards outside. How many chances have we had second phase balls? I can think of two for Ras [Schuller] in the second half. You know, we’ve scored second phase balls because we’ve put the ball in the right spot and we put the players in the right spot. So, I actually thought we were dangerous from set pieces this evening."
On if this is a case where players kept themselves in for the weekend lineup based on play:
"Well, we’ll have to see, won’t we? It’s a little bit different with the three games in the week. We’ll have to see how people are. How’s Kevin [Molino] going to be tomorrow, after he hasn’t played for a year and he plays 60-70 minutes in a high intensity game? We’ll see how everybody is tomorrow, then we’ll sort of regroup and get ourselves ready for another difficult task."
On Ethan Finlay and Romain Metanire having a great connection on the right side, and if he saw that as well, and the right side of the field working well:
"Well, it did, because I thought, I mean, Abu [Danladi] had it going as well. If you look at it, a lot of our good stuff has come down the right. Obviously, Romain [Metanire] is helping that because of his incredible energy levels. I wouldn’t like to be a left-sided player playing against him, because you’re spending half the time in your own half. And if you don’t go with him, he’s got enough quality in his delivery into the box, he’s got enough to hurt you. You know, I thought it was another outstanding performance for him."
On how he views Darwin Quintero’s performance tonight:
"I thought it was better. He looked more dangerous tonight. He obviously had his moments where he turned over. He’s still not what we need. You know, but he’s getting there. He’s getting better. You know, tonight might have been his best of the season. There were a couple of occasions where it was turned over, but I feel that he’s getting back to where we want him to be, because when he is, he’s the game changer."
On if he’s ready to stop hearing about Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the regular season:
"I am, but it’s strange. Because, when you’re my age, you look at all these players – I remember him as a young kid – and now look. And I’ve watched his career, and he’s been incredible. 500 goals and still doing it? Still got that appetite? Let’s make the most of him while we’ve still got him around."
On LA Galaxy having the edge on possession, but Minnesota United having more chances, and that being an indication of the Loons’ counterattack working:
"Well, we did. Especially down the righthand side in the first half. We were down there four or five times in the first half. They’re a good team. They’ve got good players. Their midfield three is as good as anybody you’ll face in the league. And then the kid out wide, Antuna has got pace and puts you on the back foot. And then you’ve got Zlatan [Ibrahimovic], you know. So, we handled Zlatan quite well. I thought, he had the header first half, you know. I think we better make the most of him, he’s going to be like Frank Sinatra. He’s going to be dead before we realize how good he was."
MINNESOTA UNITED MIDFIELDER DARWIN QUINTERO
On facing LA’s defense:
“They have been a very good team in the league so far. We played well against them and I think we deserved the three points.”
On two points in two home games:
“We are still adapting and getting used to the field. We want to get the three points at home but we haven’t been able to yet, but it’s good that we have not lost yet.”
On getting there being a missed chanced at a goal:
“The field played a factor on the bounce of the ball and at the moment of hitting it I was not able to connect well. We must get used to the field, step by step we will continue to improve and I know we will win many games here.”
On playing alongside Kevin Molino:
“I think he (Kevin) is improving, he is a very good player. It has been a while since he last played, but he has great technique. In the end he will be an important player on the team.”
On Ozzie being captain:
“(Ozzie) is a veteran here in the MLS with lots of experience. Since his arrival, he has adapted very well and everything he has done has benefited the team.”
MINNESOTA UNITED MIDFIELDER KEVIN MOLINO
On how it felt in his first start since the injury:
“It’s good to be out there, to be at home and play. The lift from the fans was good. We got a tie and we expected more from the game, but so be it. I’m looking forward to the next game.”
On the result as one point gained vs. two points dropped:
“We’ll take the point. They are a quality team who are doing really well at the moment and we fought hard as a team and put in a good shift. Just unlucky with some of the chances we concede, and a little more quality in the final third, we were a step away from a goal.”
On your chemistry with Darwin Quintero tonight:
“It was good, it can always get better. First game playing with Darwin, 60-70 minutes, it was good. We will build from there, not just me and Darwin, but the whole team.”
On how close you are to being 100%:
“Over time, this is why we have a [training] staff. They monitor me through the week and see how much I can play on Sunday. I feel good now."
On playing at home:
“It’s fantastic, a fantastic fanbase. The fans make me want to play and as a team we put in a good shift.”
On the Galaxy defense presenting difficulties:
“The wingbacks, they have us as wingers and our wingbacks defending a lot. In the first 10-15 minutes they had possession, then we settled and got into the game and created a couple opportunities.”
MNUFC GOALKEEPER VITO MANNONE
On tonight’s game:
“Complete different to last game, I think it was the opposite. This game we were in control of the game, we managed the game in the right moments in the right time against a good team. Despite the big guy up front (Zlatan). It’s a tough team to play against tonight we could’ve came out with the three points.”
On stopping Zlatan:
“I think we did a brilliant job tonight defensively, I everyone from top to bottom did their job very well. We knew what we had to do. I think we did fantastic, a great shut out from the team. In the last two games I think we competed very well. We’ve been on top of teams like in Toronto, it was a shame we come out without points and tonight for me is a great point and something to build on.”
On comparing a one point game to a loss:
“I think especially for the moment we had to react after the Toronto game, it was tough because we could’ve got the three points away from home against someone who’s on top of the east conference. Tonight we showed what we can do against a tough opponent, we played in their face. We tried to do defending first and then create our own chances some day we the goal goes in and we would’ve won the three points, that’s the only shame tonight.”
On teams chemistry:
“I thought it was fantastic with Eric, he had three or four days to prepare for this game and he’s done brilliant, his position was exceptional. BK, Brent Kallman in the back had another good game. It’s good to have Ike back after the injury. And Romain, he’s the usual machine going up and down. It's great to have a solid back four and I’m looking forward to having more shut outs.”
MINNESOTA UNITED DEFENDER IKE OPARA
On how he views getting two points in two home games:
“I’m going to look at it from a last two games standpoint, this was progress. If we play like that, I’d take our chances more often than not that we’ll get wins. That’s gotta be the standard, that’s gotta be the norm with this team, we’ve gotta build off that and keep that consistent, because I like our chances if we’re able to do the simple things."
On how he thought all the lineup changes worked out tonight:
“The guys are hungry to play, everyone knows their role on this team, or are at least learning their role. I think it came together really quickly and really well for the two sending offs that happened last Friday. But as a whole, everyone stepped up and did their job, from Eric Miller’s first minutes of the year and whose performance was unbelievable, to the guys up front. I think that’s something to be proud of, to build on for this coming weekend against D.C.”
On being able to stop Zlatan tonight:
“It is what it is, he’s good in the air, he’s scored 500+ goals, we know what he’s about, so I was just trying to eliminate his opportunities. Luckily aerial duels are my strength as well, so I like my chances when it comes to that.”
On how his head’s feeling after the game and dealing with headers tonight:
“Feels good, I’m getting there. Spoke to some of our staff and that’s an area we should be better on, and tonight was one of those moments where I think we were dangerous on some if not all of them. That’s something we need to continue to build off of as well.”
On how close does he think he came to scoring a goal with his head tonight:
“You know, I need to see the replays. That header was really close, but I’m right there. If the service is there, there’s no excuses for myself and some of the big guys to get on the other end of it.”
On if he’s frustrated wearing his headgear:
“No, no problems. If it’s going to protect, first off my health, I’ll do anything for my career and more so life included. I’m very cautious about my health, so if I need to wear it I’ll wear it. It doesn’t bother me at all.”
On how they got more comfortable in this one compared to the debut:
“The debut was wild, it was chaotic. The energy was in stadium was from the second we walked off to warmups, and I think guys let that get to them. Cool opportunity for sure, but we didn’t manage that game at all. We still could’ve gotten away with three points somehow, but I think that was an opportunity for us to realize that our fanbase is going to be behind us each and every game, so if we just keep doing the things that we do well, we’ll eventually get a win.”
On how he felt about this new back four’s chemistry:
“Felt pretty good. I think there was trust tonight, I got the guys together and we discussed the things we needed to do well tonight, and the guys were appreciative and willing to learn and stick together tonight. I think that was important for all of us to be on the same page, and then discuss especially about the things that we did extremely well.”
On if Oswaldo [Alonso] stood out as a leader tonight:
“You know, Ozzie is Ozzie. You don’t question Ozzie, you don’t question his work, you know he’s going to give you 110% for 90 minutes, so I think that he’s a leader by example for the guys on our side. He knows the tricks of the trade and he was great in control tonight and he’s great when he’s on the field period for us. I’m glad he’s here.”
On if the trust felt different from previous weeks:
“I think that the last few games were just so different, whether that be the stadium opener or in Toronto on a Friday night in the rain with hectic, chaotic games, or in New England. Just every game provides something different, and you know as a team we’re still pretty new, trying to gel, and we’ve just had to come together and learn from each and every moment, take each game for the lessons that they give us. Hopefully they don’t come during the game, but it’s just one of those things where we just have to be professionals each and every game.”
MINNESOTA UNITED DEFENDER ERIC MILLER
On feeling ready for DC:
“Yeah my legs feel good. Our fitness staff has done a really great job of keeping everyone in their top playing, working, making sure that when we get the opportunity to go 90 minutes that we’re all ready to go. We’re lucky that we have Madison now as well where guys can go down there and get games and they came to play us a couple weeks ago. It’s a good opportunity for the guys that haven’t been playing much to get 90 minutes and be fit. The point of having a deep squad like we have is that when someone’s number gets called they’re ready to go 90 minutes and we certainly did that tonight, which was good.”
On getting used to the flow of the game today:
“Yeah, for sure, he’s obviously super pacey. They’re a really good team. They got on the ball a little bit to start off the game as well. I think for me; I had some serious adrenaline going as well. It’s my first time paying in the stadium which was really cool for me. Kind of when I got my legs under me I felt really good and I felt like after 20 -30 minutes, our backline, everyone in our back six did a really good job limiting their chances and kind of staying organized.”
On having family in the stadium:
“Yeah, I had a lot of family here, which is good, some friends it’s a lot of fun. It’s a lot harder this year than last year but yeah.”
On getting a clean sheet:
"Yeah, it was great to get a clean sheet. Obviously when you play Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] and [Uriel] Antuna these guys are really quality. LA’s been really, really good this year, they’ve win, I think, a five-game winning streak. It’s great to show that we can be organized and limit, they had a few chances, but I think we earned a clean sheet, they didn’t have a lot. I think that shows that when we play together as a unit and everyone chips in and does the job, we can be a good defensive team.”
On how the changes worked out:
“Yeah, I think it was great. Kevin Molino, first start back was really good to see after all of his hard work in rehab. It was great to see Abu [Danladi] go 87 minutes, it’s kind of been awhile since he was able to test his hamstring and see how he could do. I think everyone that came in did a good job. Again, when you have a deep squad, guys have to be ready to step up and when opportunities come, they have to take them.”
On the mentality of the team in the last 10 minutes:
“Yeah, I think so for sure, I think that we have, I mean, Ozzie [Osvaldo Alonso] was fantastic. Ike [Opara] is really experienced and understands how the game is going to go. They understand and have been in a lot of situations like that and they just did a great job of just getting some tempo and making sure we were all organized, making sure everyone is still tuned it. I think it showed the last 30 minutes; we were kind of on the front foot. They didn’t create a ton unaccounted which is really good with the players they have. I think having those veteran guys in our spine really, really helps us and helps us stay organized.”
On not seeing much of the big guy:
“No, Brent [Kallman] and I did a great job of kind of keeping him quiet. We obviously focused a lot throughout the week on how we were going to defend the box and I think when he’s 6’4” and as athletic as he is, he’s always going to be able to get on some stuff. As long as we can challenge him and make sure he’s not getting free headers, I think that’s gotta be the goal.”
On defending Julian Araujo:
“You do your best to try and stay in front of him, obviously in the first half it didn’t go as I planned a couple times, but I think it’s more about the unit. Individual guys can do their jobs but knowing that Brent has the cover or Rasmus [Schüler] is coming over I think the important thing is always that you’re defending as a unit. Guys aren’t on islands by themselves and them kind of having a system that they’re working in and they know if they make a mistake, there’s cover there and guys are going to back them up.”
On playing for Minnesota:
“Yeah it was obviously really special. To be there for the first game and just kind of see everything but to actually play and to feel the noise of the crowd and kind of all that stuff was really amazing. If I wasn’t on the team, I think I would be in the stands watching so for me to have to opportunity to kind of represent Minnesota for the other guys and it’s something I look forward to every week.”
MINNESOTA UNITED MIDFIELDER MIGUEL IBARRA
On how it felt to play at Allianz Field for the first time tonight:
"Ah, it was amazing. Once you’re in there it’s freaking loud, you can’t hear anything. So, just getting the ovation from the crowd and the fans was amazing."
On how it was watching from the sidelines until he was subbed in, and waiting for that moment:
"It was good. I mean, the team obviously was doing really well. I think our objective was to get the clean sheet, and if we get a goal, we get three points. If not, we’re good with the one point. But, just trying to get out there and do my part. Hard work, and defensibly and offensively try to help the team either get three points or help keep the clean sheet."
On how the leg feels:
"Good. I’m back to 100 percent, so I just need to keep training."
On how he thinks the changes in the lineup worked out given all the suspensions:
"Good. I think [Rasmus] Schuller did a really good job in the middle. Obviously, Eric Miller came in, he hasn’t really played much games, and he came in and did a great job. Abu [Danladi] and [Kevin] Molino, Molino hadn’t played much either and he went in and gave all he had. So, pretty happy with the performance they put in."
On the positional battle for outside midfielders:
"Yeah, definitely. We’re all just going to keep pushing each other. The best one is going to play, and the one that is waiting is going to keep pushing the one who is playing."