quotes

Quote Sheet: MNUFC vs. D.C. United

Minnesota United wins for the first time ever at Allianz Field and celebrates with a wonderful fan rendition of "Wonderwall." Here's what the team had to say following the final whistle.

MINNESOTA UNITED HEAD COACH ADRIAN HEATH

On the third time being the charm at Allianz Field for a victory…
"I thought we deserved it with our second half performance. I thought we were outstanding in the second half. You know, we spoke about it at halftime. Can we get further up the pitch? Can we start being a little more positive? Can we get people closer to people? Can we get them out of their comfort zone? And we did, and we got our rewards for it. I’m really proud of the players. You know, three games in nine games is never easy. I thought we should have took something out of Toronto. I thought we were the better team against LA. And today, certainly in the second half, I think we did enough to win the game."

On what changed in the second half…
"Well, we spoke about it at halftime, about getting on the front foot and not allowing them to dictate the pace and the tempo of the game. I thought we got everybody higher up the field. I thought our energy levels were a bit better. Sometimes just being behind the ball is not enough. You have to put people under pressure. And I thought we did that a lot more. In the second half, I thought our fullbacks picked the moments to go out to their wide guys a lot better, and that took everybody else further up the field. In the first half, I looked over about five or six times, and Abu [Danladi] is standing next to their highest player and Romain [Metanire] has got nobody. In second half, we changed that. We got about them a bit. We got the crowd in the game. And I thought the best team won on the day."

On Miguel Ibarra’s impact…
"I thought Miggy [Ibarra] was great when he came on. I thought he gave us energy and he gave us some enthusiasm. Obviously, you know, it’s never easy leaving somebody like him out. But, he’s certainly, he actually gave us something different than we had on the field beforehand. Obviously, another clean sheet, which will please all of you no doubt. That will stop you writing about it again this week, so that’s good. I don’t have to listen to it all week, so that’s good. And then, obviously, three points."

On if his mind ever started to wonder, what if it is another draw…
"No. I was more – I’ve said this to you a lot – I’m more concerned with the performance than the attitude of the group. If the performance is good, the attitude is good, we do what’s asked of the players, I’ll always take the result if we do what we can."

On the health status of Darwin Quintero…
"We don’t know. He’s in a lot of pain at the moment, so we’ll see."

On the status of Francisco Calvo, and him being out of the 18 today…
"No, I just felt, obviously his disappointment in not playing, and didn’t want any negativity about the group today. He’s obviously disappointed, and I thought it would be better if we left him out altogether today."

On if Romain Metanire has been his most consistent player all season…
"He’s been outstanding, hasn’t he? And I think the back four defended the goal really well again today. I thought the defensive partnership in the middle was very good. Romain [Metanire] gives us that, that little dimension going forward. If there’s a better right back in the league, I’m seeing him in a minute."

On what hearing Wonderwall start for the first time at Allianz Field meant to him personally…
"Well, I’m pleased for everybody. I’m pleased for ownership. I’m pleased for the supporters. I’m pleased for the players. You know, I’ve been doing this a long time. It was obviously a relief for everybody. You know, yesterday, that’s all Fox wanted to talk about. When will we hear Wonderwall? Which is nice. It’s out of the way now. We can start concentrating and getting our mind on Seattle. Because if we go and pick three more points up there, and that will make the table look even more healthier than it is at the moment."

On if he got any clarification on any of the VAR calls…
"No. I didn’t. No doubt I’ll have a look at it and see where we are with that. But, somebody said that they yelled Vito [Manonne] down for the goal. So, I don’t know."

On if he got what he wanted out of keep the backline in tact…
"Clean sheet. I’ve said before, if we keep clean sheets, we’ll win games. Because, we’ll score goals. And even though it took one, which wasn’t the greatest goal in the world. But one will be enough. Clean sheet."

On any thoughts on the field today…
"Well, it’s a little bit of a concern at the moment. I feel for the groundsman, because he had three feet of snow on it for like, three months. So, it hasn’t been easy for him. But, it is cutting up a little bit more than we expected. So, we’ll see what we can do to help him and help the grass."

On if he’s getting enough off your corner opportunities…
"It’s strange, because, was it the other night I said the set pieces were really good this season? And then they’re awful again today. But, I spoke to Wayne at halftime, Wayne Rooney, and he, you know, he was really disappointed because them areas outside the box, I was thinking, this is going to be a problem, but I don’t think it’s easy for people with their footing, when they put their standing foot down. So, as I say, it’s something that we’ll have to try and address.  "

MINNESOTA UNITED FORWARD ANGELO RODRIGUEZ

On goal and first win at Allianz Field…
“I think it was very important to win at home today for how we have been playing. I think we will continue improving, this team is special. I always say it’s step by step, today we beat DC, now we wait for our next opponent.”

On touch for the goal…
“As a forward I’m always going to say yes… but I kind of touched it. It doesn’t matter if it was Romain’s or my goal, what matters is the win and the three points.”

On offensive changes from first half to second half…
“We wanted to do the same from the first half but we came up against a solid defense. In the second half we knew how to open up the wings with Abu and Miguel when he came on which finally gave me the chance to play one on one with their center back. From there we started to find space, we had aggression and thankfully we got the goal.”

On supporters singing Wonderwall…
“It was beautiful. My kids enjoyed it and honestly we were so happy with the win.”

On what’s missing to continue this winning form…
“We tied with two teams that appear to be some of the better teams in MLS. The first game we went ahead and they tied up immediately. Against Los Angeles, well everyone knows LA... Against We generated many options and we didn’t connect well enough. In the other game (NYCFC) we would score and then they would score. I think we need to keep improving and connecting well both in the back and up front to stay effective.”

On left leg injury in final minutes of the game…
“Regular hit from games. It’s nothing and I’m fine.” 

MINNESOTA UNITED DEFENDER IKE OPARA

On what impressed him about today’s defensive performance…
"
You know, being short rest, with a week, I think the effort was there. There was always going to be a little leggy. With the quick turnaround, and the guys really were concentrated through that 90 minutes to really not concede anything, and give them any really good opportunities. And that starts with everyone on the field. The dedication to that side of the ball has been great for us the last two games. And like this past Wednesday, it’s got to be continued, it’s got to be the standard. We need to expect that each and every game."

On if he was able to build off the backline, and keep it in tact…
"Again, you know, I think it’s stressed. We’ve been really focusing on that. Especially the guys who have been playing. We’re setting the tone. It helps set the tone for our whole team when we get that side of the ball right. It’s just nice that everyone is dedicated to, and staying disciplined throughout the entire 90 minutes."

On spending more time in the attacking third in the second half…
"A lot of things, but I think the most important is that we were simple. We weren’t trying to hit the killer ball every time that we won it, because that just turns into a track meet. And, D.C. has good players when they get the ball under control, they’ve got the movement, they’ve got talented players. It was difficult for us. We simplified it in the second half, we worked from side to side, we were patient. And that was credit to Adrian [Heath] and the staff, and what we needed to do."

On if there was ever a thought of what if we draw for a third time…
"I can’t speak for everyone. It only crossed my mind for a split second. But, you know, I think, especially if you keep shutouts, you give yourself a good chance to win every game. And, at some point, you find a goal, and that’s how it was tonight. I was staying optimistic throughout, and luckily that happened."

On his first experience of Wonderwall at Allianz Field…
"
Ugh, unfortunately, Fox took me away. Fox took me away from it halfway, so I didn’t even get to experience the full. But, it was great. From what I saw, and it was loud. When I was on the road, on the visiting team, I got to witness it and I was like, this is pretty cool. Now I’m on this side. It’s great to really be a part of it. It’s special."

On if being pulled away from Wonderwall tonight gives him more time to memorize the lyrics…
"
Ah, yeah. Apparently, I’m an Oasis fan now. I never would have thought that."

MINNESOTA UNITED MIDFIELDER MIGUEL IBARRA

On what it felt like to hear Wonderwall in this stadium...
“I mean, it was amazing. I think we’ve been trying to look forward to this day, to hear the fans and the whole stadium sing Wonderwall. We’re lucky to able able to get the win today with the team’s performance, and I’m just really happy with the team’s performance. We kept a clean sheet again, which is our objective.”

On if he expected to be put in at halftime…
“Well I had already started warming up first half, so I knew there was something bothering Darwin [Quintero], so they just kept telling me to make sure to keep warm just in case he needs to pull out. So right when it was the second half, they told me to get going because it looked like I was going to go in.”

On if it’s difficult to balance wanting to play a full game and making sure not to rush returning from injury…
“Yeah definitely. I think that there’s no reason for me to rush it. I’ve had this injury before, so making sure I’m patient with it, getting minutes little by little, and so far it’s been feeling really well. I’m happy with them, and I told them I’m happy with the decision. The team’s playing really well, so it’s just about pushing the people that are in front of us.”

On if he thought he had a goal on his left-footed shot…
“I definitely think I had a chance to score twice with the left. Unfortunately, I didn’t get it. One of them they made a good save, and the second one hit the defender, so I’m just looking forward to making sure I score it next time.”

On what he was told by the manager before entering the game…
“He just told me make sure I go out there, he has all the confidence in me, so make sure I go out there in confidence and go out there with energy, because that’s what the team needed. So I made sure I went out there and put in a shift so I can help the team.”

On if he felt like he helped increase the team’s energy upon entering the game…
“Yeah definitely. The players and coaches told me that once I went in, I changed the game, so that was my goal, to go in and make sure I was able to put in what Darwin [Quintero] was doing or even better, so I’m glad I was able to do that.”

On if he saw how much of a touch Angelo [Roriguez] got on the goal…
“Uh, no. Messing around I told him that he didn’t touch it, he said he did.”

On what he felt at the end of the game…
“It was amazing just hearing the whole stadium sing Wonderwall. Like I said, we were looking forward to it, so I’m sure everybody had a great time with it."

MINNESOTA UNITED GOALKEEPER VITO MANNONE

On his second clean sheet at home, and how it feels…
"It feels great. Hopefully more to come. To be honest, it’s what we work for. I think the whole team does. Defending, you know, it’s most important thing when you start a game. Don’t concede and don’t give chances to the opponent. Especially at home. It’s a great base for us to go and win games. If we done it against the first in the league, and we done it against LA. We can do it against anybody. It’s up to us to deliver, and have high standards."

On the goal that was overturned by VAR, and what he voiced to the referee…
"I couldn’t jump. Basically, I jumped and the one guy completely focused on me. And the other one was free to make the header. It’s not even, I don’t think it’s the guy that made the header, but somebody else who was focusing on stopping me."

On if the player had his arm up during the overturned call…
"Yeah. Fell in my face. I just turned around and I couldn’t jump off. And it was straight after an action, and it was a quick one because I made a save, got up and I had to go for the cross. There’s so many bodies in the box when these things happen, but the ref said straight away, I’m going to check it, because he wasn’t sure."

On if he has faith in the VAR reviews, or if it’s a flip of the coin…
"Yeah. I was pretty sure. I said to the ref, go and check it. Because I’m being fouled and I couldn’t jump off, that is not a 50/50 where you go up for the header and you lose the challenge. Somebody in the box did that, so obviously I thought it was a foul."

On what a bummer it would have been if his save before the recalled goal would have gone to waste if the goal was deemed good…
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. But, it’s football. I had to make the save, otherwise it was 1-nil down. So, thankfully I could make it and the boys after that were terrific, and defending fantastically."

On what he liked about the defending the team did on set pieces today…
"We staggered them a lot. I thought we got ready for it. I wish there were less fouls outside the box, because that’s what we kept saying before the game. Limit the free kicks, because Wayne [Rooney] has got a magnificent delivery. Not today. Thankfully, he was okay, but it was how good we were in terms of positioning and winning those headers. I thought every one of us digged deep to defend the free kicks from everywhere outside the box."

On how Wayne Rooney’s game has changed since he last played against him in England…
"
Not much, to be honest. He keeps himself very fit. You always see, he’s got something special about him, and great talent. You can find a game changer. And today he tried a few of his class touches. So, it’s good we maintained this shutout against a top striker, but against a tough side in general because they’ve got all these small guys with technique, and they put you under pressure. I thought our shape was incredible, and we limited the chances, as we’ve done against LA, but LA was a different animal. Today was more technical and sharp players around the box. [Luciano] Acosta and [Paul] Arriola, you know, it’s good players, there’s a lot of good players, and I thought, to beat them at home, it’s great to give the three points to these amazing fans and sing the Wonderwall."

On his first experience of Wonderwall at Allianz Field…
"Fantastic. We waited for a long time. We work hard during the week for it. I thought our mentality has to be the same every time we step out here, because we need to grind wins, as we did today. First of all is defending our way, and then you see where we created more chances in the second half and we really wanted that. I thought we done better chances at the goal, but if it’s going in, it’s going in. And you deserve your luck by working hard."

On if the Red Bull can sitting behind him is the secret to his success…
"Yeah, well, it’s the secret of somebody, a few of the boys. Especially today, when it’s 12:30 [p.m.] you need one of them, because you need to get going. It’s not like a 3:00 [p.m.] or 7:00 [p.m.]."

MINNESOTA UNITED MIDFIELDER OSVALDO ALONSO

On not allowing a goal in the last two games…
“You know when you have a clean sheet you have a chance to win, I think we proved that today. We scored a goal and we won the game, so very proud for the effort and very proud for the win.”

On wearing the captain armband…
“I think it’s not different, I think its only the band on the arm but I think the way the team performed very well today and that’s a very important thing and I’m very happy.”

On defense development and growth…
“You can see, we didn’t allow a single goal in the last two games, I think we are improving and to work like that every game. If we play like that every game we have a good chance to win and that the goal to keep the clean sheet in the back and try to score.”

On three man midfield dynamic…
“It was good, at the beginning we were kind of lost but I think in the second half we played better and we pushed and we did it. “

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