A lot goes down on the pitch in any given match. For In the Moment, we talk to a player about a specific play from last week’s match, letting them give an inside view of the play as it developed.
Following a clean sheet draw with the Los Angeles Galaxy, the Loons got right back to work against D.C. United at the weekend with a defensively stalwart performance. Strong work by the defensive midfielders and backline limited chances for D.C., but it was also up to goalkeeper Vito Mannone to make a few key saves to keep the visitors off the board.
In the 21st minute, Minnesota United prepared to defend a corner kick. After one clearance and one clutch save by Mannone, it looked like D.C. United had finally broken through, but defender Donovan Pines’ header was ultimately called back after video review showed that Frederic Brillant had held down Mannone’s arms as he went up. But let’s go back to the beginning of the play with Vito and hear about what he’s communicating to his teammates as they prepare for the corner.
In this case, we're not very prepared for the short one because they put a lot of bodies [in the box] and tricked us. Darwin, as you can see, is taking one player at the edge of the box. It works because if you're not prepared and set up for [a short corner], it's imbalanced. Abu has a double job on the post and we are late because we didn't do it right. Darwin should go out and Abu should go out to make it two-vs-two. You don't want a two-vs-one on the flank.
The second phase is look across, see how many bodies you've got that you need to mark. So I'm shouting meanwhile, before the ball comes, to get the marking right. Mostly you need to shadow the back post because a lot of big guys come in for a header usually at the back post.
In a short corner, if he plays it out here, the best ball that he's got is on the back post because the big guys have been loading up the back. It depends on the situation but usually it goes there either from a flick back or a shot on goal.
We do well here to clear it and then it's a shot from the edge — it's a lot of bodies, to be fair. I was quite happy with the save because of the view, which I didn't have so much. Basically, it's two teams in one box. You've got 20 players in the space of eight yards! And if anybody deflects it, you see it very late.
When it comes back in, because it's a floated ball, I thought I could get up and go again. And because I know the threat — it was three big boys: Birnbaum and Pines and Brillant. Pines is massive by the way. And the problem is, this first guy [Brillant] is focusing on holding my hand down. So we jumped together, me and Pines, but at one point you see myself being dragged down and thankfully for VAR, the ref said I'm going to check it straight away.
They're bumping balls into your box and you deal with threat after threat after threat. The second time asking, the third time asking, it becomes [more] difficult. We're supposed to be set up and avoid the danger in the first place. You need to deal with the moment. It's about stopping them and at the end of the day, we did our job.