Jan Gregus – Seattle Sounders Allianz Field

Quote Sheet: MNUFC vs. Seattle Sounders

Minnesota United draws even with the Seattle Sounders at Allianz Field with Ike Opara scoring his first goal for the Loons since joining the team this offseason.

MINNESOTA UNITED HEAD COACH ADRIAN HEATH

On if the result was reflective of the run of play tonight:
“With their chances at the end, yeah. I thought it was an excellent game of football. I really did. I thought we were the better team in the first half. They looked probably a bit more dangerous, and had probably the best chances in the second. But, overall, I’m delighted with the group. I thought some of our play in the first half was excellent. You know, we’re playing against a team – have they been to two of the last three finals – that’s what you’re up against. You’re bringing 10 million pound guys off the bench. [Raúl] Ruidíaz, and people like that. So, no, I was delighted with our group today. I thought there was a lot of fight. A lot of determination. And it shows how far we’ve come. We don’t win that game right there. We don’t take anything from that game, last year. Trust me.

On if set piece finishes like the goal tonight was what he was looking for out of the trade for Ike Opara:
“Well, I was more inclined for our end than the other end. But, no, he’s a big body and he’s incredibly athletic. He’s determined, and if we put the ball in the right spot, he’s difficult to mark. But we were coming up against it at the end, when they brought [Román] Torres on and they brought Will Bruin on. You know, suddenly, [Saad] Abdul-Salaam. They’ve got, like, four or five 6’3” and 6’4” so it didn’t surprise me that they had a couple of set pieces from their chances at the end. Especially with [Nicolás] Lodeiro’s quality. But on the whole, I was really pleased with the group.”

On how he felt about his attacking during the run of play:
“I thought in the first half, you know, we started really bright. Getting Ethan [Finlay] in down that right-hand side with his movements, stuff we’ve been working on. I thought the three dictated the tempo and the pace of the game. I thought we were in control of the first half for long periods. So, could we have had more efforts? Probably. Is there something still to work on with that? Yeah. But it’s another system that we’ve sort of played now the last couple of games, and I think we’ve got better with each time at it. Now in the end, we went back to a 4-3-2-1 with Darwin [Quintero] coming on. So, there’s a few things we can do now with this group.”

On changing both of his wingers from last week, and if he sees that position being a rotation:
“I think it… Certainly Miggy [Ibarra] from last week, deserved to start the game. The way he played last week. You know, it’s been a tough stretch for us, going back to Toronto, D.C., the Galaxy. We’ve played some of the best teams in MLS. And I think it shows how far we’ve come. We’ve been really disappointed in not taking more points than we’ve got, and I think that’s a positive for us moving forward.”

On what he saw out of Ozzie Alonso, and if he noticed another gear against Seattle:
“No. He is what he is. What you see is what you get. He’s a terrific character. Great personality in the locker room. Takes that on the field with him. And he’ll be disappointed that we have not won the game, but I thought he was excellent this evening.”

On what he saw from the three in the midfield:
“I certainly I thought in the first half we dictated a lot of the play. We were in possession of the ball. I thought they were struggling to come to terms with how it was having the extra guy in there. And maybe we didn’t get enough from it in the first half. You know, so, but it took us an encouraging start with this system.”

On if the three-man midfield gives his side more defensive assurance:
“Well, here and there it does, but sometimes you take away because you’re a little man short. Like, Darwin [Quintero], we want to get him on the field, but playing three in there, maybe we even have to look at something else. But, at this moment in time, we thought that was the right system today, and I think it indicated in the performance. Certainly, in the first half.”

On if Darwin Quintero is fully fit:
“Fully fit, yeah. Obviously, he’s had a little stop and start. He’s not quite hit the top that he did last year, but that’ll come. That’ll come.”

On Jan Gregus putting the ball in the right place off of every set piece:
“Well, better tonight than it was in the last game. And, as I said, if you put it in the right area and you’ve got size and you want to go and try and head it, go and try and attack the ball, show a little bit of determination on the end of it, like Ike [Opara] did for the goal, you know. We looked dangerous again on some of the set pieces tonight. I thought, we had one in the second half, that we had two or three goes at it. But, it wasn’t to be.”

On if Jan Gregus looked a little bit more aggressive to him, tonight:
“I think so. He’s settling in now, he knows he’s part and parcel to this group. And, as I said to you, I think, I don’t want to make excuses to the field, but it’s not good to take corners and free kicks when the surface is moving a little bit. But that will come with time.”

On if the field is getting better or worse:
“Oh, better. It’s just not easy when you’ve had three feet of snow on it for three months. The weather has not been kind to us.”

On if he’s looking forward to getting on the road for a week:
“I’m looking forward to giving the guys – obviously, we’ve had a tough stretch, now – so we’ll recharge our batteries and we’ll go again next week.”

On if there was any hesitancy in bringing Darwin Quintero on, and if there’s any question about his fitness or injuries:
“I guarantee you that when we got Darwin [Quintero] on the field, they were more concerned with that, suddenly Darwin is now on the field, and you’re thinking, is he going to keep finding them little pockets of space. And you know, we got him on the ball, and he created a few things.”

On if teams will start to close Romain Metanire down as they begin to see his quality down the right side:
“Well, you know, obviously people watch film and they’ll know that he’s a threat down that side. But if we get people in the right spots, in field, where we can have the numbers up. If they want to mark Romain [Metanire], then hopefully the space in midfield with the extra number that we’ve got in there. You know, that’s something we’ve been working on and I think it’s working very well.”

On if there was any sense of déjà vu when Will Bruin stepped on the field because of how he closed out the game for Seattle the last time they were in town, last year:
“We thought about it. What we knew, he comes on, he’s ready to play, he’s a big body. He’s got a goal record. He’s very aggressive. And it’s a great sub to have. Somebody who scores goals regularly in the league. And then obviously from set pieces, it’s another big body that you have to deal with. But, in the end, we rode our luck a little bit with a couple of set pieces at the end.”

On if Seattle’s goal was a little bit of bad luck for Minnesota, right place, right time:
“I think so. And, it’s a great strike from [Cristian] Roldan. Sometimes you have to hold your hand up. Probably could have done a little bit better before, like you said, but hey, it is what it is.”

MINNESOTA UNITED MIDFIELDER OZZIE ALONSO 

On settling into game:
“I think the first minute I knew it was going to be a physical game. I think we played really good, a little disappointed for the result because I wanted the three points but it is what it is. You have to keep going now.”

On hugs and handshakes today:
“A lot from everybody, ten years in Seattle, I got a lot of friends down there, after the game everybody came to me and shake my hand.”

On feelings after game:
“A little sad for the tie because I think we must always look to win at home. It was a difficult game today on the field but we keep working hard because the season is long, we are focused on Chicago now.”

On Francisco Calvo’s transfer affecting locker room:
“It’s always hard to lose a teammate but it’s part of the game and we have to take it in the best possible way and keep working hard like today.”

On not coming away with win at home:
“We should always look to get three points at home, but it was a difficult game. Us getting one point is important even if it wasn’t what we were hoping for. We have to keep working hard because the next games we will look to get those three points.”

On having four games at home but one win:
“I think we are disappointed you know we should have more wins but the past is the past but we have to keep working, we have a lot more games at home, now we go to Chicago and we have to find a way to win away from home. We are still in a playoff spot but we have to keep going.”

On seeing old teammates and playing for the other team:
“It’s hard but you know it’s part of life, it’s part of the sport and you know I think they came to win the game and we tried out best to win the game but it’s hard when you play against your former team.”

MINNESOTA UNITED DEFENDER IKE OPARA

On the goal off the set piece:
“We talked about it so the service was there for the most part all night. We had a couple opportunities and luckily I got one. And you’d know it because my nose so whatever I’m just glad it went in.”

On it hurting so good:
This one didn’t. This one hut so bad. No man can celebrate through it. No, yeah it hurt.”

On whether the hit was off his nose or head:
No it was Chad’s back of the head. It’s a hard head from Chad.

On his headers in the last couple weeks:
“Cant’ buy one but you know what I’m still standing so that’s all that matters.”

On getting one point, not three:
“You know I think we had opportunities to win this game. Especially in the first half, even parts of the second half I thought if we kept doing what we were doing to be successful we would’ve had opportunities and then the game flipped on its head and we we’re grateful to be out of here with the draw. Something that we need to grow from as a team and learn and we may attack these subs and switch our shape a bit. But the lack of discipline that we all had just trying to push for that win was one of the reasons we almost lost tonight and I think pastful approach we’re happy there with a point sadly and it’s not nice to settle at home but we need to build from this moving forward.”

On Torres and Bruin coming in late:
“Yeah and then we made our subs so they had even more of a higher advantage. Vito’s gotta kiss the post because today we got lucky. We were decently organized but the height just wins out and most of the time Oderas has a great ball so we felt like seeing guts a couple of those times and luckily the post saved us.”

On the defensive performance tonight:
“Absolutely for the first 75 minutes I thought we were discipline again. We did all the right things all the things that try to make us successful and aside from their goal I didn’t see any opportunities. I think we are building and starting to trust and we’re building off of it. Yeah I know we wanted to win for him and I know he wanted to win extremely bad. You know he’s steady Eddy. He’s that presence that we needed and he was just as good as he’s been all year and the only thing lacking this game was a win for him.”

On any difference to Ozzie’s play tonight:
“No, you’re going to get the calm, collective Ozzie until you get the one or two borderline psychotic outbursts I guess going. But that’s who he is he has that presence about him and that wasn’t different today.”

On playing against Kansas City:
“I’m sure it’ll be crazy when that time comes and I’m sure there will be interviews and ill have some quotes for it but it’ll be different playing them there first as opposed to you know Ozzie got to play them here so it’ll be a lot of different emotions.”

On the Seattle goal:
“Yeah not much I could’ve done but I’m still kicking myself. It was a great whipped ball from Brad Smith. He hit it with so much pace I was trying to get my head on it but I’m frustrated with myself because I didn’t want to put it there but I didn’t have much reaction time so it’s one of those I’m going to think about more than the goal.”

On five points in three games against three teams in a playoff picture right now:
“I think it’s a successful first part of the homestand. We gotta go to Chicago this coming week then we got three more here at home so I think that’s when we can really judge the whole homestand but I think it’s a decent start for this homestand just to get familiar with this new environment you know I think guys are getting comfortable. At the end of the day we haven’t lost yet.”

On how the team stacks up against the Western Conference:
“If we go out there and like we did in the last two games in the first 75 minutes with that discipline that mentality that effort then we’re going to be in a lot of games so we just have to continue doing that. And we go on the road the next weekend as well.”

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