Chacon

Quote Sheet: SKC vs. MNUFC

MINNESOTA UNITED HEAD COACH ADRIAN HEATH

On his first impressions at the end of the game …

“Disappointed. [We] put a lot of effort in, created some good opportunities, thought we were dangerous on the break. When it’s so late, it’s a bit of a killer but I was pleased with some aspects of our game but we’ve got to do better in the final third. I thought we created one or two really good opportunities. I thought the game was very even. I thought we looked dangerous on the counter attack [for] most of the evening. Certainly [in the] first half, we had two or three really good opportunities and didn’t pick the final ball. Just disappointment, I think.”

On if he was surprised with Sporting having so much possession on the night …

“No, we were prepared to let them have it in certain areas. [I] thought we had a good shape. Obviously, they’ve got some good attacking people, Johnny [Russell] is a threat but I thought Chase [Gasper] stuck to his task admirably because he’s a difficult customer to mark. Standing on the sideline, I felt like we were going to see it through, see it out. It’s a real disappointment.”

On if he started Wilfried Moimbe-Tahrat on the left to give more defensive support …

“A little bit because he’s played fullback or wing back most of his career so he’s used to that. I thought considering he hasn’t played for a long time, I thought that he did well in the first half, got forward, combined well with his teammates, put some good crosses in the box. He’ll be better for having the hour or so that he’s had as well.”

On Thomas Chacon’s debut …

“Obviously, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind for the kid, hardly knows anybody’s names. It’s one of them that we wanted to get him some action. He’s 19 years of age and he’s signed for five years so we’ve got a lot more to see of him.”

On the excitement level of the U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday …

“It will be a buildup to Tuesday. It’s a huge game for us considering, two and a half years in [to the club’s history]. We can look forward to it with excitement, that’s what you have to do. Or as I’ve said to the players before, I’ve played in cup finals [and] won them. I’ve played in cup finals and lost them and people go, we’re going to enjoy it. Trust me, you only enjoy it when you win and that’s what we are going to try and have to do.”

On what he felt like the game meant to Ike Opara …

“It’s always an added incentive when you come back to your old club especially a club that he’s sort of, synonymous with and a club that he’s given so much to. You saw the reception he had from the fans and I thought that was fitting that he got that tad bit of a reception because of the work that he’s done. He’s put a lot of time in here, played a lot of big games for them. But no, Ike [Opara’s] been terrific for us.”

On what his message was at halftime …

“Same again. Keep a good shape, keep disciplined, try and have a bit ore quality on the counter attack. Can we pick the final ball out? Can we create something for somebody? I always thought that it looked like we might create a chance here and there. Even late on we had a couple [of balls] that went across the face of the goal but it wasn’t to be.”

MINNESOTA UNITED DEFENDER IKE OPARA

On if anything took him by surprise in his return to his old club …

“Just how difficult it is emotionally and then being on the other side of the locker room. Coming in here and trying to get a result is never easy. The perspective of being an away team here was an awakening a bit. At the end of the day, I thought that we did what we could to possibly get a result but just wasn’t our way at the end.”

On what it was like playing against such a big group of friends …

“Weird. It really is. You could see them trying to run their mouths a bit or make jokes with me. You just have to try and stay locked in and not lose yourself in the friendship. It’s definitely not easy. I wanted to win and unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be.”

On if it took him longer to find that locked in zone like other matches …

“Yeah. It was difficult as a whole. Our team, we tried to not be on the back foot and I thought we were for spells [of the game] which was inevitable. We just couldn’t get our rhythm and that just makes it difficult to try to lock in, in all phases of the game. I think that guys performed admirably and it just wasn’t meant to be.”

On whose jersey he swapped with …

“I’ve got Roger [Espinoza’s] and [Graham] Zusi’s. They wanted mine and I wanted theirs, so.”

On what it’s like getting ready for Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup final …

“Different. Going to Atlanta who [have] hosted it what seems like a final every week now. They’ve got a bit of experience and we’re a little young, in that perspective as a team. We’ve got experience with individuals. We’re going to have to really come together now in four days and put our best foot forward because it won’t be easy, just like tonight but it will be even more difficult with the form that Atlanta is in so we’ve got to be ready.”

On how big it is to be a part of Minnesota United’s first final …

“It’s special, for sure. It’ll be [even] more special if we win the thing. I think we are trying to take the right steps to grow this thing the right way and I think Tuesday is the first opportunity at being able to set our best foot forward as an organization.”

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