Boxy

Quote Sheet: MNUFC vs. LAFC

MINNESOTA UNITED HEAD COACH ADRIAN HEATH

On if he saw what he wanted from his players tonight …
“Second half. First half, not so much. Second half, [we] played to the game plan, stuck to the plan that we spoke about all week and it actually looked like we might get something out of the game. [We] kept playing into their own hands in the first half, trying to play short, play intricate passes out and that’s what they want. Anything that goes square, that goes back, they press [it] and they’re very good at it. But what they do, do, they leave themselves really exposed. In the second half, Angelo [Rodriguez] was in really good spots. We got it into him and we had what? Three of the best chances of the night? That was the plan in the first half.”

On what he saw from Angelo Rodriguez tonight …
“I thought that he was good. He’s obviously going to be disappointed with the opportunities [that] he’s had, couple of them he’s created them for himself but he gave us experience up there. I think that was the one thing that Mason [Toye] showed tonight. He’s 20 years of age, he’s learning the game [still] and he got bullied a bit by their two centerbacks. Angelo’s physical presence and just knowing where to stand, getting himself in good spots actually changed the game plus the fact that we played forward more which helped us rather than playing into their game plan.”

On if he was frustrating with the run of play and not scoring in the last 30 minutes …
“You’re always frustrated when you create [chances like that and not score]. I look at the body of work over the 90 minutes and I thought they were the better team in the first half and I thought in the second half, we had the better chances. They might have been isolated on the break but, they’ve got good players. They’ve spent a lot of money putting them attacking players together. So, I can’t be too disappointed with my group, certainly not.”

On if it was a reminder to Wilfried Moimbé-Tahrat that you can’t let Carlos Vela get on his left foot …
“We spoke about it. He’s disappointed. First thing he said to me when we come in – I always think with people like Vela, if you overcompensate to stop the shot, he’s going to drag it the other way but at least then, let’s see if he can score on his right foot which he’s not the weapon that the left one is. Even the goal, he set it up so far outside – the guys got real quality. That’s what you pay for and overall, when I look over the 90 minutes, we’ve handled him pretty well but then one moment, big moments, key moments [like that], change games.”

On how the home field advantage compares at Allianz Field to other stadiums he’s coached at …
“It’s good for us and let me tell you, we can say it now but the field is coming up. It’s been tough. This has been a difficult stretch on the field and I don’t think it’s helped us at times when we want to move the ball quickly, but hey, it is what it is. We’ve had to get on with it. It’s been the same for both teams and I think it helped us late on.”

On how long this has been an issue for …
“It’s strange because it looks like it was picking up after about two or three months and then it suddenly died on us. It’s something that we’ve not wanted to make too much of an issue about. It’s not ideal but it is what it is. It hasn’t stopped us from winning games. We’ve got a great home record, mainly due to our performances and the crowd reaction. The crowd were magnificent today, trying to get us to that win and it wasn’t to be.”

On what he felt like the team was able to do on set pieces …
“If you look back, I can probably think of four occasions Boxy’s [Michael Boxall’s] had the same opportunity and he’s not quite managed to put it in. He’s a big guy, he attacks the ball well and I think Jan [Gregus’] quality into the box has been excellent over the last few weeks and we’ve got some big guys getting in there. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got big guys, if the ball gets in the right area, the right place and defenders are running towards their own goal, it’s extremely difficult to defend. It was nice to see it go in. I actually thought that we would go on and win the game when we got the goal.”

On if the guys can get a win in Seattle …
“Of course we can. We’ve got the players to win anywhere as we’ve shown. Nobody thought we would go to LAFC and win but we did. Where have we been? Red Bulls, one of the toughest games. I look at the Atlanta games, maybe one of the best teams at home, could’ve gone either way. We can go there and win for sure. We are going to go and try to win.”

On how he looks to maintain attacking pressure in the offensive third moving forward …
“We have done really well with that here but we played against a really, really good team who actually played out [of the back] on a really tough surface and they gambled on some of the little small, intricate passes, sometimes we cut it out, when we didn’t they [went] through to you. That’s why they’ve won the Supporters Shield. That’s why they’re the best team in the league and I thought we coped with them well. Second half, especially. I thought we got ourselves in really good spots, thought the midfield three actually started to realize what their jobs were and as I said, second half, I was delighted with our performance.”

On what he saw out of Angelo Rodriguez during his layoff …
“I think that he’s certainly gave us some life up there today. He gave us a starting point. It’s an old saying in football, if you can’t get a hold of the ball in the opposing teams half, invariably it comes straight back and that was what was happening in the first half. But that’s something that we’ll work on with Mason [Toye]. He’s big enough, he’s strong enough to do that. It’s still early days for him in terms of that little part of his game. Angelo gave us an outlet tonight. I’m sure if you ask their two centerbacks, they’d realize they’d been in the game in the second half.”

On what he’s seen from Angelo over the last few weeks …
“He’s trained hard this week. We had a chat last week, he’s working hard. That’s all I ask of players, give us everything you’ve got, Monday to Friday and on Saturday, then we’ll see where we go.”

On Ike Opara’s health …
“He should be okay.”

On if the crowd matches his expectations at Allianz Field …
“It’s been better than I thought and I love the relationship that is developing between the players and the crowd which is always a great sign. They’ve been incredible. The supporters have been everything we expected for the stadium and I think the players have been that as well. They’ve given performances here that they’ve been excited about. In the second half today, the willingness and the drive and the enthusiasm of the guys to try and make things happen and that’s what they did.”

MINNESOTA UNITED FORWARD ANGELO RODRIGUEZ

On how he changed the game entering the match …
[SPA] “Bueno, es mi estilo. Creo que supimos aprovecharlo, a veces nos gana más la ansiedad y bueno este fue un partido de es. Hay que estar tranquilo después de tanto tiempo se volvió a jugar cuarenta-cinco minutos y bueno hay que seguir dándole más y forzarse en los entrenos y a ver qué pasa.”

[ENG] “Well it’s my style. I think that we knew how to take advantage of it but sometimes anxiety gets the best of us, I think tonight’s game was one of those. I’m staying calm, and after so much time I had the chance to play forty five minutes and I have to keep going and keep working hard in training and we’ll see what happens.”

On not being a part of the roster in the last couple matches …
[SPA] “Creo que para nadie es grato, yo como jugador siempre quiere jugar y a veces es el futbol, pasa y hay que enfrentarlo en la mejor manera. Solo queda ser fuerte y entrenar y en esta ocasión me toco.”

[ENG] “I think that nothing given, every player wants to play and sometimes this is football. These things happen and you face it in the best possible way. You stay strong, train and on this occasion I had the opportunity to play.”

On Adrian’s conversation, last week …
[SPA] “Bueno, yo creo que eso se queda entre el técnico y mi persona pero si hablamos de algunas cosas que por allí, de pronto mantener una buena comunicación de los dos, de pronto más que todo por el idioma. Más que nada hablar y mirar más que nada que le gusta a él y que quiere más de mí y bueno eso trate de hacer entre semana y mantenerme en los dieciocho.”

[ENG] “Well, I think that these things stay between a coach and myself. We did speak about things and we try to keep open communication because of the language barrier. Above all we talk about what kind of things [Adrian] is looking for from me and what he would like of me and we must work on these things throughout the week to stay in the eighteen.”

On what Adrian asked of him in the conversation last week …
[SPA] “Más que todo un delantero que aguante el balón y obviamente corre al espacio pero bueno somos distintitos jugadores y al que le toque tendrá que hacerlo en la mejor manera.”

[ENG] “Above all as a forward you must be able to hold the ball and obviously run into space. [Mason and I] are different players and whoever gets the chance we must be able to do it in the best possible way.”

On feeling rusty after not playing in the last few games …
[SPA] “Bueno lo dije al principio, quería marcar, quería regresar con gol. Si se acuerdan hace unos meses, me entraron tres y esta vez tuve tres opciones pero ninguna me entro pero hay que estar tranquilo, creo que hice las cosas bien, tuve oportunidades de gol que es lo más importante. Esto es futbol, hay que corregir, entrenar y a ver que pasara en la semana.”

[ENG] “Well I think what I said earlier, I wanted to score. I wanted to return with a goal. If you remember a couple months back I scored three goals, this time around I had three chances but none of them went in. I stay calm, I think I did everything well and had options to score which is the most important thing. This is football, we adjust, train and we’ll see what can happen next week.”

On the condition of the pitch affecting scoring chances …
[SPA] “No hay excusa. Vuelvo y repito me gano la ansiedad. Raro a la vez, de pronto acelerar en unas ocasiones y unas detuve bien el arquero. Pero hay que estar tranquilo, se jugó que es lo importante, se va agarrando ritmo y bueno sabes que hay una competencia entre los jugadores y hay que ganárselo.

[ENG] “There is no excuse. I repeat, anxiety got the best of me tonight. It’s rare but I accelerated too much in one occasion and others the goalkeeper stopped. We must stay calm, we played and that’s the most important thing. We are getting our rhythm and we all know there is healthy competition within the team and one must win their spot to play.”

On thoughts on if the team is playoff ready …
[SPA] “Tenemos primero que todo, un equipo muy fuerte y creo que aquí en local y es lo beneficios que vamos a tener. Entonces es estar veinticinco jugadores concentrados y al que le toque tiene que hacer las cosas bien y que todos tenemos un objetivo de ser campeones y todos tenemos que correr por el mismo lado.”

[ENG] “First of all, we have a strong team and I think that we are very strong at home. It’s twenty five players that are completely focused, we must do our best and we have the same objective to be champions as we all run on the same side.”

MINNESOTA UNITED DEFENDER MICHAEL BOXALL

On the run he made at LAFC’s backline for his goal …
“It’s something that we work on in training. And, just, we know the timing off Jan [Gregus] with his run up, and when he puts his hand up and down. I mean, I’m not sure if they even moved. So, I think that’s the most open I’ve ever been and might ever be in the box.”

On holding on to the number two spot in the league – with Seattle in third – heading to Seattle next week, with a chance of hosting two playoff games, and how confident they are …
“I think with this group, what we’ve done this season, when we’re fit, healthy and ready to go, we’ve gone to tough places and we’ve got results, especially against this top team that we played tonight. We went to their place and won. We need to finish as high as possible. We’d love to. I mean, you heard that tonight. We’d love to have that energy in the playoffs as well.”

On the feeling that Adrian Heath had that another goal was coming after the first …
“Before, I kind of felt LAFC scored against the run of play. That second half, we were really pressing them, and obviously you give [Carlos] Vela half a chance in that sort of area, he punishes you. Once we equalized, I 100 percent thought we could go on and find a winner. I mean, we were a few inches away from it with Angelo [Rodriguez] there, but, wasn’t meant to be.”

On if his goal was acrobatic the way he was twisting and turning …
“I don’t know. It all happened so quickly, I kind of blacked out.”

On if he heard the crowd call and answer with the PA announcer of his first and last name after his goal …
“I heard that one. That one was, that one was very loud and it’s not often that it’s my name. Yeah, definitely heard that one.”

On if he’s pleased with the way they defended against all LAFC’s attacking weapons …
“I think in the first half they really came at us and they showed how dangerous they can be. I think, maybe they got a little unlucky hitting the post once or twice. But, credit to my boys – Vito [Mannone] came up big, Ike [Opara], the whole back four, plus the midfield – just putting their body on the line for the whole 90 minutes. But, I mean, that’s something we’ve seen throughout the season, so I’m not surprised, but that’s so much of what we expect from our guys.”

On if Angelo Rodriguez looked inspired tonight …
“Yeah. I’m surprised he didn’t score, he could have scored, what, two goals tonight? I mean, he’s a great professional and he’s been out of the picture for a couple of weeks. And obviously got a chance tonight and really grabbed it with both hands.”

On how much of an advantage having played on this pitch was for them, as LAFC had a lot of errant balls in the first half …
“They move the ball around well. I’d like to say we’re used to our home field, but you don’t get used to that. So, I think anything that stifles them a little bit, we can’t argue with that.”

On how much of an issue the field has been and for so long …
“I think, I mean, there was a time during the middle of the season when it was settled and quite firm. And then, I’m not too sure what happened. But, I mean, it’s not an excuse. Whatever surface we’ve got, we just have to get out there and play. I’m still happy it’s there and not TCF [Bank Stadium].”

On if he ever felt that safety was an issue on the field because of the grass condition …
“Not for me. Although, when Ike [Opara] went down, that was a bit of a scare. I’m not sure if it’s because he got caught on the turf or because of just a desperation stretch for the ball. But, yeah, I’m not sure.”

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