Postgame Quotes | #NSHvMIN

Postgame Quotes | #NSHvMIN

MINNESOTA UNITED HEAD COACH ADRIAN HEATH

On if he would call tonight a better performance than result or better result than performance …
It was a better performance than result. Second half, what did we have, 10? Ten opportunities at goal. A couple of really, really good opportunities. I probably would have accepted a result before the game, but, in hindsight, I thought we did enough to win the game.

On three straight shutouts for MNUFC and the common theme for those three …
We haven’t shot ourselves in the foot. You’ve heard me say it before, about beating ourselves, we haven’t done that. Although, the first 10 minutes, we tried our best to keep turning the ball over cheaply in our defensive third. Once we eradicated that, we looked really, really solid. Really good shape defensively. And, as always happens on the road, our goalkeeper came up with one great save in the first half. And I don’t use that word lightly. Standing behind [Alex] Muyl, it’s an unbelievable save. Only somebody this size and length, would get to it. Another great night for the kid.

On how he saw the team since they played 72 hours ago, regardless of the game stats …
Well, obviously, the same for them. I was talking to their coach before and after the game tonight. They’re a bit like us. They are a bit banged up. They’ve got people injured. People who are playing who are not 100 percent. I think most of us are in that same boat. You know, it’s difficult because we’re not going to be able to do anything, really, for another 48 hours, and then, before you know it, you’re preparing to go away to Dallas, which, we know is very, very difficult. It’s not an ideal situation, but, we’re all in the same boat and we have to make the most of it. Certainly, the guys, the teams who have got a full complement of players, shall we say, and not any injuries, it will be a huge advange to them in the next sort of three weeks.

On if he was hoping to go through the night with just one substitute and if he was hoping to get 90 minutes out of Ethan Finlay …
Yeah. I think you know my feelings on people who talk about substitutes. I don’t know what the fascination with it is, because, I would have started him if I thought he would have made a difference. But, no. I didn’t want to change the rhythm of the team, and Ethan [Finlay] felt great. And Aaron [Schoenfeld] has not played for a long while, we managed to get a good 70 out of him. And the rest of the guys felt good. I thought the second half, the two lone midfield players did exceptionally well, because they did have the extra body in there, but, we had a better shape and we sort of nullified their third man in there. So, there was a lot of good and pleasing things. Not least of all, the third clean sheet in a row.

On if he got an explanation on Randall Leal’s lack of a second yellow card in the play with Jose Aja at the end line boards …
No. No, I didn’t. You probably saw it more than I did. Obviously, you get re-runs on the TV, but you rarely get them in stadium. So, no, I didn’t, but, you know, at the end of the day, you look at the foul from where we were, but, obviously, a long, long way away from where I am.

On Kei Kamara’s defending with his head in the box …
The one thing about Kei [Kamara] is he’s always been very, very good in both boxes. You know, tonight, especially on the road, when it’s late on in games, when it’s tight, people are going to put quality balls in your box and that’s where you need him. And, he’s doing that now, but he’s been doing it for the last 15, 20 years.

On what he didn’t see offensively in the first 45 minutes …
I don’t think our quality through the middle of the pitch was as good as it was in the second half. Our shape was a little bit lopsided. And, once we sorted that out at halftime, and we spoke about when we need to press and where we need the ball to go before we press. And, second half, it was a lot, lot better. So, then we started to get some controlled possession in their half of the field. Then we started to get [Emanuel] Reynoso on the ball. And, then, you know, we started to move it quicker. I thought in the first half, we got in some good spots, but we didn’t move the ball quick enough. And, the best teams always have eight playing and two watching. In the first half, we had, maybe, two playing and eight watching. So, you know, that’s a big difference. I thought second half, everybody wants the ball. We got in good spots. And, we looked a bit progressive with our play as well.

On an update on the status Luis Amarilla …
I should know more tomorrow. In fact, I probably will know something tomorrow.

On if he saw any spark between Emanuel Reynoso and Ethan Finlay with it being the first time they really played on the field together …
The one thing I do know, is, if we can get runners ahead of Rey [Reynoso], he will pick people out. That’s what he’s always done. He’s got a great range of passing. He’s got a great time of the pass. He knows when to play it to people. When it puts the defender out of the game. We’ll learn on the back of that. And, as I’ve said, the more we play with him, the better it’s going to be. Ethan [Finlay] is obviously very disappointed with the great opportunity he had. You know, had we scored then, we probably would have gone on to win the game. But, that’s football. You have to take your opportunities when they come. Especially on the road. It’s the oldest saying in football, goals change games, and had we gone 1-nil up, the worst we would have got is a result. And, I think we might have even then had more opportunities on the break, had we gone one up.

On if Ethan Finlay apologized to him for missing his chance on net …
He obviously didn’t need to apologize. He didn’t mean to miss. Obviously. That’s football. Sometimes you score, sometimes you miss. The most important thing is don’t let it affect you. Get in there the next time and be positive. And, I’m sure he’ll do that. 

On how impressed he has been with Dayne St. Clair since he has come into the squad and if he has exceeded his expectations …
Well, I wouldn’t say he’s exceeded it, because, we’ve always been extremely confident in what we got. Now, I remember fielding questions a few weeks ago, where, you’ve got to go and get some experience, well, sometimes kids need to play to get experience. And, there’s no way I was going to go out and get another goalkeeper when we’ve got a kid who we think has a really, really bright future. I think two or three people said to me, it’s going to be too much for Dayne [St. Clair]. You’ve got to get an experienced keeper. But, you know, that’s where you learn. 21 is not young. You know, when I was 21, I probably had played 200 league games. So, we’ve got to get him in the team to see what he’s about. And, he’s proved he can play in the MLS. And, he’ll only get better.

 

MINNESOTA UNITED MIDFIELDER ETHAN FINLAY

On how he felt starting and playing a full 90 minutes…
I felt great. I’ve been having a good four or five days leading into Tuesday here, leading into today. I had a good conversation with Adrian [Heath] before the game on Saturday and we had a good plan leading into this game. I don’t think at the time the plan was necessarily for me to start, but I knew they knew I was going to be available and I knew that I would be available for this trip and that’s kind of what we had marked down. I think everything I’ve done over the last five days, and the amount of work, and have been able to progress, gave them the confidence to put me out there to start the game and I guess they were happy as the game continued. I made it to about the 91st, I think, until I had a little bit of a cramp in the leg, in the calf area, but I was happy physically how I was able to hold up and play the whole game.

On how he felt physically other than the calf cramp…
Well, probably just a little bit worse than, little more sore than usual after playing 90 minutes. Just probably a little bit more swollen probably in that left knee, but that we know is going to be the status quo coming out of the game, coming out of 90 minutes, that’s the most that I’ve done on it. But all that being said, I actually feel pretty good. We’ve got a couple remedies that we’ve already been doing right when I get off the field to try to reduce the swelling, and I should be fine, I think it should be nice to get back late this evening and then get into treatment tomorrow and start that process up.

On what was missing to open the score…
It’s clear. We weren’t sharp in the final third – the last pass, the last shot, some of that decision making, hand up. If I go to chip Joe Willis there, and you look silly if he stands up and you look like a genius, like Messi, if he goes down. You know, you make a decision in that moment and that was the decision I made. I’ll look at it, I’ll go back analyze and see what I could have done a little bit differently … but I’ll take a lot of positives from tonight. We got into some great spots, Kevin had a great chance in the first half and give credit to Daniel Lovitz making a great play coming back, but those little moments where I thought maybe we just weren’t quite sharp enough and you look at the two guys who had those pretty good chances and these are two guys that are coming off of injuries. So, while Kevin and I definitely expect to be better in those moments, I think there’s some understanding, a little bit of patience, knowing we are coming back from injury and getting that sharpness. But, a lot of positives from the chances created tonight and I thought how we executed in the second half was awesome. We had a game plan, we figured them out, a little bit, I thought late in the first half and then coming out in the second half we had a clearer idea of how we wanted to play offensively and defensively and I think we’ve had one of our better 45 minutes on the road that at least I’ve been a part of.

On approaching the rehab for his knee having previous injuries…
I have a tremendous relationship with the medical staff here, whether it be our ATC in Stacey [Hardin] or Dr. [Aimee] Klapach who did the surgery. I have a lot of support from the whole Allina Health team that we are affiliated with and all those resources I’m always trying to maximize. Right when it happened I was talking about all the scenarios – worst case, best case – when we had the surgery it was kind of a situation where we had an idea thinking it was just going to be probably three to six weeks, somewhere in that timespan. My first thing was, I don’t want to put a timeline on when I come back and have an expectation, I want to make sure my body is right for the team and for the group. You know, I worked very diligently and very hard to try and get back because we are down some bodies, we are dealing short-handed, there’s a lot of Saturdays/Wednesdays so they’re going to need bodies, but I don’t feel like I was pushed by any means, by any of the staff to get back, or by any of the players, I was able to manage that all on my own. You know, I always think when you have an injury, your hard work is tested and your diligence – things like activation and rehab – all that stuff is tested and I’m thankful I do a lot of that before I got injured and I think it makes my recovery that much quicker.

On how he hurt his knee…
Well, I have been dealing with some discomfort in my knee for a little while, that we were kind of managing. And I think I had some off-and-on swelling where it would be like, “Oh I’m hurting,” you know a little sore one day after a game and then three-four days later I’m doing fine. So, I didn’t think anything of it maybe for a few weeks and right before the Salt Lake game, just didn’t feel right. Just did a certain motion in warmup and just unfortunately didn’t quite feel right and I didn’t feel right trying to go out on the field the following day and trying to tough it out, if you will. In that 24-hour timespan we got a couple of scans and talked to the doctors and we made a plan that I think everyone was happy with. It’s brought us to this point where I’m back on the field in less than four weeks.

On playing with Emanuel Reynoso…
He’s an exceptional player, he really is and I’ve been able to notice that just being in the stands and watching him the last couple of weeks in training and what not. Some of the passes today, that I just think off the top of my head – he has a no-look cut pass to me in the first half that I end up putting across in the box, but that’s a ball that a handful of guys in our league are making. He’s got eyes in the back of his head with that pass. Just knowing and being able to feel where the pressure is, feel where the run is going to be. And then his pass in the second half to me – hard into my feet and I cut it across [Dave] Romney – that’s one of the moments of sharpness where I expect to be a little bit better. But Kei was giving me a hard time actually and just saying he’s seen that in Columbus for three, four years where that’s a clean first touch there and you just side-foot it into the bottom corner with your left foot and I took a bit of a heavy touch and Walker [Zimmerman] was able to challenge me there. But those types of little plays, very just precise passing, very crisp on the ball. And I just love his energy, on and off the ball. I mean not many [designated players] come here and work defensively like I think he has. And I think that’s a testament to how he was raised and type of system that he’s played in and how he’s grown up. He’s not just a flashy guy, he’s here to work hard and be a part of the group. On the defensive side of the ball, I think that’s going to be a tremendous asset for us, especially as we go on to playoffs.

On seeing a lot of Kei Kamara in his career…
I think he’s going to be a great asset, defensively and offensively. You saw tonight he makes two big clearances late in the second half. Those are really big moments for us and I think we already have a pretty big, dominant team. We saw that in Orlando, we were really good defensively I thought. And you add another great piece. You know hopefully we add him on more of the offensives crosses and set pieces because he is such an asset in the air. I think, you have him, you have Aaron now, we’ve got a pretty big team up front and we got some great crossers of the ball in Romain [Metanire], Chase [Gasper]. I think this team is really coming together and I think we’ve added some great pieces. We’re, I feel like, trending in the right direction right now, even though there was a draw tonight, this locker room, this appetite for wins and we continue to climb up the ladder and I love that mentality from this group. I think it’s going to suit us well going forward.

 

MINNESOTA UNITED DEFENDER JOSE AJA

On the consistency in the Minnesota defense to earn three clean sheets in a row…
It’s very important to keep the clean sheets in the last three games. I think the team defensively did a great job, we did again in this game tonight. It’s really important for the team to stay with the clean sheet and then when we create the chances, try to score but we can’t win this game but it’s important, on the road when you can’t win, to get some points.

On if he was given an explanation for why the foul he suffered wasn’t a yellow card to Randall Leal…
I talked to the ref, I said that’s a clear yellow card for me but he said it was just a foul. Well, I keep talking to him and I say that if it happens to me, for sure he gives a yellow to me. I tried to explain to the referee that’s a clear yellow card but he said it’s just a foul.

On if he felt Leal already having a yellow card on the books affected the decision…
Yeah, maybe. It has to be because for me, I repeat, it was a clear yellow card but maybe that was that was the reason. He already has a yellow card so the referee tried to keep him playing the game.

On how he feels physically and after a shutout…
[SPA] Físicamente, este año me he sentido excelente. He jugado las mayorías de los partidos y hemos jugados muchísimos partidos, tanto como en Orlando que jugábamos cada tres días y luego empezó la temporada regular, estamos jugando casi dos partidos por semana. El coach ha confiado en mí, he jugado casi todos los partidos. Me siento muy bien físicamente y trato de dar siempre mi cien por ciento y dar lo mejor para el equipo.

[ENG] Physically, I’ve felt excellent all year. I’ve played the majority of the games and we’ve played a lot of games, like in Orlando when we were playing every three days and now in the regular season where we have two games every week. The coach has a lot of confidence in me, he’s had me play most games. I feel good physically and I try to give 100 percent and give my best for the team.

On facing FC Dallas on the road for the second time this season…
[SPA] Acerca de Dallas, va ser un partido muy importante para nosotros porque estamos ya en la recta final del campeonato y la mayoría de puntos que podamos sumar, principalmente contra los equipos que están en nuestra conferencia como Dallas, son muy importantes esos puntos. Así que iremos de visita, va ser un partido difícil, pero creo que el equipo viene jugando muy bien, de excelente manera, y podemos conseguir la victoria.

[ENG] Regarding Dallas, it’s going to be a big game for us because we’re in the final stretch of the season and it’s important for us to get as many points as we can , especially against teams in our own conference, like Dallas. So we’ll go there as visitors, it’ll be a tough game but I think we’re in good form and I think we can win the game.

On Kei Kamara’s ability to defend in the box…
It’s very important. Defensively, in the set pieces for us it’s important to have him. In attacking I think he’s one of the best strikers in the league and he’s scored many, many goals. He’s in the top ten scoring all-time in the MLS. He’s very important for us to have him on the team. I think he’s been doing really well, his first games. He has a lot of confidence now because he scored in the last game and he’s important for us.

On his opinion of Dayne St. Clair’s assertiveness as a goalkeeper…
I have been talking to Dayne since he started to play and I think he’s a really good goalkeeper. One thing to improve is to talk more and it’s normal because he’s young and he’s starting out in the team. It’s real that Kei talk to him and we keep talking to him, [Michael Boxall] and me, and try to stay with him all the time, talking from the back four and I think that he did a great, great job tonight. He made two big saves and he talk a lot. He’s been improving a lot and he’s important for us to have him in the team.

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