Training Quotes | #MINvNSH | Minnesota United FC

TRAINING

Head Coach Adrian Heath

On the result at Philadelphia on the weekend…

“Yea, I was. It’s never an easy place to go, Philly. You look at their results over the last couple of years, they’re excellent. To take a point, to play as well as we did, especially in the first half, I was pleased with the performance.”

On if he felt the team deserved three points instead of one…

“I think we did. I don’t think we made enough of the quality counter-attacks that we had. We had numbers up on two or three occasions and we never really got a clear, cut finish from it. That was a bit disappointing but on the whole, first game of the season, on the road, difficult opponent, I have to be pleased.”

On Oniel Fisher and Bakaye Dibassy’s performances as outside backs…

“Well, they’re both experienced players aren’t they? Oniel [Fisher] has played for a long time in this league, comfortable playing either side. And [Bakaye] Dibassy has played [leftback] in the top division in France. It’s not the position Dibassy probably wants to play but he came in and was excellent and gave us another big body in set pieces and across the back. So I was pleased with the pair of em.”

On Kervin Arriaga’s debut performance and his threat in set pieces

“He’s such a big boy, he’s 6’3”, maybe 6’4”. He’s very athletic. He wants to go and head it as well and that’s a pretty potent combination when you’ve got somebody that big who wants to actually go and head the ball. It’s something that will be another strength to our boat for sure, from set pieces in both boxes.”

On Arriaga’s free kick abilities…

“If you look back at his highlight reel from down in Honduras, there’s some fantastic free kicks. He’s got a cannon of a shot, can score from 30 to 40 yards as well. He had a very, very encouraging debut, but he did all the things we thought he was capable of. It was a great start for him and we think he’s got a big future in MLS.”

On Luis Amarilla getting the start and his performance…

“Not really, I think he had a chance early on. Maybe the first five minutes and I think he should have had the shot on his left foot. I think he tried to cut back on his right. He had a bit more time than he realized to set himself. We’ve got no qualms about Luis [Amarilla], we know if we put enough balls in the box, we’ve got a quality striker and, invariably, he’ll finish a few opportunities that come his way.”

On Nashville’s game against Seattle on Opening Day…

“I think they had 19 draws last year and that tells you a lot about them. They don’t give a lot away. They don’t beat themselves. Really well organized, Gary [Smith] has done a great job with them. We know we’re going to have play really well this weekend to get a result. They don’t beat themselves very often and that’s a good trait to have. Especially on the road, they have a really good defensive unit, good defensive shape and then they’ve got the likes of [Hany] Mukhtar and [Randall] Leal who can catch you on the break and got good pace, smart players, take up good positions on the counter-attack. You’re going to have to be fully concentrated on both ends of the field. I know Gary will be more than aware that if we play as well as we can, we cause teams an awful lot of problems at home.”

On what makes Hany Mukhtar so special…

“He’s smart. Scores goals, makes goals – the most important thing in football. That’s why they go for the most money. Last year he had probably a breakout year. I wouldn’t say he struggled, but he was a bit up and down in his first year, but certainly last year he showed the DP quality that he is. Certainly we will have to watch him very carefully at the weekend.”

Goalkeeper Tyler Miller

On the result at Philadelphia on the weekend…

“Philly is a very difficult place to play. To go in there, opening day, to come away with a point, we’re satisfied with that but there were so many opportunities that we had that we could have come away with all three points, and I think everyone is kind of disappointed in that aspect. We’re happy with how we were able to grind out the point but dissatisfied with the end results because we knew that the three points were there for the taking.”

On the changes to the backline last weekend…

“Chemistry is always a big thing but, honestly, they’re all veteran players in there. I think everybody stepped up. The whole team itself, I went back and watched the film and you could see the amount of blocks and guys throwing their bodies and sacrificing to block shots. It really made a major impact on the game and moving forward, we know now we have such a versatile group that anybody you plug into those positions they can come up and perform well.”

On Hassani Dotson playing a more defensive role…

“It’s a major role and it goes unnoticed a lot of times. But I think Hassani [Dotson] had a tremendous game. He was disrupting the play and it allowed for Kervin [Arriaga] and the other midfielders to be a little more adventurous and get forward into the attack. We were able to create some really good counter opportunities because Hassani’s role of sitting and defending, and we got caught on the break, he’s there to break up the play. I think he had a really good game.”

On Nashville SC now being in the Western Conference and their performance against Seattle…

“[The draws] just speak to it. They’re a very difficult team to beat. Have a strong defensive unit, good goalkeeper, good centerback duo and they have the ability to really catch teams on the break. They’re going to be a challenging team to play against. They put all 11 guys behind the ball to defend every opportunity that they get and so we’re going to have to be quick with how we move the ball and really smart with how we play and be cautious of the counterattack.”

On Walker Zimmerman and Dax McCarty…

“They’re two veteran guys. Walker [Zimmerman] had a fanbtastic season last year, he’s been doing well with the national team and he’s one of my close friends. And Dax [McCarty], he’s been playing for however long and he’s had a very historic career. Around them as well, [Nashville] has done a good job of creating a really strong unit and their manager [Gary Smith] has the team locked in to every single game. We know it’s going to be a challenging game. The weather will make it even more challenging but we’re up to the task and there can’t be any excuses on Saturday.”

On Hany Mukhtar…

“Hany is a great player. He scored a lot of goals last year and had a lot of assists as well. He’s a dangerous player but you can’t ignore the other attacking threats that they have. Because if we spend too much time worrying about one forward, the second forward finds a way to get open. We know they have a really clinical finishing attack and we have to be aware of that.”

On being back at Allianz Field for the first time in 2022…

“Everybody is. Our fans were a major part of our season last year. They were a key influential factor and the reason we were so good at home. We’re all looking forward to getting out there in some proper Minnesota weather.”

Midfielder Hassani Dotson

On the result at Philadelphia on the weekend…

“I think disappointing for how well we played in the first half, but obviously, the second half the tides turned. I think coming into the season, a point away and we can take a lot of good things out of that and we know there’s some stuff we need to work on that we can implement into this coming game. So a bit mixed feelings about that one.”

On his role as a true holding midfielder against Philadelphia…

“My job is to allow the players ahead of me to have the freedom and go forward as much as possible. To be another guy in the back to solidify the defense is a different role but something I’m excited to play if I’m ever needed, and asked to be played again. It’s learning and deciding when are the moments I can drive forward and when to be more safe. Something I’m still trying to work on.

On playing with a new midfield partner in Kervin Arriaga…

“Especially playing against a team like Philly, you don’t always play against a narrow diamond. And then obviously, the language barrier and learning that I don’t speak that much Spanish, and trying to get on the same page there. I think it was really good for our first time playing together. And then we were able to make a couple changes late in the second half to make sure we don’t concede another goal.”

On Nashville SC now being in the Western Conference and their performance against Seattle…

“They have really good players and I think they’re very organized. If you look at the games they played in the East, they don’t concede many goals. Like I said, they’re very disciplined, very organized and it showed in getting three points away in Seattle. It’s a hard place to play. The way they play, and some of the things we looked at to take advantage of Philly, we might look to do the same against Nashville.”

On Dax McCarty…

“I think he probably scans the field the best in the league. You see him every two seconds, he’s checking his shoulder. It’s something that’s motivating to try to get to that level. He always know where to go, where his touch needs to be and I think no one really talks about that side of the game for him, but it’s something I noticed.”

On Hany Mukhtar…

“He’s got a lot of good tools. He can shoot. He can dribble. He’s quick. I think just trying to be honest, be an honest defender and play what the game gives me and not diving in, of course. He’s got a lot of highlight reels so far in this league, but they got a lot of other weapons too. Like CJ [Sapong] and [Randall] Leal and even Walker Zimmerman on set pieces. It’s a battle we’re excited to take on.”

On being back at Allianz Field for the first time in 2022…

“I’m really excited. And this one, it looks like on the forecast, is going to be pretty cold. I’m really hopeful that we can get the win for the fans for all the support in coming out in the weather.”