The nightmares of Minnesota United’s 2018 season just won’t quit.
A week after being elimated from the playoffs in a 5-1 defeat to the Philadelphia Union, the Loons lost 2-0 at home to the Colorado Rapids, the Western Conference’s second-worst side. A clunky game that featured four video reviews — two of which disallowed goals for United — and a brawl to close was a disappointing affair.
“I look back at the defeats to Dallas, we had 19 efforts on goal that night, we played really well. Two late goals against Seattle, but we played really well on the day,” said United manager Adrian Heath. “Today, I can’t say that. I thought the first goal would be crucial and it turned out they got it and we weren’t good enough on the day to do anything about that.”
The match official, Guido Gonzales, received plenty of criticism from fans after four length VAR reviews. Twice he used replay to disallow United goals, both instances for offside offenses by Designated Player forward Angelo Rodriguez.
“Knowing the rules of the game is different than knowing the game. I just felt the referee today didn’t help the situation with the continually blowing up and people going down, blowing when it’s not a head injury,” said Heath. “That frustrated everybody and I think that led to a lot of the unnecessary ending to the game.”
“It was obviously frustrating from everybody’s behalf. The amount of time that we took, even if it’s the right decision. If that’s the way the game is going to go, not sure it’s going to benefit the game,” Heath continued. “You can’t have four- and five-minute stoppages. That’s not what our game is about. That’s what makes it the game it is. The flow of the game. The continual play.”
Goalkeeper Matt Lampson found the calls to be demoralizing. “I mean, it is heartbreaking, especially goals like that — high, emotional goals that tie the game twice. That is brutal,” he said.
“[VAR reviews are] supposed to be expedited. The way that they presented it to us was that it should be seamless and quick. All [four] of them took very, very long,” Lampson explained. “It absolutely destroys the momentum of the game.”
However, Lampson declined to elaborate on the referee’s game management techniques to avoid a fine.
Injuries and international duty brought some lineup changes from Heath. Jérôme Thiesson, who recently returned to the starting lineup after an injury, was not part of the match day squad. Heath tersely explained that he wanted to give opportunities to other players.
Bobby Shuttleworth’s back injury brought Lampson back into the lineup, though the game was not a satisfying return. “We lost the game, so it did not feel that good,” he said.
Lampson was also part of a bizarre defensive sequence that featured several close-range saves and goal-line clearances. “I just tried to get in front of it,” he said of the series. “Luckily my teammates were there to bail me out a few times and I bailed them out a few times. That is how a team works.”
The Loons host the LA Galaxy next Sunday in the last home game at TCF Bank Stadium. More than 50,000 tickets have been sold or distributed for the match, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic is expected to play for the Galaxy.
Heath was blunt about what he expects from his players in that game. “If you can’t show up in front of 50,000 people against the standard bearers of the league for the last maybe eight, nine years, then maybe you’re in the wrong profession.”
A late brawl saw Harrison Heath receive a red card; Twitter reports say he spat on a Colorado player were determined to be false ... An argument about the review process for the brawl could be heard in the press box — the VAR’s and Rapids’ technical staff’s booths were adjacent to each other ... Announced attendance was 19,733 ... Next week’s game against the Galaxy will be aired nationally on ESPN