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Quotesheet: Heath, Mannone and Calvo discuss Minnesota United’s season-opening victory

The coach, new goalkeeper and captain share their thoughts on what went well and where the Loons will look to improve.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota United picked up their first victory of the 2019 season in their first match of the campaign — their first away victory in 357 days.

The performance was largely strong, but there were still places for improvement. Check out the perspectives of key personnel, with quotes courtesy of United’s public relations department.

“After the first goal I thought we were outstanding in the first half,” said manager Adrian Heath of his side’s performance. “We dictated the tempo of the game. I thought we dictated the play. We looked the more likely to score ... But as I said before the game, this is a different group than we’ve had before. These haven’t got any baggage from the last couple years, going on the road and losing games and not being able to dig themselves out of bad situations ... I thought some of our play at times on the counterattack was outstanding. With a little bit of better finishing we could have killed the game off before we did.”

“For 70 minutes, we controlled the game,” said captain and defender Francisco Calvo. “At the end, it’s normal that we give the ball to them. They’re home, they’re trying to tie. We demonstrated character when we defend. The only way they could’ve scored was in set pieces.”

Goalkeeper Vito Mannone made his debut for the Loons, but still expects to improve on the performance. “It’s good. We’re getting along a lot,” he said of his chemistry with his defenders. “Obviously with the time and with playing time, probably it’s going to get better and better. So it’s only a matter of time, working each day on the training field and producing great performances like today. Hopefully we’re going to improve, and we want more clean sheets.”

Part of that improvement will have to come on defending set pieces, something Heath took notice of. “Well, we didn’t look like we were going to do that in preseason, we’ve looked really good on set pieces,” he explained. “We’ll have a look at it, have a look at the good things, have a look at the stuff that was not so good, and try and correct it and get ourselves prepared for next week.”

United are back on the West Coast next week to take on the San Jose Earthquakes.