A wild Tuesday night saw Atlanta United defeat Minnesota United 2-1 in a game that realistically could’ve gone to extra time or been as bad as 4-1 Atlanta. In the end the US Open Cup final didn’t go the way that Adrian Heath and the Loons wanted.
Head Coach Adrian Heath expressed pleasure in how his players acted even being down 2-0 early on. “We dug ourselves in a bit of a hole with the two goals we conceded early, but I thought the attitude of the guys was immense at times” Heath stated following the match.
Michael Boxall expressed the same sentiment that Heath did in terms of giving Atlanta an early lead and having to climb out of a deep hole. “Atlanta came out pretty strong in the first half, we had issues containing their front four or five.” Boxall said in the locker room.
Being down 2-0 at halftime of a USOC match happened previously to Minnesota while in Houston so this was not new territory for the club and Vito Mannone stated such. “The fact we came in [down] two-nil we’ve done it before in Houston, if we got the next goal it was gonna be game on, and that’s what happened.”
Adrian Heath didn’t make any changes at the half last night, but did give the players some encouragement. “We said to them at halftime can we go and get the next goal, if we do we feel there’s something for us and we did.”
That halftime speech worked as two minutes later MNUFC scored to bring it to 2-1. Michael Boxall had a positive outlook on the start of that half as well. “Then at half time [when] we scored we knew that if we got one we’d give ourselves every chance of bringing the trophy home.”
Some fans on the Twitterverse we’re curious at the decision of leaving Darwin on the bench to start the match. When questioned about the lineup and leaving him out of the starting XI Adrian just said “You just pick the team that you feel looks sharp in training. Players who I think would help us do what we wanted to do tonight, and that was what I did.”
Minnesota has struggled both on the road and when giving up the first goal this season. In league play the Loons are 4-8-1 on the road and an even worse 2-7-1 when allowing the first goal. “Well going away from home, we’ve got some huge games coming up, we can’t give ourselves that big [of] a mountain to climb.” Head Coach Adrian Heath mentioned in his post match press conference.
This Sunday will be the final match in a month long stretch of back to back, twice per week matches. Heath said in regards to this. “It will help us, It will help one or two to get themselves recharged, charge the batteries a little bit. [We’ve] got a really though game in LAFC but the we’ve got a bit of time, get some guys some minutes against Pachuca and hopefully be ready for the next one.”
The biggest match in the club’s 10 year history saw a few hundred fly down from the Twin Cities and keeper Vito Mannone notice that. “Fantastic, Fantastic effort from the fans.” We heard them, they we’re loud for the full game, it was great to come out for [the] warm-up and feel a piece of Minnesota was with us.”
Minnesota United’s next match is this Sunday at Banc of California against Western Conference and Supporter’s Shield leaders Los Angeles FC. Kickoff is set for 9;30 PM CT and can be seen on Fox Sports North. The Loons then return home on Saturday, September 7th for a friendly against Liga MX side C.F. Pachuca with that match being set for a 7 PM kickoff at Allianz Field.