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Notebook: We haven’t shot ourselves in the foot

That was Adrian Heath’s common theme on MNUFC’s three straight clean sheets

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Nashville SC Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Last night Minnesota United FC drew nil-nil with Nashville SC at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, TN in the first meeting between the clubs. And while the Loons didn’t leave Music City with three points they did leave with their third consecutive clean sheet.

“We haven’t shot ourselves in the foot. You’ve heard me say it before, about beating ourselves, we haven’t done that.” said Adrian Heath “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.”

Jose Aja, who has been one of the bigger pieces to the Loons defensive efforts, spoke to the media last night on how the teams performance has been.

“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.”

And while a clean sheet is nice the issue in the last 6 matches has been the Loons lack of scoring. In the last 6 matches Minnesota has only scored 5 goals in that time period. Adrian Heath addressed the issues in the first 45 minutes last night.

“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.”

Ethan Finlay made his first appearance last night since being subbed on against Houston on September 2nd and his first start since August 29th against Dallas. Finlay was instrumental in the chances MNUFC got last night, but ultimately the team couldn’t convert.

“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.”

Extra Tidbits:

Update on Luis Amarilla:

“I should know more tomorrow. In fact, I probably will know something tomorrow.”