Sunday night was a great night for Minnesota United. A 3-0 win over FC Dallas, securing a home playoff match, moving their unbeaten streak to 8 straight matches, and getting Dayne’s 6th clean sheet in 13 starts. Adrian Heath was rightfully thrilled about all of that.
“More satisfaction this year because of what we’ve been through. I know I’ve mentioned it, but, trust me guys, this has been the most stressful sort of five or six months that I’ve ever had in football. And, I’m really pleased with the players tonight. And, I thought my little conversation, shall we say, at halftime on Wednesday obviously had an effect because we came out on the front foot and we played the way I know we can play. When we get the right players in the right positions and move the ball the way we can, you know with Robin [Lod], with Kev [Molino], Ethan [Finlay] was there today, then Rey [Emanuel Reynoso], we’re very, very difficult to play against. Obviously, pleased for everybody. Pleased for all the staff. Pleased for all the supporters. Pleased for the ownership group. Because, I think we’ve proved an awful lot of people wrong this year with the amount of adversity that we’ve had to come through. I get a lot of pleasure from that.”
This came after a match against Chicago where Heath was notably upset about his teams’ performance. This was not the case on Sunday night however.
“I didn’t question their effort. I thought it was a little bit misguided and I thought that at times we took a backwards step when we could take a forward step. That’s virtually not happened all evening and it just makes so much of a difference to a football team when you’re being positive and you’re playing on the front foot rather than giving the initiative to the opposition. And, going back towards your own goal. I thought we played forward. We ran forward. All the things that we ask of the team. I just spoke to the players, and I watched the [Manchester] City, Liverpool game this morning. All the best players are the people who run forward and are positive and I know they’re far better than us, but the principle of doing that and making it difficult for people and making people run towards their own goal, rather than coming and running to yours, makes all the difference in the world and I thought we were very good at that this evening.”
Marlon Hairston was also happy about MNUFC’s performance on Sunday night, which carried over from their second half showing on Wednesday against the Fire.
“Yeah definitely. The way we ended the last game, the second half, we feel like that was 45 minutes, one of our best performances of the season. You know, we were on the front foot from the beginning of the second half, putting them under pressure, winning second balls in midfield, and when we do that we give our attack good opportunities to score and to help our team. We have one of the best front four, front five, front six in the league and I’m just stepping in to help do my part in a position I haven’t played in a while. But, for us to carry that performance over this game, it meant a lot for each one of the guys in the locker room. We’re just proud of the result and happy to get the shutout.”
And after a great win the club continued it’s normal tradition of applauding the Wonderwall, which is usually home to a boisterous crowd, has been empty this season in 2020. Heath had a little fun with what he said but also acknowledged how much the fans mean.
“Yeah. But, what you didn’t see, that end was full. Didn’t come across on TV. I’m only kidding, I’m only kidding. Seriously. Obviously, they know what our supporters mean to us and obviously playing that Wonderwall at the end of the game was their little appreciation of the support we’ve had. I know they haven’t been in the stadium, but they players have all spoke about what they’ve been seeing when they see people around the city. So, I think that was their little bit of a thank you. Hey, hopefully, we’ve got a few more home games and hopefully that end will be full next year with some of the best supporters in the league.”
Marlon Hairston acknowledged that as well, even noting how much of an impact the few fans in attendance had as well.
“Yeah, this year has been a crazy year for everyone, but the support from the few people that are allowed to come to the game and cheer us on, it meant a lot to us. It’s empty, but you know, they were huge for us. We could hear them and their support took us through 90 minutes today and we appreciate them. And we are going to continue to need their support, and from the fans at home, going into the playoffs. What better feeling then for us to have a home playoff game.”