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Notebook: Finlay’s performance earns a brace, but MNUFC can’t manage the win.

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After only securing a single point last night MNUFC will face Columbus next Tuesday

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Colorado Rapids Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota United’s match last night against Colorado Rapids was more fun to watch and was, at least attacking wise, was more successful than the previous one against Real Salt Lake. And the end of the night the result ended up staying the same. Ethan Finlay, who got a brace in the match, was happy to score but was not happy with the result saying:

“Yeah, I mean it feels good. Obviously I’ve had some chances this tournament and it’s good to put two away. And, you know, unfortunately I think I’ve had seven or eight of these in my career where I’ve had a brace and have yet to complete the hat trick…tonight would’ve been a good night to do it, but you know, didn’t get it done, but it was good on a personal level. Obviously I’d take the win any day though.”

Adrian Heath was just as happy with Finlay’s brace but was not surprised with his performance. Saying after the match:

“The one thing about Ethan [Finlay] is it’s never in question. His energy levels and his willingness to run and do what you ask of him. Tonight, it’s always nice for wide guys to get on the scoresheet because the amount of runs he makes into the box, we probably didn’t pick him out another couple of times where he probably had a great opportunity to get a hat trick if our quality in the final third had been a bit more. So, I’m pleased for him. That will do his confidence no end. The fact that he scored a couple of goals and, you know, he’ll obviously be itching to play against his old team, Columbus, next Tuesday.”

When asked about the first goal Gasper said:

“The first one, my job’s to guard the top of the box, so that if anything comes out. And Jan [Gregus], we’ve been working on this at practice a lot, Jan fired in a great free kick and Ethan was in a great position and got the perfect flick on it, and just a great goal from the training ground. The second one, same thing, I was just at the top of the box doing my job…I can’t really think of it right now.”

Ethan Finlay also is looking forward to the extra two days of rest now:

“You know, this is what happens with tournament play, there’s going to be quick turnaround. I think this club and I think these guys have put a lot of effort in, you could see that. What we did in our first two games of the season, that was all the work we did in the preseason. I think we had a very similar setup as we led into this tournament and I think, hopefully, that’ll reflect, you know, as these games go on. I feel like, as the game goes on, we become somewhat of the fresher team, and I think we’ve shown that, and that will be tested again, I think we’ll be playing on [Tuesday], so our guys will take care of their bodies. You gotta be a professional about it, and both teams are in a way going to have to deal with it, maybe they get an extra day of rest on us, but we will be ready.”

After a tough draw MNUFC will now move onto the knockout round against Columbus Crew next Tuesday night. This was considered to be the worst option for a knockout round match for MNUFC. Heath however looks at this match as a challenge for Minnesota considering all the hype around the Crew.

“Well, we probably won’t turn up because everybody has crowned them champions already, so, maybe we’ll give it to them. It’s another team that we have to face. And we’ll be ready. I’ve felt as though we’ve gotten better each game. I thought we were better tonight. And, I think we’ll be better for tonight’s performance. And our energy levels were better. And, I’m really looking forward to the game.”

Finlay is looking forward to the chance to face his former club in the knockout round:

“Well, I’m going to come out, whoever the opponent is, and give everything I got. But, obviously it’s a former team of mine, I’ve got some former teammates that play on that team, so I won’t need anymore [reason] to get up for that game. You know, it’s been one of the better teams throughout this tournament and, so, to get to a final you know you obviously at some point are going to have to play the best and you know we’re probably going to get one of the better teams in the first round and it’s a great test for us. We’re a club that wants, has, great aspirations and you’re playing a team is, I think, probably is the Supporter’s [Shield] lead right now if I remember correctly, so it’s going to be a great test for us. I’ll be up for it, and I think our guys will be up for it.”

Gregus is also looking forward to the Crew especially after what people are saying about how good Columbus is:

“Yeah, throughout the tournament, all the players have been watching all the games, and I think a lot of people have really tuned into Columbus, they’ve been playing some great soccer and they’re a great team. So, like Ethan mentioned earlier, at some point in the tournament you’re going to have to beat the best in order to be the best, so, you know, whether it was Columbus or some other team. We’re going to come out swinging, we’re going to come out fighting and give it all in our game, and so, we’re looking forward to the match-up.”