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Notebook: Robin Lod gave a very Lovable performance last night for Adrian Heath

A goal and a solid performance from the midfielder helped send the Loons to the Quarter-Finals of the knockout round.

MLS: Columbus Crew SC vs Minnesota United FC Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Last night Robin Lod gave Minnesota United the goal that nearly sent them into the Quarter-Finals on its own. Most of the match the Loons led Columbus Crew 1-0, but that changed with a José Aja foul in the box giving the Crew a PK. While Tyler Miller saved Gyasi Zardes penalty Zardes would put the rebound in, which would send the match to penalties.

Lod’s performance is criticized by fans quite frequently, and not necessarily without merit, but his performance last night did show what he is capable of. Adrian Heath had this to say after the match:

“The one thing is, we know that we’ve got a quality player on our hands. If you ask any of the people in our team, in the squad, they all know the qualities that Robin [Lod] has got. And, I see it. Every day. Now, he conceivably could have had two or three down here. If you look at the beginning of the season, he could have had two or three. Hopefully, a bit of confidence will come through with that now. It’s always nice to get off the mark. But, I have no worries about Robin Lod. I think his attitude to work and be a part of a group for the greater good of the group is there for all to see.”

Robin Lod himself was very happy to be able to score last night. In the post match presser he said:

“It feels so good, good to score. I mean the game was really good for us as a team and we worked so hard as a team and had a good result, and today was my turn to score a goal, but the important thing is that we went through as a team.”

Along with Lod’s goal and performance, Aja’s foul and the subsequent goal give up made a big difference in the match. MNUFC went from hanging back holding the lead to having to try and mount a last gasp of an attack to keep out of the shootout. Tyler Miller would save 1 of Columbus’ 4 shots during it. Miller would say when asked about penalties and the shootout:

“For me, I’m relaxed. I know all the pressure is on the shooter. I told our guys before, to just pick your spot and stick with it and be confident, and I think that in PKs a lot of it just comes down to your confidence. So I felt really confident in our guys and I knew if I could make one save to help my team then that my guys would be able to come through. And they did.”

It was also thought and floated that Heath had his team practicing penalties during training, which he did confirm:

“We practice them in training. But, you’re never 100 percent certain at the order because you never know who is going to be on the field. And as I always say, I always want people who are confident to take a penalty. Because, it is a different psyche. I’ve seen the best players in the world miss penalties, because, you can’t put into practice when you’ve played 90 minutes the mental fatigue and the physical fatigue. I said to them, whatever you do, be positive, and they were. Really good penalties. I always think that if you take five penalties, we’ve got a goalkeeper that will save at least one. And that’s what he did.”

Heath would also say when asked about any strategy’s given before the shootout:

“I just said to them, listen, be positive in whatever you do. I know that the goalkeeper has more of a chance if you want to roll them slowly down the side or try and do the Panenka or whatever you want to do. So, I just wanted them to be positive and put the foot through it and make sure that if the keeper is going to save it, it’s going to be a really good save.”