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Notebook: Differing takes between Manager and Players

Ethan Finlay and Adrian Heath had very different opinions on a few key questions last night.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Orlando City SC Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Last night Minnesota United dropped their first match of 2020 to Orlando City in the MLS Is Back Semi-Finals. A big problem for the Loons, especially compared to the previous matches against Columbus Crew SC and San Jose Earthquakes, was their lack of attack and offense. Adrian Heath had this to say after the match:

“We didn’t get enough bodies forward at times and we didn’t have enough quality. I thought we rushed everything. After the first 15 minutes where we started the game really well, but we needed that extra pass in their final third, and we rushed it. We crossed it when there wasn’t enough people in the box. We made a lot of wrong choices in the final third tonight and that’s probably cost us dearly I think.”

Ethan Finlay had a little bit of a different take than Heath did. Saying this after the match:

“Just the final pass, a little bit of sharpness. I’ll say I was disappointing there whether it be crosses, making that final, it wasn’t there this evening and we need to do a better job of that. We’ve done a better job at that all tournament. Tonight it it just didn’t happen. So it was a little bit of sharpness in the final third. I’ll put my hand up, Luis [Amarilla] will out his hand up, we could have been sharper at time, Robin [Lod] as well in that first 30 to maybe, like you said, nick an early goal. You said we didn’t have a shot until the 75th minute, yet it felt like we were very much on the front foot and we were right there. We got to clean up that area of the field, we got to be more dynamic, we gotta be just sharper in those moments and we weren’t tonight. But don’t take away from what the subs did when they came in. They all made a difference. It was that pass from Kevin Molino which was a decisive pass and good movement by Mason [Toye], we gotta get back to that kind of stuff and we’ve done that all tournament and unfortunately, we didn’t do it tonight when we needed to.”

Luis Nani also made his presence known for Orlando City last night, scoring a brace for the Lions. When asked about Nani, Heath stated:

“His second goal was a quality goal. From a quality player. The first one, we should have done a lot more with it. It’s a 75-yard ball and we shouldn’t be getting done with one ball. But, there was not a lot in the game. I don’t know how many corners we’ve had, how many free kicks we’ve had. And, perhaps the little bit of quality that we have had in the last few games was missing tonight. I don’t think we had enough quality in the final third. Because, we started the game really well, the first 15, 20 minutes, and then they came into it. But, overall, I’m really pleased with the players. Proud of the players. What they’ve done over the last five weeks in a really difficult situation for the players and the staff and everybody who has been down here. Our players have handled themselves admirably I think. There’s a lot of positives to come from the tournament.”

Ethan Finlay again had a completely separate take on the subject than Heath did. After the match Finlay said:

“No I don’t that was the case. I think it was a case of ten minutes of where we maybe weren’t as mentally checked on as we had been this whole tournament. For the first 30 minutes of this game, I thought we were the better team and they were struggling to build out the back and we were on the front foot for most of the time. [Nani] makes two great plays obviously but, I think this group, and we saw it as the game went on, we’ll take away…we feel like we get rid of those moments where we could do a little bit better, I think all of us together were in this game. I think if we get something in the first half before they get their goals, I think it’s a totally different game. Didn’t happen tonight which is obviously disappointing but I still feel really good about this group, where we’re at and what we can do.”

At the end of the night though Minnesota United’s Tournament was ended but possibly not the season. What comes up next is still a mystery to us but there are some hints out there. Michael Boxall said this last night when asked about the team going forward in 2020:

“Pushing on for those home playoffs spots. Everyone who finished with this team last year has a still huge amount of disappointment in the way we didn’t win that home playoff game last year. It’s doing the same again. Securing a home playoff game, once again being a team that other teams do not want to play in the playoffs and then taking that extra step and making a deep playoff run. That’s our expectations. We’ve got a group that’s more than capable of that.”