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Notebook: Injury woes plague MNUFC, and in turn lead to defeat at SKC

SKC got the best of a shorthanded MNUFC side on Sunday night

Minnesota United FC v Sporting Kansas City Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

“They were obviously the better team first half. We tried to change the shape to see if we could stifle them in the middle of the park, but that didn’t work. I thought the shape in the second half was better. Obviously, when we got the likes of [Robin] Lod and [Kevin] Molino and [Emanuel] Reynoso in, we looked like we got the quality that we know we got. But, apart from that, you know it would have been a very, probably unjust, result had they not won the game when you consider the opportunities they’ve had.”

That was Minnesota United manager Adrian Heath’s thoughts on his teams overall performance, and honestly I cannot disagree with that. Without question Sporting Kansas City played a much better 90 minutes than MNUFC did. And the new formation did pose some issues according to Michael Boxall.

“The challenges, especially coming to Kansas City is trying to get on the ball and play in advanced positions to be dangerous and create chances. There were quite a few times when we just got caught with six, seven, eight players behind the ball. We play these guys so many times and they are so well drilled on what they do, and keeping the ball and making us move and spend we spent quite a bit of energy doing that in the first half.”

Goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair, who made his third start for the Loons, had some differing thoughts compared to Heath and Boxall.

“I think we did well keeping our shape and trying to make it hard for them for 85 minutes of the game. I think we were a bit unlucky with the goal…and I think that we just wanted come in and make it hard for them and I think we did that.”

A big part of that was due to the lineup changes the Loons made for the first 45 minutes. With a total of 8 players out for the match against SKC and two matches per week, it was expected to see some changes.

“The ones that were on the bench who played so well in the last two games, obviously, the three attacking players, Kevin [Molino], Robin [Lod] and [Emanuel] Reynoso, have played a lot of minutes. And we have to protect them. If you look around the league, I think it was Salt Lake, made eight or nine changes the other day. We can’t keep playing the same group every four days until the end of the season. It’s impossible. But, you know, this week will be good. Hopefully we can get some recuperation in the guys. And, can get them a little bit healthier. And then, another away game. It won’t be easy next week down in Houston.”

Again nothing here that I even slightly disagree with Heath on. The issues injury wise do not look to be going away anytime soon however. Out of the eight players listed out of Sunday’s match it looks as if only 2-3 will be back soon according to the gaffer.

“Probably, maybe, maybe the only one would be Aaron [Schoenfeld] at this moment in time. It’d probably be too early for Ozzie [Alonso] I would think. Obviously, Romain [Metanire], his suspension will be up. Luis [Amarilla] probably not. So, hopefully we can get Aaron Schoenfeld back and that will give us another option up front.”

One thing brought up a lot on social media was Johnny Russell’s goal and whether or not he was on or offsides. Heath, Boxall, and St. Clair all had slightly differing thoughts on the situation.

“I can’t see from where I was, to be honest. Even in the stadium, the views that they put up, you couldn’t work out if it was offside or onside, to be honest. So, I can’t really comment on that.” Adrian Heath said post match.

Boxall was a lot more outspoken on the matter, saying:

“As it happened I thought there’s no way he can be onside. I saw a still image where he looks offside.”

Dayne St. Clair, while agreeing with Boxall that Russell was offsides, also took it in stride as just how the game goes. Being quoted as

“I mean, the linesman said that the left back kept him on, but after looking at it, Chase is ahead of our center back…but that’s just how the game goes sometimes.”

Some other tidbits coming out of the presser last night are.

When Heath was asked about Thomás Chacón going on loan back to Danubio:

“I’ll have a better idea tonight when I get back. Obviously, Mark Watson has been dealing with some of the stuff, what we’ve been trying to do over the last few days. I’ll get a clearer picture of that later this evening.”

When asked about Ike Opara’s status:

“No, not at this moment. It’s pretty much as it were. Obviously it’s a little bit frustrating, but, at the end of the day we have to let time take its course.”