After last week’s match against vaunted FC Dallas, Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath’s primary message was that his team is better than they showed but that the players need to believe in themselves to get winning results.
Heath said if the match had happened a few weeks later his team could have won the game.
“We can only speak about it because the belief has to come from within. Normally it’s results that give you that [so] it’s not easy when you’ve lost games on the road,” Heath said. “Most important thing is we need to build on what we did last week — there was a lot of encouraging stuff.”
Right now Minnesota sits tied for bottom of the Western Conference with four points, whereas Houston is third with nine. After this weekend, United has a three straight games at home.
“We are getting better. If you watch us carefully, I think there has been a lot of improvement in a lot of the aspects of our game,” Heath said. “[Houston] is a difficult game. If we can get a result this weekend it sets us up nicely for three games at home, which is going to be important for us.”
Heath said Abu Danladi and Rasmus Schuller are two players who are pushing hardest to be included in the starting XI. He said Abu’s health is a big reason he hasn’t seen more playing time as of yet.
“If we can keep him fit and make himself nice and sharp, like he is doing, he’s making it very difficult for me to leave him out of the team at the moment,” Heath said.
He added that Ibson, who did not start last week but came on as a substitute will be vital for United going forward.
“There’s probably nobody more confident in his own ability than him. And when things aren’t going particularly well for a team and people are a little [lacking] confidence, that’s the one thing he can [do] is spark the team, get them playing because he has supreme confidence in his own ability. We are going to need that during this year.”
Another player likely pushing to start is Miguel Ibarra, who has struggled to find consistent playing time for United thus far. Heath said he feels the team has an abundance of attacking players and this is why the former U.S. national team player can’t get on the field.
“He’s got to keep working and wait for his opportunity to come,” Heath said. “His chance will come again and it’s up to Miggy to take it.”
Lastly, Heath added the team is still potentially looking to add pieces to the roster, pointing to the fact that Minnesota United as a team is still very a much a team in flux.
Outside back Jerome Thiesson said a lot of the mistakes are individual right now and that the defense is improving.
Midfielder Rasmus Schuller says United remains confident in its offensive capabilities.