The mood was light after practice on Wednesday as Minnesota United has seemingly begun to find somewhat of a groove in Major League Soccer.
Loons head coach Adrian Heath said the team was becoming more settled both on and off the field. And allegedly Jerome Thiesson and rookie Abu Danladi have dovetailed to form a blossoming comedy duo — watch the full interview with Adrian Heath for the details on that and why his mantra is “work hard, play hard.”
“I think the chemistry in the group… the camaraderie, everything is better now. You see the friendships, bonding with different groups. Suddenly now we are finding out who the jokers are in the group… That’s something that takes time,” Heath said. “I think I’m getting a better handle of what we’ve got, who plays best together and I think that’s manifesting in the results we’ve got.”
Minnesota came away from its draw with Houston with some injury concerns. Heath said he knows minimal about Rasmus Schuller’s injury and will test it out in the coming days. Schuller started on the left wing last Saturday but Heath said the Finn had license to float and cause trouble in the middle for the opposing side, a tactic, he said, we could see again in the future.
Bobby Shuttleworth left the game prematurely after taking a knee to the head. Heath confirmed that Shuttleworth is, in fact, in the concussion protocol but feels better than he has after previous concussions.
Heath said he wasn’t surprised by Molino’s top-notch performance against Houston and called the winger the best at what he does in the league. Heath added that he has “no doubt” Molino will end up with double-digit goals and assists this season.
“Some people think we gave up a lot for him, I think we got him cheap,” Heath said. “As much as I thought some of his play was excellent, it doesn’t surprise me and it’s what I expect.”
Heath said he’s glad United is coming up on a three-game homestand and wants to make TCF Bank Stadium a “fortress.” Last time at home the Loons smashed a listless Real Salt Lake, 4-2. However, RSL won both its matches since that time versus Vancouver and Colorado, respectively, making that result look even better, according to Heath.
Talk of Danladi taking on a larger role in the team have increased in recent weeks. Heath said he sees the UCLA product “ultimately playing through the middle” but has shown good positioning and discipline when deployed out wide.
Marc Burch discusses what it will be like for him and Sam Cronin to face their old team just weeks after being traded.