Robin Lod netted the game-winner for Minnesota United FC on Sunday, giving the club their first-ever win over the Seattle Sounders through seven previous meetings in four years of competition. It was also Adrian Heath’s 50th win as the Loons manager. The winner came late in the second half after teammate Niko Hansen dribbled down the right side of the pitch and crossed the ball to a wide-open Lod on the 6-yard-box, who smashed home down the middle of the net.
Postgame, Lod credited the fans for the atmosphere and expressed how amazing it was being at Allianz with full capacity once again. “It was my first game with the full stadium since back in 2019, so it definitely was really good,” he said. “The fans are great, and I love them and all the credit for them making noise. It makes us players play more.”
The versatile frontman returned from the UEFA Euro 2020 competition late in June and has since re-inserted himself in the starting XI. Adrian Heath insists that Lod and Emanuel Reynoso are on some sort of wavelength where they just know how to play with each other. It will be interesting to see if the Loons front four can produce some magic together this summer, knowing that all four pieces are now officially in place.
Fullback DJ Taylor is making Heath’s choice difficult moving forward
With Romain Métanire out of the country, attempting to obtain a green card in France, 23-year-old DJ Taylor has stepped up and played a massive role for the Loons. Taylor signed with MNUFC in the offseason after three standout years in the USL with North Carolina FC.
Taylor has started the past two matches but played in the past three and has certainly looked the part. The young American could have a big role this season, but for now, he’s just happy to have made his debut and gotten minutes since.
“Yeah, I think I’ve grown a lot over the last three weeks,” he said. “Obviously, debuting with 45 minutes was good, and obviously getting my full 90 in Colorado, which is even one of the toughest places with the altitude. But I knew coming back home it was going to be a great experience. Obviously being home with the fans, they change everything for you. I knew this 90-plus would get me through it. I feel like I’m in shape enough now too to go for however long the coach is willing. ”
Taylor will now be making Heath’s choices difficult, as he now has to look at both the qualities that Metanire and Taylor bring to the table. Taylor was asked post game Sunday what competition in that spot means to him.
“Yeah, I think I was brought here knowing about Romain [Métanire], and obviously it’s my job to be there,” he said, “if Romain is out of the picture, then I’m the next guy to step up. Obviously, I think I’m making my case now and showing Adrian [Heath] that I can do that. But at the end of the day the choice is up to him, I just got to be able to push that. So that he has a harder choice to make.”
Adrian Heath gets his 50th win as Loons manager
The Englishman joined the Loons in 2017 as their first-ever manager in Major League Soccer. He had previously managed Orlando City in MLS from 2014-2016 while also having previous spells in the second division of England in the English Championship as well as the USL in America.
Heath is now on his fourth season as the Loons gaffer, and it seems that his long-term appointment was indeed a good choice made by the club’s front office. Over the first three seasons of his tenure in Minnesota, there were skeptics based on the club’s performance on the pitch; however, there was always a glimpse of a very well coached team in transition whenever they played. The Loons breakout season last year that saw them make it to the Western Conference Final was the insurance the club needed to extend his contract for two more seasons, too.
Now? Following an atrocious 0-4 start to the season, the Loons are unbeaten in eight out of their last nine. The gaffer brought in the players he wanted and is playing the football he wants. He was asked Sunday about what his 50th win means to him as he exited the press conference. As he walked out, he smiled and said that he’s happy to have achieved the milestone but wishes it would have come a little sooner.