Adrian Heath was left frustrated by Minnesota United’s display against D.C. United, claiming his team did not “compete” in the 3-1 defeat.
Minnesota are involved in a tight fight for the playoffs in the Western Conference, and now must bounce back against FC Dallas, who have lost their last three MLS matches, on Saturday.
The Loons had less possession (45.6 per cent) and fewer shots (six, compared to 15) than D.C. on Wednesday, and it could have been a heavier defeat had Ola Kamara – who scored one and set up another – converted a second penalty of the match.
Heath chose to switch to a 5-4-1 system, but he was left infuriated by what he saw as a lack of a competitive edge to his team’s play.
“You can play with three at the back, five at the back, 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1, but then you have to compete,” said Heath.
“I thought they were better with the ball, and better without it. When you’re not good with it, and you don’t compete without it, you’re going to struggle to win games.”
The clash with Dallas does present a good opportunity for Minnesota to return to winning ways, however.
Dallas went down 3-1 at home to Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday. Ricardo Pepi scored again to offer the hosts hope, but given they were down to 10 men after Bryan Acosta’s dismissal, a comeback never seemed likely.
“I feel like we had a chance,” said Pepi.
“The team was pushing and working hard to get back in the game but we go down to 10 men, so we struggled a little bit. It was kind of hard to get back into the game.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
FC Dallas – Ricardo Pepi
Pepi has scored nine of FC Dallas’ 12 home goals since the beginning of June (excluding own-goals), the joint-most home goals scored by a player in that time, alongside D.C. United’s league-leading scorer Kamara.
Minnesota United – Franco Fragapane
Franco Fragapane has recorded an assist in three consecutive matches for the second time this season (also in June-July), despite having played only 11 games so far.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Fragapane’s run of assists is the fifth time a player has recorded an assist in three consecutive matches over a single season in the club’s history (excluding playoffs), but no one has provided an assist in four matches in a row for the Loons.
– The Loons have lost the last three matches on the road and are in danger of losing four consecutive away matches for the first time since April-June 2019 (L4).
– Minnesota is unbeaten in four straight matches against FC Dallas (W3 D1), though all three wins came at home. The Loons have collected just one point in five visits to Toyota Stadium, earning a 1-1 draw on June 19.
– Dallas’ defeat to Sporting was the first time its conceded more than two goals in a home match since August 2019, against Minnesota (W 5-3).
– Dallas has picked up just one point in its last four home matches, the worst record it has registered in a four-match span at home since August-September 2005 (D1 L3).