Minnesota United might have some changes in the lineup come Saturday's game at TCF Bank Stadium.
Coach Adrian Heath hasn't hid his displeasure with the team's performance in a 3-0 loss at the New York Red Bulls this past weekend. And while the lineup should be back to full strength for Atlanta on Saturday with national team duty and injury returns, Heath doesn't seem keen on letting this one bad early season performance go.
"I can't go into the game Saturday when, not knowing what I'm going to get when there was a lot of complimentary stuff said about a lot of players after the Chicago game," Heath said. "I didn’t see it against New York. I'm sorry. I'm not going to be prepared to watch people playing not to their maximum, and I think that was the case on Saturday. We'll see where that leaves us for this week."
While the Loons came off a solid win against Chicago sporting the highest GPS tracker numbers in Heath's tenure, this past game was the lowest of the season so far. Heath said that swing was "frustrating," especially considering the week of training in between didn't hint at any kind of drop-off.
But the coach said this game wasn't necessarily a one-off. He hasn't felt that his team has gotten enough players in the box on attacking opportunities all season, which he attributes to a lack of energy and desire to get there.
Winger Ethan Finlay said the team just needs to be "nastier" in the midfield so it doesn't feel like the players beat themselves by not giving their best performance.
And as far as last season's leading scorer Christian Ramirez being without a goal in four games so far, Heath said Ramirez is "a little bit out of sorts. That’s pretty evident." But he also said as a striker, Ramirez just has to keep going, and eventually the breakthrough will happen.
As for the rookie defenders, Wyatt Omsberg and Carter Manley, as well as winger Frantz Pangop who debuted in New York, Heath said it was difficult for them because they didn't get a lot of support. But he did see glimpses of good play.
The good news is, the coach also said he is "hopeful," that outside backs Jerome Thiesson (left hip) and Tyrone Mears (right calf) will be back in this weekend. Mears worked with the group again for the first time Tuesday at the National Sports Center after enduring his injury late in the Chicago match. Thiesson tweaked his hip in a one-on-one drill about a week ago and still sat out. Missing this last game was the first time Thiesson hadn't played for United since he arrived here, a streak of 36 games.
Center back Michael Boxall was also back to practice after national team duty with New Zealand. Center back Francisco Calvo and midfielder Rasmus Schuller will arrive back in town Wednesday but likely won't be at training until Thursday.