Minnesota United forward Abu Danladi wishes this wasn't a bye week after this past Saturday's annoying 1-0 loss to Atlanta.
"You always want to play another game and prove to yourself you can get better results," Danladi said. "Just having to wait two more weeks before a game is kind of hard."
With a few days to reflect on the game, Danladi said with Atlanta parking the bus, so to say, with all its players in the box after going down a man, the only way to score would have been from a great header because the ball was always in the air. He said as a striker, he would have liked to have taken more shots. He also said the midfielders would have liked to draw the Atlanta players out more.
"It was one of those games, you know?" Danladi said. "Everybody gave their all. We run as team. We defended as a team, and we thought it was our day when they got a red card. But they did whatever they can. They defended the ball real well, also wasted a lot of time, which kind of slowed down the game. Due to the weather, it was kind of hard. I think sometimes, you do whatever you can, you just can't score. I think as a forward, I didn't do as much as I can to try and score."
But the plus side of having an extra week to prepare for the April 14 game at Portland is more time to recover. Danladi, while he started Saturday, has been battling a hamstring injury he picked up just before the first game of the season that has limited his playing time since. He said while the cold weather against Atlanta wasn't the best for his injury, he made it through the game without re-injuring anything, which was a good sign. He said he's "getting there" in terms of a full recovery and called it a "work in progress."
Also, not to drag out the saga of team captain Francisco Calvo's postgame comments, but here's Danladi's take.
"I understand why he says that," he said. "I go on the Internet sometimes, see the comments people make about Minnesota. Some of it's nice, but as a team, you get criticism, and you've got to earn the respect from the league."
Danladi said in the end, the Loons can't compare themselves to other teams and instead have to use this season as a chance to prove their worth. But one aspect of the club doesn't need any explaining.
"We have incredible fans," Danladi said. "I don't think people understand how amazing it is to have fans who show up in 20-degree weather to come and watch a game. ... All the other things other people say around it is not very important as long as you have people that really care about the team and really support us."
Some other notes:
Midfielder Kevin Molino had his ACL surgery on his left knee on Monday. So begins his road to recovery for next season.
The kickoff time for United's game at LAFC on May 9 was changed to 9 p.m. It was originally at 9:30 p.m. Yay, West Coast games.
At practice Tuesday at the National Sports Center, outside back Jerome Thiesson (left hip) and striker Christian Ramirez (ankle) were missing. New addition Darwin Quintero practiced in full with the group for the first time.
"You can tell he's an incredible player, experienced," Danladi said of Quintero, who he added has great touches and ball movement. "It's good having a player like that on the team. ... As a forward, I'm looking forward to playing with a player like that, what he can bring to the team and what he can do to help me as well to play forward."
Danladi said everyone is excited to play with Quintero and have the him up the level of the team, even if that means more competition for playing time. As a young player, he said, it's just an "honor" to play alongside guys like Quintero, Ibson, Ethan Finlay and Kevin Molino. Aw.
The Loons have just one more day of practice before some time off the rest of this bye week.