Adrian Heath sent a bit of a message to his players when naming his starting lineup for Tuesday’s match against the Columbus Crew SC.
While three national team departures and six injuries forced his hand on many of the changes, at least one was a deliberate move to make an example to the team.
Left winger Miguel Ibarra, who had started the past 11 matches, sat on the bench in favor of Ish Jome and only came on for the last 10 or so minutes. While Ibarra did seem to bring some life to the team with his substitution, Heath felt that same vitality was lacking in United’s road loss at New York City FC this past Thursday.
“You can’t pick and choose when we have that energy,” Heath said. “To put all that energy in at TCF Bank Stadium [when it’s the] same three points on the road? Can’t pick and choose when you decide that you want to play with full energy. That’s non-negotiable. And that goes for three or four players.”
All eyes on Ramirez
Forward Christian Ramirez didn’t make the U.S. national team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which begins Friday, but his 10 goals haven’t gone ignored. Heath said Monday the U.S. team made the club aware it was considering Ramirez when the preliminary 40-man U.S. roster for the tournament took shape in early June.
“People had asked because he was the highest [American] goal scorer, I think … at the time,” Heath said. “They let us know that they are following him, monitoring him. So it’s a nice little thing being dangled out there for him.
“If he could get around 20 goals, that would be an incredible first season. And if he does, that will probably be enough to get him a call-up. So that’s the aim.”