So maybe Adrian Heath should try screaming at his players before every match, too, instead of just at halftime.
Despite Minnesota United’s comeback 2-2 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday, the coach was less than pleased with recovering a point from a match the Loons probably should have handily won. And while his locker room rants have turned the Loons (5-9-3) around multiple times this season, that act is starting to wear on the coach.
“We can’t wait until halftime until I come in and lose my voice to get the reaction that we had,” Heath said, “because if we do, it’s not going to be enough.”
Forward Christian Ramirez called his team’s performance in the first half “lackadaisical.” While all the statistics pointed toward a pretty good outing for the Loons, Ramirez said his team just seemed to be missing the “final piece.”
Heath lamented how the “fantastic” combination play in the midfield would die off before making it to the final third of the pitch, and the attacking players weren’t putting in the effort to create dangerous scoring opportunities, instead settling on just passing the ball back and forth.
“Not enough threat. Possession is great. There has got to be a purpose for your possession, and the purpose is to score goals, to work the back four, to work the goalkeeper. That’s the purpose of the game. Not to see how many touches you can have in the middle of the park,” Heath said. “Yeah, it’s nice, looks very pretty. I want to play like we did second half, where people were running in behind without the ball. Not make runs just to get the ball, make runs for other people. And when we do that, we’re decent.”
Unproductive first halves have been a hallmark for United this season. Not counting own goals, the Loons have scored only five first-half goals; they have 18 in the second half.
“Get out from the start. Get out from the first whistle and try to get three points,” team captain Francisco Calvo said of how his team can improve. “We don’t have to wait for them to score two goals until after that we wake up. … The small details [are what] make the difference in the big things.”
United travels to Eastern conference foe New York City FC (9-5-3) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. And finding out how to exhibit that second-half energy and determination in the first 45 minutes as well — without Heath’s yelling — is a deceptively simple fix.
“Football is mentality. Anything you do is mentality,” midfielder Kevin Molino said. “You’re going to have difficult times. You’re going to have back-to-back games. But it’s what you have in your mind and what you want to give out there for your team.”