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MNUFC Advances to Round 16 of With 4-1 Open Cup Win

June 13, 2019 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Minnesota United FC News Release

SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- With questions being asked about the decisiveness of a struggling front line, Minnesota United looked to send an emphatic response in a Fourth Round U.S. Open Cup game at Allianz Field against Sporting Kansas City - and respond they did. Two goals from midfielder Darwin Quintero and goals from forward Angelo Rodriguez and midfielder Ethan Finlay led MNUFC to a triumphant 4-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City. Along with a heap of goals, Minnesota United executed a tireless and effective high press that swallowed up the Sporting KC centerbacks. The visitors were forced into countless mistakes which led to dangerous chances for the Loons. The emphatic 4-1 result secured MNUFC a spot in the Round of 16 in the U.S. Open Cup, which Head Coach Adrian Heath was pleased with.

"It was a really good evening for us because the goalscorers couldn't have been three better players who needed a goal for their confidence," said Heath. "They'll be better for that. I thought that Hassani [Dotson] and Chase [Gasper] and Wyatt [Omsberg] did fantastic as well. Some of the guys needed minutes and some of the guys needed a little bit of a confidence boost in front of goal and we got all of that this evening."

Looking to erase their front line's scoring drought of 580 minutes, the Loons got off to a flying start. Just two minutes in, a deft, left-footed flick from Quintero put Rodriguez through on goal. The Colombian took his time, set his feet and slickly slotted the ball through the legs of Sporting Kansas City's goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas to give the home side a 1-0 lead. A seemingly relived Angelo Rodriguez pumped his fist in satisfaction after scoring as Allianz Field breathed a sigh of relief.

The Loons used Rodriguez's opening goal as a spark to enact a high press, putting the Kansas City defense under immense pressure. Led by Ethan Finlay - who was in constant motion, closing down angles and dictating the high press - the Loons were relentless, forcing giveaways, early long balls and early clearances. The pressure led to a golden chance for the Loons to take a two-goal lead as a Sporting KC giveaway allowed Rodriguez to send an early through ball to a streaking Finlay. Unfortunately, Finlay's touch took him away from goal making his shot easy for Adrian Zendejas to push aside and away from danger.

In the first 25 minutes of play, Sporting KC tried to counteract Minnesota's high press by playing a high defensive line. The visitors hoped to catch the MNUFC attack offside when they won the ball high up the field. It was clear that midfielders Hassani Dotson, Lawrence Olum and Collin Martin spotted this as they looked to exploit the high line. They sent long balls into the open space behind the SKC defense which the pacey MNUFC front line was glad to chase. Through the flying start and constant pressure sustained by Minnesota, the home side dominated much of the play in the first half.

To Minnesota's dismay, Sporting KC managed an equalizer against the run of play, tying the game at 1-1 in the 27th minute. After latching onto a back post cross, Kansas City's Jimmy Medranda did well to re-direct the ball to an advancing Gerso Fernandes. The winger competently struck a first time ball with his left foot, beating Mannone to the far post. Almost immediately after the goal, MNUFC nearly retook the lead through Collin Martin in the 30th minute. A defiant tackle from center back Michael Boxall led to Hassani Dotson playing Martin through on goal. He did well to round the goalkeeper but fumbled the ball and was forced to square to Angelo Rodriguez. The Colombian's shot was blocked off the line by an SKC defender, denying Rodriguez his second goal of the day.

The two sides headed to the break tied at a goal apiece but Minnesota clearly with the lion's share of chances. "[In the] first half, especially, we must have pinched so many balls pressing in their half of the field," said Heath.

Once again, the Loons came out of the locker room on a mission. Inside the first minute of the second half, Hassani Dotson battled his way through three Sporting KC midfielders and sent a dime of a pass onto the feet of Ethan Finlay. This time, the forward made no mistake as he sent a low, hard drive past a helpless Adrian Zendejas.

"I'm just trying to be patient with myself," said Ethan Finlay after game. "The goal that I had, in the end, I was much just much calmer on it then I was with the first opportunity I had."

Just 10 minutes later, MNUFC doubled their advantage in the 56th minute, this time through Darwin Quintero. A brilliant bit of hold-up play and a quick turn from Angelo Rodriguez gave the forward open real estate down the left flank to run into. The Colombian cut into the penalty box, dodged a flying tackle from a defender and rolled an easy cross onto the outstretched leg of Darwin Quintero.

Two minutes after Quintero gave MNUFC a 3-1 lead, goalkeeper Vito Mannone made a crucial acrobatic save to preserve the home side's two goal lead. In the 58th minute, Sporting KC's Daniel Salloi sent a looping shot from a tight angle which deflected and was seemingly destined to fly past Mannone's fingers. The goalkeeper jumped back and somehow got a touch on the ball, sending it off the crossbar and out of play. The save was greeted by loud cheers from the Wonderwall.

In the 67th minute Darwin Quintero put the game to bed in style, grabbing his second goal of the game and giving MNUFC a 4-1 lead. Angelo Rodriguez took advantage of the visitors' high line as he played a wide-open Quintero through on goal. In Darwin-esque fashion, the forward rounded the Sporting KC goalkeeper, faked a shot which sent a defender sprawling into the net and calmly scooped the ball in. Quintero's two goals came at an opportune time as the forward needed to find the back of the net to boost his confidence and jumpstart his form heading into the second half of the season.

"Everybody in the league has seen what Darwin's been capable of," said Adrian Heath. "He'd be the first to say that he's not been at the level that you expect for him. Being a forward, sometimes, you have barren spells. The important thing is to keep getting in there, keep being confident in your ability."

Minnesota United's next game will be another U.S. Open Cup game following the draw for the Round of 16 on Thursday, June 12 at 9:00 a.m. CT. Stay tuned for details regarding Minnesota's opponent as well as the date, time and location of the fixture.

Lineups

Minnesota United FC Starting XI: GK Vito Mannone; D Eric Miller (Carter Manley 82'), Michael Boxall, Wyatt Omsberg, Chase Gasper; M Lawrence Olum, Collin Martin, Hassani Dotson; F Ethan Finlay, Angelo Rodriguez (Mason Toye 75'), Darwin Quintero

MIN Unused Subs: GK Dayne St. Clair; M Miguel Ibarra

Sporting Kansas City Starting XI: GK Adrian Zendejas; D Andreu Fontas, Graham Smith, Graham Zusi, Jimmy Medranda (Seth Sinovic 75'); M Benny Feilhaber (Gianluca Busio 60'), Felipe Gutierrez, Ilie Sanchez; F Daniel Salloi, Gerso Fernandes, Yohan Croizet (Kelyn Rowe 75')

SKC Unused Subs: GK Erick Dick; D Camden Riley; M Felipe Hernandez; F Wan Kuzain

Game Events

Goals

2' - Rodriguez (Quintero) - MIN

27' - Gerso (Medranda, Gutierrez) - SKC

46' - Finlay (Dotson) - MIN

55' - Quintero (Rodriguez) - MIN

67' - Quintero (Rodriguez) - MIN

Discipline

39' - Olum (YC) - MIN

43' - Gutierrez (YC) - SKC

72' - Martin (YC) - MIN

85' - Dotson (YC) - MIN

Attendance: 7,211

MINNESOTA UNITED QUOTE SHEET

MINNESOTA UNITED HEAD COACH ADRIAN HEATH

On getting the result after dropping several games ...

"It was a really good evening for us because the goalscorers couldn't have been three better players who needed a goal for their confidence. They'll be better for that. Couple of assists for a couple of them as well. I thought that Hassani [Dotson] and Chase [Gasper] and Wyatt [Omsberg] did fantastic as well, so it's been a good night for us. Some of the guys needed minutes and some of the guys needed a little bit of a confidence boost in front of goal and we got all of that this evening."

On whether the break here comes at a good time for the club ...

"It is [a good time for break] but it's hard because you want to win and now we've got a game again now, Tuesday, Wednesday, maybe on the road, which is never ideal. There's a few of them that could do with maybe two or three days of completely nothing and then four or five days of a buildup to a game. We'll get the guys a couple of days off and see where they are because there's a lot of tired bodies."

On why he played Finlay, Rodriguez and Quintero and sat Ibarra, Kallman, etc. ...

"None of them were fit. That's the reason we didn't put Miggy [Ibarra] in. Miggy's had a calf strain for a couple of weeks and he was one of them this evening that we had to do what we had to do. I thought that Darwin [Quintero] and Angelo [Rodriguez] would benefit from another 90, and as it was proved, Darwin's got a couple of goals and I'm sure that will help his confidence. Angelo, I thought, did some really good stuff and looked dangerous all evening. It couldn't have really been a better evening for us."

On what it would mean to get Rodriguez and Quintero on the same page ...

"Everybody in the league has seen what Darwin's been capable of. He'd be the first to say that he's not been at the level that you expect for him. Being a forward, sometimes, you have barren spells. The important thing is to keep getting in there, keep being confident in your ability. And the two goals will do his confidence a world of good, as they will Angelo. We know that if we can get two fit and two confident players like Angelo and Darwin, they will be a handful for most teams."

On approaching the U.S. Open Cup going forward ...

"We're pleased to go through and we've had some strange results against Kansas City. We've had a couple of good home wins and couple good hidings on the road down there. We know what to expect and they put out the strongest lineup they could because they've had injuries this year. I always take a lot of satisfaction if I can get a result against Peter Vermes' team. I have enormous respect for him and that club. They're probably one of the best role models for most clubs in the league. They get incredible value into their players and I've no doubt that come the end of the season, they're going to be in and around the playoffs again."

On the players' reaction to the win ...

"They're pleased in there and they're happy. I think the most important thing is that the rest of the group are happy for them. They know they've had a lot of chances of late and they haven't taken them. One thing we do know is we have two quality players there. We have to hope this is a run for them. I was really pleased with the younger guys this evening. Hassani in midfield - he's played left back, right back and tonight at time's he's holding, other times he's attacking. Chase sort of carried on from where he did on Saturday. He came on and gave us something in that left back position in Colorado and I thought he did the same again this evening."

On whether Dotson has made the case for more midfield minutes ...

"We've always thought that's where his best position is going to be [in midfield]. Now we have to decide when do we need him in there? When do we play two, when do we play three in there? Probably guarantee that if we play three, he's going to be one of them because he's got a bit of everything."

On whether MNUFC can win the U.S. Open Cup ...

"Yes. We can [win the U.S. Open Cup]. When you go on the road, it's always going to be tough. If we can get some ties here, I think we can beat anybody in the league here. Let's see where we are after the draw and see where that leaves us. But we will treat the tournament with the respect that it deserves. It's a strange tournament. Teams put sort of mixed teams in in the earlier rounds, but soon as it gets to quarters and semis, you see that all of a sudden it's back to normal with full-strength teams there because of the prize at the end of it. We'll treat it with that respect."

On the team's success with through balls ...

"When you're defending deep in your own half, the first pass is always the most important. We did that well tonight. It was probably the third pass before the goal, but it was up, back and through and then we started to get runners. I think Ethan [Finlay] went in two or three times down the side and we got Angelo in two or three times. I was really pleased with a lot of the stuff this evening."

On playing Quintero out wide and whether that's an option going forward ...

"The problem is, if you play with only two central midfield players against Kansas [City], invariably you're a man short because they always play three in there. Now they're starting to put the wide guys in there a little bit more than they have in the past. So now you've got four in there. We thought at least we'll get three in there and we'll match them up and I thought it worked really well. First half, especially, we must have pinched so many balls pressing in their half of the field. They get out occasionally and then you leave yourself light, but that's because they're a good team."

On whether the high press was the defensive strategy going into the game ...

"You have to pick your moments, but once it went to centerbacks, we'd cut the three midfield players off. It was a case of everybody pressing and I thought it worked really well in the first half."

MINNESOTA UNITED MIDFIELDER HASSANI DOTSON

On the last time he had two assists in one game...

"I can't remember honestly. Last year I played in college mostly defensive mid but sometimes, you know, it happens and you finish a chance and sometimes it doesn't. Just overall I'm happy with the result tonight."

On that being a message to coach about playing him out of position...

"No, not at all. I'm here to work as hard as I can and help the team win in any way possible."

On the fans cheering his name...

"I mean everyone here fans, staff, everyone has been so supportive that I feel like everyone behind me and yeah, it helps."

On his assist...

"Yeah, I just saw a bunch of space. I kind of took like a loose touch, like a tackle and I saw an opening, so I took a touch past him because there was space behind him and I saw Ethan [Finlay]. In preseason, I missed a couple of his runs and he harped on me early so now we have a good connection and I saw him making a run so I just let him go."

MINNESOTA UNITED MIDFIELDER COLLIN MARTIN

On how it felt to be out on the field today in the Open Cup game...

"Felt good. A little more competitive of a match than a friendly. It was really cool to be at home and get a start with the team."

On how well he thinks the midfield played together...

"It was a new group, but I thought we had good balance at times. I thought the first half we kind of got strung out at times, there were times where I found myself on the other side and I should've put more pressure on guys. I thought for the most part we did well, I thought we could've played better with the ball, but in terms of our work rate and in terms of covering for each other, I thought the attitude was really good. Hassani [Dotson] had a really good game today and I was just there to sweep up and be in good spots."

On if he was trying to send a message tonight with the amount of grit and physicality he played with tonight...

"No no no. So, I'm decent physically, I know the coach wants to see me be aggressive, not only on the defensive side but offensive side. I don't think it was my best game but at least I tried give my best effort for the team."

On if his plans for the future are to stick around here for awhile...

"Yeah, I mean I honestly haven't been thinking about it too much. I think it's a little bit of a conversation for all parties involved, but I'm focused on here right now and if the time comes where I find myself out of the picture again and I need to get games, we'll have that conversation."

MINNESOTA UNITED FORWARD ANGELO RODRIGUEZ

On finally scoring a goal...

[SPA] "Contento porque primero que todo se gana y obviamente volver otra vez al gol se llena de confianza uno y creo que es importante."

"Happy, because first of all we won and obviously scoring again fills you confidence and I think that is very important."

On getting an assist from Darwin the conversation from last week's game...

[SPA] "Siempre nos tratamos de entendernos dentro de la cancha, de buscar la mejor solución para el equipo. A veces sale y a veces no, hoy nos salió. Creo que hoy tuvimos un partido bueno, tanto como la defensa y el ataque. Creo que eso es bueno, hay que seguir manteniendo esa idea de juego y ojala seguir avanzando en esta copa pero sabemos que lo más importante para nosotros es la liga."

"We always try to understand each other on the pitch and find the best solution for the team. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't - tonight it did. I think we had a good game, from the defense to the attack. And that's good, we need to keep that game mentality and, hopefully, continue to advance in this tournament but we know our priority is the league games."

On breaking through scoring drought...

[SPA] "Como lo dije en lo primero, contento porque se vuelve anotar porque se llena de confianza. Yo como delantero siempre pienso en anotar para que el equipo gane. Repito yo entreno para eso, a veces sale y a veces no. Hay que seguir trabajando, hoy se dio y esperemos que de aquí en adelante segamos marcando."

"As I said in the first question, happy because to score again because it fills you with confidence. As a forward I always think of scoring so the team can win. I repeat, this is what I train for, sometimes it goes in and sometimes it doesn't. We must continue working, today it went in and we hope that from here on out we continue to score."

On being offside on the second goal...

[SPA] "No, yo pensé en llevarme el balón y hacer gol, no pienso estar en offside o no."

"No, I thought about getting the ball and scoring, I wasn't thinking about being offside or not."

On playing an important role in tonight's result...

[SPA] "He dicho en todas las entrevistas - es importante ganar, es importante alquilar confianza marcando goles, es importante asistir pero bueno hay que seguir trabajando. Esto es un partido más. Creo que ya pasado muchos que he querido marcar en varios partidos y no se me da pero tengo que estar tranquilo porque me entro bien y sé que en cualquier momento llega la anotaciones."

"I've said in a few interviews now - it's important to win the games, it's important to gain confidence by scoring goals, it's important to assist but now we keep working. This is just one more game. I think it's been a long time coming that I've had some opportunities to score and it doesn't happen but I have to remain calm because I know I train well and I know that the goals can come at any moment."

MINNESOTA UNITED MIDFIELDER ETHAN FINLAY

On smiles in the locker room...

"It feels good. I think [a] good performance tonight, great team performance all around obviously. Putting four goals in helps some of the offensive questions we've had as of late but I just thought we clicked on all cylinders tonight and just the flow of the game really fit us and the formation that we had this evening."

On if attacking was different...

"No, obviously, I think the way we set up was the reason that we were able to create so many chances tonight. Playing a 4-3-3 and part of that I think is personal and part of it, I think, is how we matched up against [Sporting Kansas City]. It's always different when you're not sure about when you play a new formation and how it's going to go and I think it has early success. Get on the board early and create some chances early. That validated it for us and it helps guys buy in right away to what their job is."

On the high press...

"Well we knew they were going to play out of the back and we felt like there was an opportunity. We positioned ourselves well on certain set plays where, you know, goes out for a goal kick, we can get set and let them play out and then from there try to win it. We'll be able to create chances higher up the field. I wouldn't say we worked on it necessarily a bunch, we talked about it. We had such a short turn around so it was more of something we talked about on the board of 'Hey, let's look out for this.' They're a team that wants to play and will play almost to a fault at times. I would actually say we didn't create a goal off of it tonight directly but we were pretty close and we created some chances so it was a positive look for us."

On taking advantage of the early lead...

"Well we always talk about having a quick start in the game and I don't think we've quite had that since maybe earlier in the year where we've jumped on teams. I think the last one that I really remember is maybe NYCFC when that game was just wild from the start. So, I just think it's putting the front foot forward and being on the front foot whether it's pretty or not. Moments today, I thought we played some really good stuff. There were times where we were maybe a little bit direct, you kind of half to be. I thought the three in the midfield did a really tremendous job, [Lawrence Olum] coming off of a 90-minutes to play another complete performance tonight. I thought Collin Martin and Hassani [Dotson] were terrific and honestly the game was won and lost in that spot in the midfield and they did a great job."

On his energy rubbing off on the newer players...

"You always hope so. It's something I've always prided myself on, the guys behind me can obviously see my position and see my willingness to run and they're starting to anticipate instead of react and I think that's the key. When you can get guys starting to anticipate somebody else's movement and where it's gonna go and where the balls gonna be, you're not reacting and that's when you can really jump on teams. I thought we did that really well tonight."

On if it feels like there's a monkey off the team's back getting a win against KC, who they've struggled against in the past...

"Yeah, you know it's kind of interesting, I've heard of this sentiment but I really haven't been directly a part of those games. When I first got here we hadn't played them, and I was out for the year last year obviously, so I haven't quite felt that. I think they're just a team that's been really good the past five to eight years if you go back and look. They've been dominant, and you can say they've had our number in the past. I think it's nice in all honestly to progress in this competition. The Open Cup is something every team kind of approaches differently, and I really liked our approach tonight. We went for it, and we played guys who had played 90 minutes on the weekend instead of resting certain guys, that was partially because of numbers but those guys wanted to play. Darwin [Quintero] was the first guy to say I want to be a part of this game. You know it's one game, it's a cup final, and every one from here on out is a final for us. I love that mentality and I like how our club approaches this."

On what it was like scoring for the first time in over a month...

"It's tough. You know, I'm still trying to be patient with myself, sometimes it takes a little bit of self-talk. It hasn't been because I haven't been in the right spots and trying, I think it's a little bit of the composure. I think we saw that tonight. I think the goal that I had, in the end I was just much calmer on it than I was my first opportunity. There's still work to be done, I still could've had another one, I could've had another assist or two, so still a little bit of sharpness for me. You see there's moments tonight where our movement isn't quite coordinated enough, in the fact where like I'm going in behind making sure we get a striker in the box, and then okay if there's a striker in the box, myself being patient and picking my head up. And maybe I'm pressing a little bit in those situations and not as comfortable taking the extra touch in those situations and letting my guys have time to get in there. That's coming, we're continuing to work on it obviously, but some of the cutbacks tonight I thought were great. Darwin's been asking for a cutback for a month or so now, so to find him there on one and I think we found him one in the second half as well, those were spots especially when we play a 4-2-3-1 where he can score plenty of goals. When I was playing in Columbus with Pipa [Higuain] that was probably 90% of his goals that I assisted were in those spots. I know Darwin can find himself in those spots and be dangerous."

On when Darwin stated that he wanted to be a part of tonight's game...

"Yesterday just after training. We had limited numbers obviously out of training and available, he said that then and he said it again today. Like I said, it was just the sentiment from the team and from Adrian, I like how we approached the game. We came out to win the game and move on to the next stage."

MINNESOTA UNITED MIDFIELDER DARWIN QUINTERO

On his reaction to scoring in tonight's game...

[SPA] "Creo que siempre se trabaja para eso. Siempre en cada partido a marcar, a lograr el triunfo y de perseverar de tanto trabajo. Hoy se dieron las cosas."

"I think that we work for this. To score at every game, to win and persevere after so much work. Tonight things worked well for us."

On assisting Angelo...

[SPA] "Siempre hablamos de que el mejor posesionado siempre es el que hay que darle el balón y hoy tanto como el me asisto yo lo asiste. Así es que a medida de que nos vayamos entendiendo va ser mejor para el equipo y para nosotros."

"We always talk about passing the ball to whoever is in the better position, today I got to assist him and he to me. We are understanding each other more and that will help the team and us."

On looking to score in the last matches...

[SPA] "Se trata siempre cada partido de hacer goles, de colabórale al equipo. No me canso de trabajar para marcar, para ayudarle al equipo siempre. Cuando no caen los goles, no me mato, simplemente me quedo tranquilo y sigo trabajando para el momento que llegue."

"Every game it's about scoring goals to help the team. I don't get tired of working to score to help the team. If the goals don't come, I don't beat myself over it, I stay calm and keep working for when the moment arrives."

On moving onto the next round and where the goal celebration came from...

[SPA] "La celebraciones siempre son inspirados de mi hijo. El es el que siempre me dice que hacer. Y siempre que marcas más cuando el equipo gana te sientes contento como todos no. Lo he dicho muchas veces, de nada sirve marcar cuando tu equipo pierde entonces hoy creo que todos estamos disfrutando. Todos hicimos un gran trabajo y el fruto de los goles es el trabajo de todos compañeros también."

"The celebrations are always inspired by my son, he is the one who always tells me what to do when I score. When the team is winning you feel happy like everyone else. I have said it several times now, it won't help scoring if your team is losing, and today I think we are all enjoying the win. We worked hard and the goal came with the help of my teammates."

On the scoring drought...

[SPA] "Hay veces que los delanteros que por poco no marcan, se quedan muchos partidos sin marcar pero esto es nuestro trabajo. Trabajar para que vuelva caer el gol pero el trabajo de poner pases, de colabórale al equipo eso no puede quedar si viene el delantero vive el gol y hay a veces que te cierran las puertas. Los grandes delanteros del mundo hay a veces que se les cierran las puertas y les toca trabajar hasta que cae."

"Sometimes forwards can't score, games go on without scoring but this is our job, we work to score goals but setting up passes and helping the team. If you score the forward lives the goal in the moment and sometimes you can't score and the doors close. Even the greatest forwards in the world also go through droughts and they must work until the goals come."

On wanting to start in tonight's game...

[SPA} "Porque son eliminatorias directas, no hay más oportunidades porque si pierdes este partido entonces creo que es donde se muestra la jerarquía y es donde todos los jugadores quieren estar. Por eso es que les dije a todos mis compañeros que hoy se hoy se tenía que ganar, no hay otro partido para seguir buscar el resultado que era solo hoy."

"I wanted to start because these are direct elimination games, there are no more opportunities after tonight. If you lose this game, I think this is where hierarchy is shown and where every player wants to be. I told all my teammates that today we have to win, there is no other game to turn it out, it was today or nothing."

On playing on the wing tonight...

"Siempre en la posición de adelante trato de acomodarme para el beneficio del equipo. El técnico quería que cumpliera una función hoy, intento de hacerlo de la mejor manera y siempre uno está a disposición de lo que el técnico pida para el partido. Muchas veces nos podrá salir otras no, pero tratamos siempre hacer lo mejor para el equipo.

"Always up front I try to fit in to benefit the team. Coach wanted me to play a new role, I tried to do it in the best possible way and always do what coach asks for, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't but we try to always do what's best for the team."

SPORTING KANSAS CITY QUOTE SHEET

SPORTING KANSAS CITY HEAD COACH PETER VERMES

On if he noticed any trends or themes in the four goals scored against them tonight...

"The one at the start of the game and the one at the start of the second half. Both of them were very similar."

On what he thinks contributed to those two goals...

"The first one we gave away the ball when we were pushing up the field, and they win the ball and just play it straight up the middle, I mean the guy goes on a breakaway or something, and there's nothing Adrian [Zendejas] could do. The second one, it's a throw-in, and basically again we think we have the ball and the guy just goes right down the pike, right down the center again. One touch and he's basically on a breakaway. Both situations were very similar in that regard. I think the other one, the first one, was a little different because we lost the ball in a pretty simple area of the field."

On what the frustration level is throughout the club surrounding the defense's poor form as of late...

"I think you just said it, frustration. We've always been a team that's been very, very good defensively, and at the moment we're not playing defensively at a level to give ourselves a real chance in the game. You can't give up a goal to start two minutes into the game and two minutes into the second half. It's demoralizing for the team. So, I don't know what else to tell you. That's just really hard to be constantly chasing again. We did a good job to get back into the game, we start the second half, we have a game that all up for grabs, and we give up a soft goal right away."

On what he saw from Jimmy [Meranda] in his first start since coming back...

"There's things that Jimmy does well, but then there's also things that Jimmy at times could be a little bit more better. Better decisions during plays, defending goal side as opposed to trying to win the ball from the other side of the player, just stuff like that. Obviously he's got to get game fit, it's good to get him minutes and to get him playing, but I just think that it's going to take a little time to get him there. It's really his first start in over a year, so it's going to take him some time."

SPORTING KANSAS CITY MIDFIELDER BENNY FEILHABER

On how the match unfolded...

"Well we were bad in the beginning, gave up a goal in the first minute or two of the game with a breakaway, which obviously should never happen. We had to fight our way back into the game to even it up and, you know, play okay towards the middle and back end of the first half and then come out with the exact same problem - we gave up a breakaway in the first couple of minutes of the second half. Then you're fighting from behind again and it's not easy. Just not a good performance from us and in a moment where we need to take any kinds of positives I don't think we can find any in this match."

On the 10-day break before the next MLS match...

"Yeah the only thing that's good is 10 days to get more bodies back. Obviously some guys international duties, some guys still coming back from injuries, some guys still getting some fitness so that's the one thing that you can take from 10 days and hopefully just have more bodies ready for our next match because we need some new blood right now."


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Major League Soccer Stories from June 13, 2019


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