MINNEAPOLIS - A little more than a week ago, Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath called his team’s effort in a 2-0 loss at Colorado Rapids "Not acceptable."
The message must have been received internally. The Loons, in front of a standing room only crowd at a hot and steamy Allianz Field Sunday afternoon, knocked off Seattle Sounders FC 1-0. Seattle entered the game the top team in the Western Conference, unbeaten in its first 13 games of the season at 8-0-5.
Robin Lod scored in the 81st minute, and Tyler Miller kept a clean sheet as the Loons earned a 1-0 win. It was the bounce-back the Loons needed after having a seven-match unbeaten streak snapped at Colorado.
"Deep down they don’t need me to tell them the effort in Colorado wasn’t good enough, they know. They know what’s expected, they know what level is expected from them, from me, the supporters and we were well below that in Colorado," coach Adrian Heath said Tuesday at training. "These are not machines, these are people and sometimes you have bad days. That was one of them, hopefully now we’ve put that behind us. We got a big win, great mood in the camp with a huge game against one of the biggest teams in Major League Soccer, so let’s get ready for it."
Could it serve as momentum the rest of the season? Only time will tell, but the Loons have to feel good about the result after their recent past with Seattle. Leading 2-0 in the West title game last year, Seattle rallied for a 3-2 victory to stun the Loons and advance to the Major League Soccer Cup title game.
The two teams met to open the 2021 season, a game Seattle dominated in a 4-0 win. Midfielder Wil Trapp said Heath’s message after the Colorado loss was a wake-up call.
"It hit us in a way that it was designed to. It was supposed to feel like a gut check and I think it did exactly what it was designed to do in terms of re-waking us back up, right? You go on a run of unbeaten games and sometimes you get lulled to sleep," Trapp said. "We have to continue to push forward, and that’s what you saw on Sunday."
Since an 0-4 start, Minnesota United has 18 points in its last nine matches and is now in sixth in the West. The Loons are two points ahead of Portland, who they host on Saturday at Allianz Field.
"It was a big win for us. Two points a game we always talk about, you get two points a game, you’re normally going to be towards the top of the league. We have to keep that running going," Heath said.
Saturday’s game against the Timbers will also mark the first time the two teams have played since Franco Fragapane was accused of directing a racial slur at Diego Chara. MLS officials investigated, and couldn’t corroborate Chara’s claim. Fragapane was not disciplined in the alleged incident.