Adrian Health loves to win, but the Minnesota United FC head coach might relish silencing perceived naysayers even more.
The Loons had won just one of their last six matches, including consecutive defeats culminated by a 4-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City in the midweek before a comprehensive 3-0 victory over the LA Galaxy on Saturday at Allianz Field.
“Some of the stuff that was said, you would have thought that the season was over, may as well go home,” Heath said Saturday night. “So, the demise of Minnesota United is probably not as great as some people think.”
Heath repeated the oft-used phrase “goals change games” in his post-match remarks, but it’s also true that star players do as well.
Reynoso was back after a three-game absence – the Loons dropped two of those matches – and scored a sensational brace inside the opening 20 minutes. Lod added an assist on Reynoso’s opening goal after four minutes.
“Do you think that Chicharito makes a difference for LA? Do you think that [Carlos] Vela makes a difference to LAFC? You could go through all the teams in the league,” Heath said. “When the best players are not available and fit, it affects the rest of the group. Maybe, are we too reliant on Rey? We’ll see. Because, you know the way he plays, and I thought again tonight he took a lot of harsh treatment in the first half. And if he can get protected, which we need him to be on the field, then we feel as though he’ll have a big influence for us from now to the end of the year.”
Heath said he was looking for a response following Wednesday’s lopsided defeat to SKC, which he said “wasn’t acceptable.”
What he saw Saturday during their first-ever win over the Galaxy was “magnificent” for a Loons side hugging the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs line in the Western Conference with 10 regular-season games left. Only the top seven sides will get in.
"We had to ride our luck and we had to defend at times, but really, really pleased with the attitude of the players," Heath said. "They couldn’t have done any more. And it’s incredible that when you get your best players on the field, good things happen. Maybe people should think about that when they write some of the stuff that they do.”