KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Fourteen games into their first MLS season, Minnesota United still don’t know what it feels like to win on the road.
And with their next two matches also away – including a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup date on June 14 against the same Sporting Kansas City side that pummeled them 3-0 on Saturday – the Loons want to get those woes figured out sooner rather than later.
One key, MNUFC defender Brent Kallman said, is avoiding the flatness that Minnesota displayed in a Week 14 defeat that dropped them to 0-5-2 on the road.
“We did not win our individual battles all over the field and I think that cost us,” Kallman said about the most recent 3-0 league loss in KC. “I'm thinking we get back and we start training, we have to go really hard at each other because that can decide a game. It felt like we lost every single one today."
Forward Christian Ramirez also pointed to a lack of effort as the Loons’ most recent problem away from home.
“I think that was the biggest thing needed today,” Ramirez said. “The effort wasn’t there and that is the first thing that should be there on the road. We, in the locker room, have to figure out how to get up for a road game the same way we do at home."
That the Loons even had trouble putting out effort on Saturday – before a large and loud group of visiting supporters, no less – didn’t sit well with manager Adrian Heath. His side doesn’t play again until the Open Cup match, but then must go on to visit Real Salt Lake in the league on June 17.
“This was as bad as we have been since the second or third week of the season,” Heath said. “Forget the scoreline, I was more disappointed with the amount of determination that the guys showed. I feel sorry for the 200 or 300 fans that made the journey from Minnesota. They deserved a lot more than they got today."
Minnesota have lost three of their last four going into their break – but in the two losses before Sunday’s rout, they were in the match throughout before losing by a goal.
Heath ruled out winger Miguel Ibarra’s early injury as a determining factor in his team’s lackluster showing. He struggled to offer other explanations, though.
"I don’t know,” Heath said. “We will find out and I am not putting up with that. I guarantee it."