Santiago Rodriguez (left) always tries to get a step up on the opposition. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath realized his team will be in a for tough battle when it hosts New York City FC on Saturday night.
The teams will tussle at Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minn. at 8 p.m. ET.
“They’re difficult to play against for sure,” he said. “That front four are as good as anybody in the league depending on who they play even. In [Maxi] Moralez, they’ve got one of the best players in the league. I love watching him play. [Valentin] Castellanos has been arguably the best striker in the league.
“They’ve got the young kid, Santiago Rodriguez. They’ve got the kid, [Talles] Magno. They’ve spent a lot of money on that front four, whichever ones they play. We know that it’s going to be a difficult task. I have no doubt that Ronny’s [Ronny Deila, City head coach] watched us and know that we play really well at home. And if we can play as well as we have been, certainly like we did against the Galaxy, then we’ll be able to cause them trouble.”
The teams are coming off opposite results in the Round of 16 of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night.
NYCFC recorded a 1-0 extratime win over the New England Revolution while Minnesota was shown the exit via a 2-1 loss to Union Omaha (USL League One).
Minnesota needs to bounce back from that hamulating defeat.
“We’ve got no choice,” defender Brent Kallman said. “In this business you’ve got to try to have a short memory. As much as that one hurt, you got to leave it there, you got to focus up and get ready for a really, really difficult opponent. We talked about it in the meeting today, probably, we face the best team in the MLS at this point in time. There can’t be any looking back or feeling sorry for ourselves. It’s got to be 100 percent focus on Saturday.”
Asked about his team’s defensive responsibilities, especially against a team such as NYCFC, Kallman replied: “Just the same as always. Good positioning. Reading the game well and then communicating with the guys around me. Obviously, they have one of the best forwards in the league, probably the best forward in the league, so making sure our spacing is really good and we’re dropping at the right time and we’re dropping together and recover for each other. Just all the little things, we got to do them really well.”
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