Major League Soccer

Adrian Heath 'embarrassed' by Minnesota United US Open Cup exit

Chris Smith
Heath was less than impressed on Wednesday night.
Heath was less than impressed on Wednesday night. / Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Adrian Heath was in no mood to mince his words on Wednesday night.

Despite controlling 74% possession, outshooting their opponents 16-8, and taking a sixth-minute lead, Minnesota United conspired to lose 2-1 to USL side Union Omaha in the US Open Cup round-of-16.

Goals either side of half-time from Hugo Kametani and Joe Brito canceled out Adrien Hunou's opener, sealing a shock defeat for the 2019 finalists - the second MLS team to exit to lower league opposition at this stage alongside the San Jose Earthquakes.

“Embarrassing,” Heath said at the start of his post-match press conference, adding: “As I just said to the group there, we’re kidding ourselves if we think we did enough tonight to impose ourselves on another team. And we didn’t.”

With a bit of time to cool down, Heath offered some praise to Wednesday night's victors, noting that for many of the Union Omaha players, this was the game of their lives.

“I’ve played in these games. I’ve been the underdog,” Heath said. “I remember going with Orlando City as a USL team to Sporting Kansas City and winning to go to the quarterfinals like they’ve done today.

“And if you don’t approach the game properly, these are professional kids who, for some of them, it might be the biggest game they ever play. In fairness to them, they played like it might be a huge game for them. And we didn’t. So many of ours just coasted through the game and thought that will be enough. It’s not.”

Though Heath rotated, Minnesota United's starting XI on Wednesday still included the likes of DP forwards Hunou and Luis Amarilla, New Zealand international center-back Michael Boxall, and Argentine winger Franco Fragapane.

But according to Heath - who won the FA Cup with Everton in 1984 - the Loons didn't take the correct mental approach to a game most would have highlighted as a potential upset.

“As I’ve just said to them, I’ve been here before and the longer I’m in football I’ll be here again,” he said. “The game is littered with it all over the world, Premier League clubs getting beat by fourth division clubs, and it’s invariably because you don’t approach the game in the right manner. I couldn’t have said any more to the guys from Monday, Tuesday, and tonight’s game of what to expect and what was to come.

“We have to shoulder the responsibility of that and I do. It’s my responsibility to make sure they don’t play like that. But sometimes, along that way, you have to as an individual stand up and go ‘That isn’t going to be me. He’s not going to label that at me after the game.’”