After 2 straight PK thrillers, Minnesota United preps for Leagues Cup Quarterfinals
In any cup competition in soccer, it doesn’t matter how you win – as long as you find ways to advance. Minnesota United’s done just that, surviving a pair of penalty kick shootouts to arrive at the Quarterfinal Round of the 2023 Leagues Cup.
Click the video box on this page to watch interviews with Minnesota United defender D.J. Taylor and manager Adrian Heath after their second-straight PK win in Leagues Cup play, and ahead of Friday’s quarterfinal at Nashville
The Loons will play at Nashville Friday night after surviving their 2-2 (4:2 PK) battle against Liga MX side Toluca at Allianz Field on Tuesday.
United led 2-0 before Toluca scored two late goals to tie it 2-2. That followed the Loons’ 3-3 (4:3) win in Columbus last week.
The win not only keeps the Loons’ Cup run rolling, but also offers another chance for a team that’s found its groove lately to take the field together.
“It’s an exciting experience,” said United defender D.J. Taylor. “It’s always exciting to get some more [games] on your resume, especially for all the guys. It kind of brings us together, brings that competitive spirit and we just keep grinding as a team. It’s been awesome so far.”
Back-to-back thrillers have served to unite the players, and also puts them into position to earn additional bonus money offered in the Leagues Cup.
“It brings tons of camaraderie,” Taylor said. “All we want to get at the end of the day is win and make each other happy. As long as we just keep fighting for each other and to keep this streak going, honestly. Like I said, fighting for silverware is completely different. And, obviously the money talks for the players. With this Leagues Cup, we get paid more than I think we do in MLS. Super exciting for us and brings us together.”
Manager Adrian Heath agrees.
“It’s always good. There’s nothing like winning for that,” Heath said of his team’s growing camraderie. “It’s been outstanding.”
He also tipped his cap to the Loons’ home crowd.
“I’ve got to mention our crowds. When you look at the crowds around the league, our supporters have been outstanding in their commitment to the tournament, but [also] to the team. The atmosphere was electric last night, again, and we’ve just got to hope that we can go one more [at home] again. I think that if we get there, we have a chance at playing at home, unless it’s LA [LAFC], and that’s what we’ve got to do.
Minnesota United plays at Nashville Friday at 7:30pm Central in the quarterfinals.
The winner will advance to face the winner between Monterrey and LAFC in the semifinal round on August 15. United would likely host a match against Monterrey, but would travel to Los Angeles if they meet LAFC.
On the other side of the Leagues Cup bracket: Philadelphia faces Queretaro in one quarterfinal, Charlotte plays Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami in the other quarterfinal.
The League Cup Final is scheduled for August 19th.