Minnesota United’s road game against MLS foe Orlando City on Saturday will also serve as a homecoming of sorts for United manager Adrian Heath.
Heath managed Orlando City from 2011-16, first in the United Soccer League and later guiding the team into its inaugural MLS season in 2015. He was fired in July 2016, then named manager for expansion club Minnesota four months later.
Now he makes his first trip back to Orlando.
“It will obviously be quite emotional,” said Heath. “You can’t work at a club for that many years and put in the time we did without it being emotional. But I am looking forward to the trip down there.”
The game is set for a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff at Orlando City Stadium.
In Orlando City (0-0-1), Minnesota (0-1-0) faces a team that was busy in the offseason, bringing in many new players. Heath knows it will be a battle.
“I think they had the best offseason of any team in the MLS,” Heath said. “It’s going to be a really tough game for us.”
For Minnesota to be successful, it will need another big game from Kevin Molino. Molino scored twice in the final 10 minutes of the season-opening 3-2 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes last Saturday and is vital to Minnesota’s fortunes this season.
“For us to be good this year we need to be what I think he can be, which is one of the most influential players on the team,” Heath said. “When he plays well, our team plays well.”
Minnesota was down 3-0 to the Earthquakes before putting together the late rally, falling just short.
“After we got our first goal, I thought we might get something out of the game,” Heath said.
Orlando started the season with a 1-1 draw with D.C. United last Saturday, getting a goal in stoppage time from Stefano Pinho.
—Field Level Media