The Minnesota United Football Club (MNUFC) fired longtime manager Adrian Heath on Oct. 6, after a three loss streak.
Heath has been the club’s only manager since MNUFC’s entrance into Major League Soccer (MLS) and led the team into the playoffs the past four seasons. Leaving with Heath is Technical Director Mark Watson, who has been in that position since 2019. Heath and Watson were let go with only two games left in the regular season, leading many to ask why they didn’t just play the season out. There was mounting pressure to change leadership however, especially after the loons lost 5-1 against the Los Angeles Football Club, a team they handily tied 1-1 in July.
“Whenever a club decides to make a coaching change, there is a tendency to focus only on the end of that coach’s tenure; however, the conclusion of Adrian’s time with MNUFC should not diminish his significant contributions to our club,” said MNUFC CEO Shari Ballard in a statement posted on Instagram and the team’s website.
Assistant coach Sean McAuley replaced Heath for the final two games which saw the Loons a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy, and a decision day loss to Sporting Kansas City, disqualifying the Loons from the playoffs for the first time in four years. Dropping a coach and director in the final games of the season was a risky move that did not pay off immediately, but the Loons will no doubt have a comeback in 2024.