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HOUSTON DYNAMO vs. MINNESOTA UNITED FC
BBVA Stadium | Houston, Texas
08.28.21 | MLS Week No. 21 | MLS Game No. 21
8:00 p.m. CT (Bally Sports North+, MNUFC Radio on SKOR North)

2021 Regular Season Records (W-L-D):
HOU: 3-8-10 (3-1-5 at home)
MIN: 7-6-7 (1-3-5 on the road)

Much as Minnesota United would like to be heading into the final game before an international break with six or seven points out of their last three games and a chance to rotate a squad rendered thin by injuries, a loss and two draws have them headed to a matchup in Houston against the Dynamo that’s close to a must-win. The goal is a home playoff game in the first round, which means the Loons will have to find some way to create more than the one goal they’ve gotten in their last three, and do it without Emanuel Reynoso, Franco Fragapane or leading scorer Robin Lod. Minnesota have never won at BBVA Stadium, and now seems like a perfect time to flip that script.

THE OPPOSITION

Not much has changed for the Houston Dynamo since last the Loons met them three weeks ago. That game ended in a 2-0 defeat for the visiting Dynamo and gave Minnesota just their second win by multiple goals this season. Since then, the Dynamo have lost to Colorado 3-1, lost to RSL 2-1 and drew 2-2 with FC Dallas in the Texas Derby. Both teams, then, will be looking at Saturday’s tilt as an opportunity for a get-right game. While Houston are unlikely to vault themselves up from the bottom of the conference and into contention for a playoff spot, Head Coach Tab Ramos is in the midst of redefining a Houston team that crushed it on offense for a few years with some high-profile Hondurans. His goals have to do with tapping into the rich vein of youth talent in Texas, much as FC Dallas have done. If the team can at least demonstrate improvement through the second half of the season, it will go a long way to establishing them as a destination for youth talent.

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ADRIAN HEATH ON DIFFICULTY SCORING

"We are working hard enough in training, we are certainly getting enough of the ball in the final third; comfortable possession. The final ball has not helped us and we need one or two things to go our way in the box. It’s just one of those things, we can’t seem to get a bounce to go our way. You’ve got to be honest and say sometimes it’s been poor finishing. Overall, I’ve been delighted with the efforts of the players. They kept going to the very last whistle in all three games. Keep believing in what we are doing, keep getting the ball into the right spots and hopefully it will change." MORE

MICHAEL BOXALL ON THE DYNAMO

"We are expecting three points. We have gone through far too many matches where we have dropped points and let results slip away. Most games we go into thinking we can get something out of, and this game is no different. Despite their form, it’s a game we can put our stamp on and get after them." MORE

STORYLINES PRESENTED BY BMW

MIND THE GAP:The gap in the Western Conference between the top four teams and the rest of the field is becoming more pronounced. While the New England Revolution are running away with it in the East — where there’s a 15 point gap between their 49 and Orlando’s 34 — only three points separate Seattle at the top from Kansas City in second, and only seven points separate first from fourth place. But then another seven points separate the Galaxy in fourth from Minnesota in fifth, and the Loons are only two points clear of the playoff line at this point. Now that we’re past the midway point of the season, the question is going to increasingly become whether Minnesota can vie for one of those top four home seeds; whether any of the teams ahead of them will fall off; and whether any of the teams behind them can get hot and overtake them. Minnesota’s remaining opponents have won 53% of their games, giving them the second toughest remaining strength of schedule behind the Sounders. The good news is that both the Rapids and SKC’s remaining opponents have won 52% of their games, while the bad news is that teams behind MNUFC including the Quakes, the Timbers and RSL are facing teams with an overall losing record for the rest of the season. In short, as Head Coach Adrian Heath has often said, “It gets no easier.” MORE

FIRST TOUCHES

  • After racking up 69 shots in the last three games, MNUFC have once again climbed to the top of the shots leaderboard with 314 on the year. They are just ahead of SKC, who have 313. MORE

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