HOUSTON DYNAMO vs. MINNESOTA UNITED FC
BBVA Compass Stadium | Houston, Texas
07.07.18 | MLS Week No. 19 | MLS Game No. 18
8:00 p.m. CT (FOX Sports North, FOX Sports GO, MNUFC Radio on 1500 ESPN)
With the confidence from Wednesday’s invigorating win over Toronto FC still surging, Minnesota United heads south for its second match in four days, seeking retribution against the same Houston Dynamo side it last matched up with in a discouraging U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 loss just three weeks ago.
Saturday night’s match in Houston kicks off at 8:00 p.m. CT. Pre-match coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. on FOX Sports North, streaming on FOX Sports GO and on MNUFC Radio on 1500 ESPN.
“We have generally played well against Houston, even the game a couple of weeks ago in the Open Cup,” Head Coach Adrian Heath said. “We missed a penalty and chance after chance. It is a game we know will be difficult, because they are good at home, but it is a game that we can go there with a great deal of confidence in.”
Heath viewed the Fourth of July win over TFC as a just payoff for his team’s recent performances, like the USOC loss in Houston, that went unrewarded. After weeks of promising attacking efforts not manifesting themselves on the scoreboard or in the points column, the Loons again trotted out a new-look 3-5-2 formation against Toronto and the chances finally started falling — highlighted by forward Darwin Quintero’s sublime hat trick.
Everything finally came together for MNUFC against Toronto and the result has instilled the team with newfound confidence ahead of a crucial Western Conference road clash against the Dynamo.
“The manner in which we played gives me a lot of pleasure,” Heath said. “I thought the first 30 minutes was as good as we have played in a long, long time. We had a good shape, good passion on our play, speed of play, good combination play in the right areas, played short when we needed to, turned them around when we needed to — all of the things that makes a good team performance. In terms of our approach to the game, I could not have been more pleased with the guys.”
The challenge now for the Loons will be to use their current momentum to reverse their season-long woes on the road. Minnesota has lost six straight and is 1-7-0 away from home this season and is going up against a Houston team that has taken 16 of a possible 24 points at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Against the Dynamo — who boast a dynamic front four with speed out wide in forwards Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto — MNUFC will have to be wary of passing up on its opportunities. Houston has lost three of its last five matches and has taken just four points over that span. Sitting just a point outside of the top six in the West and desperate for points, it will be eager to get back on track at its home ground.
“You have to take your opportunities when they arise on the road,” Heath said. “We had three or four in the first half and three or four in the second half (in the USOC match). Goals change games and in important moments, especially on the road, you have to score when those opportunities present themselves.”
Minnesota will also have to cope with the loss of defender, captain and 2018 MLS All-Star Francisco Calvo, who will be unavailable for the match due to yellow card accumulation.
After this weekend’s trip to Houston, Minnesota United will host Costa Rica side Deportivo Saprissa for a friendly on Wednesday, July 11 at 7:00 p.m. CT at TCF Bank Stadium. Following that, the Loons return to MLS play at home on Saturday, July 14 against Real Salt Lake at 7:00 p.m. Pre-match coverage for the RSL match begins at 6:30 p.m. on FOX Sports North, streaming on FOX Sports GO and on MNUFC Radio on 1500 ESPN.
Minnesota United FC
M - Sam Cronin (cervicogenic dysfunction)
M - Kevin Molino (left ACL tear)
M - Ethan Finlay (right ACL tear)
F - Abu Danladi (left leg injury)
D - Jerome Thiesson (right lower leg injury)
D - Eric Miller (left hamstring injury)
D - Marc Burch (left knee surgery)
D - A.J. DeLaGarza (left ACL tear)
M - Juan David Cabezas (left quad injury)
F - Mac Steeves (left hip injury)
M/D - Andrew Wagner (left calf injury)
- Collen Warner played for Houston Dynamo in 2016 before being selected by MNUFC in the 2016 MLS Expansion Draft.
- Adolfo Machado and Francisco Calvo played together at Saprissa in 2015–16.
- Marc Burch and Dylan Remick were teammates in 2013 while playing for Seattle Sounders FC.
- Joe Willis and Collin Martin were both at D.C. United in 2013 and 2014. The two were also loaned to Richmond Kickers in 2014.
- Arturo Alvarez and Matt Lampson played together for Chicago Fire from 2016 through 2017.
- Alvarez and Sam Cronin were on the San Jose Earthquakes’ roster in 2010.
- Remick played with Burch and Tyrone Mears during his tenure with Seattle Sounders FC. He and Burch were teammates in 2013. Mears joined Remick for both the 2015 and 2016 seasons, winning MLS Cup in their final year together.
- A.J. DeLaGarza and Burch were teammates at Maryland in 2005.
- Darwin Ceren played under Adrian Heath at Orlando City SC from 2014 through 2016.
- Darwin Quintero scored Minnesota’s first hat trick in MLS on Wednesday against Toronto FC. He netted all three goals in 57 minutes, two of which were unassisted.
- Quintero leads the Loons with six goals this year.
- Quintero’s 57th minute strike became his first match-winning goal for MNUFC.
- Miguel Ibarra returned from his suspension with a goal and an assist against Toronto on Wednesday. He increased his team leading assist total to four.
- Ibarra is one assist away from tying Kevin Molino’s club record of 10 career assists with the Loons.
- Francisco Calvo will be unavailable for this match due to yellow card accumulation.
- For not receiving a yellow card four five consecutive matches, Rasmus Schuller has been given a Good Behavior Incentive which reduced his yellow card accumulation total.
- Ibson leads the Loons with 3,922 career minutes played in MLS. He surpassed Jerome Thiesson, who held the previous record of 3,855 minutes.
- Bobby Shuttleworth picked up his 14th career win with the Loons last match. It was his 60th regular season MLS victory since he joined the league in 2010.
- Shuttleworth made two saves on Wednesday, bringing his 2018 total to 50. He has made 166 saves since joining MNUFC.
- The Loons’ 4-3 win over Toronto was the fourth time they have scored four goals in a match. They last matched that total on September 23, 2017 when they defeated FC Dallas 4-1 at home.
- The win over Toronto was the first time Minnesota had scored three or more goals in a match since October 3, 2017 when it defeated Atlanta United FC 3-2 on the road.
- Houston has scored two goals in each of its past three matches.
- The Dynamo pulled off a dramatic 2-2 draw with LAFC on Tuesday night. After falling behind 2-0, the Dynamo scored two goals late in stoppage time to salvage a point at home.
- Mauro Manotas’ stoppage time strike against LAFC helped him overtake Alberth Elis as Houston’s leading goalscorer with nine goals on the year.
- Elis and Manotas have played in every match for Houston this season.
- Both teams have five wins at home and one on the road this season.