On an absolutely sweltering night in Texas where temperatures reached 106°, Minnesota United looked to get back on the right foot after falling to Sporting KC last week, this time against an FC Dallas team that has struggled mightily to score since picking their season back up. But instead, it was the home side who grabbed the game from the outset, scoring back-to-back goals in less than a minute early on. After a mass substitution to begin the second half, the Loons responded and clawed their way back within one with a signature Hassani Dotson banger. But despite throwing everything they had at the game down the stretch, Minnesota was unable to equalize and ended up giving up a penalty in the game’s closing seconds to make it 3-1 in Dallas’ favor.
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From the opening whistle, Minnesota United found itself on the back foot. Within the first few minutes, FC Dallas showed creativity and bite in the attack, building up down the right side before switching the pitch and leaving Minnesota’s defense to scramble as they dropped. That opened up the area at the top of the box, giving Dallas’ attack ample time to get comfortable. In all, the Loons looked distinctly flat to start the game and they would pay for it.
In the 11th minute, a long diagonal from the midfield found the blazingly fast Fafa Picault on the left wing. Defender Romain Metanire gave Picault space along the edge of the box, knowing he could break a run in either direction, but the space was enough to allow the speedy winger to cut inside and curl a shot on the far post and past a diving Greg Ranjitsingh to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
Then, just moments later, Dallas once again found themselves in Minnesota’s end of the field and forcing the Loons to scramble. The 17-year-old Ricardo Pepi brought down a long cross from the left and picked out a lurking Jesus Ferreira with a short tap in the box and Ferreira ripped a shot around the outstretched leg of Michael Boxall and into the back of the net to double the lead in less than a minute.
Down two goals, MNUFC tightened up and began to look more assured as the half wore on, but FC Dallas’ defense stuck tight to Minnesota’s attackers as they struggled to work the ball cleanly into the final third. The Loons’ most promising strike didn’t come until stoppage time, when Chase Gasper rampaged up the left side of the pitch and struck a blast from near the edge of the box with pace. Nonetheless, goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer was up to the task and knocked the ball down before securing it. Not long after, the teams would head into the locker room with much work to be done by the visitors.
Following a lightning delay, the second half began with Head Coach Adrian Heath making wholesale changes to the squad, taking out the entire attacking four of Robin Lod, Kevin Molino, Ethan Finlay and Luis Amarilla for Thomas Chacon, Hassani Dotson, Raheem Edwards and Mason Toye, respectively. The substitutions shifted the formation from a 4-2-3-1 to more of a 4-3-3 and immediately, the Loons looked more energetic.
FC Dallas met the visitors’ burst of life with their own aggression, resulting in a bevy of yellow cards handed out in the first few minutes as the teams got at it. Then, in the 55th minute, MNUFC found an opening. Edwards chopped down a long pass from the Dallas defense and passed it off to Jan Gregus, who dished it left to Dotson. Dotson took a few steps to settle himself and then unleashed a trademark banger that swerved left and up into the top corner of the goal, handily beating Maurer to cut the deficit in half.
Bangerang pic.twitter.com/OI90FFJaWv— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) August 30, 2020
Moments later, it looked like it was going to be Edwards’ turn to put in a banger as he skirted the edge of the box and drove a rocket in on goal with his left foot, finding the woodwork of the far post. In the 62nd minute, Toye dialed in a shot from the top of the box that challenged Maurer, who made a strong one-handed save to keep the game at 2-1.
Throughout the second half, Minnesota United made Dallas uncomfortable with the ball, continually pushing to get the ball back and put pressure on goal. In stoppage time, that level of forward press would ultimately let them down as Michael Barrios fbroke down the defense in the box, only to be taken down by late sub James Musa to give the home side a penalty at the death that would give FC Dallas a 3-1 win.
come onnnnnn pic.twitter.com/yW99jJpR55— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) August 30, 2020
ADRIAN HEATH ON THE CHANGES AT THE HALF
"If I had more substitutes, trust me, I would have made more changes. But, we obviously had to be realistic, because, at 2-nil the game is never over. We’ve all played in games where you’ve come back. And, the game panned out that way. I said to them, if we get the next goal, then the game changes. The whole complexion of the game. And, we did. Then, we hit the post. Then another effort hit the post. So, as I said, the reaction of the group in the second half. If we could have made seven or eight changes in the first half, I would have done it."
RAHEEM EDWARDS ON HASSANI DOTSON'S BANGERS
"Like, I know he scores a lot of good goals, but, he only scores bangers. I’ve never seen him score a tap in, or, you know, alright, send me. These are very good goals. And, it’s his left foot. It’s weird. It’s not weird, like, he’s really good at it. But, he really scores bangers only. I didn’t believe it."
BELL BANK MAN OF THE MATCH
Hassani ● MOTM pic.twitter.com/wQlGZuc1cd— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) August 30, 2020
- 11’ | Fafa Picault gets the long diagonal pass and holds it down before pushing into the box and pushing the ball out around Metanire. Picault unleashes a blast that curls around Ranjitsingh for the goal. 1-0
- 12’ | Ricardo Pepi corrals the cross and and then taps it through to Jesus Ferreira who slips it past Boxall and doubles the lead. 2-0
- 55’ | Raheem Edwards brings down an attempted clearance and taps it ahead to Gregus who dishes it left to Dotson. Dotson takes a couple steps and unleashes a rocket with the left foot that beats Maurer high and left in the corner. 2-1
- 96' | Reto Ziegler finished the penalty kick after James Musa took down Michael Barrios in the box. 3-1
the boys*— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) August 30, 2020
*and we promise to actually post the formation lineup at kick this time
HOUSTON DYNAMO vs. MINNESOTA UNITED
BBVA Stadium | Houston, Texas
09.02.2020 | MLS Week No. 8 | MLS Game No. 8
7:00 p.m. CT (FOX Sports North+, FOX Sports GO, MNUFC Radio on SKOR North)