HOUSTON DYNAMO vs. MINNESOTA UNITED
BBVA Stadium | Houston, Texas
09.02.2020 | MLS Week No. 9 | MLS Game No. 8
7:00 p.m. CT (FOX Sports North+, FOX Sports GO, MNUFC Radio on SKOR North)
HOU: 1-2-4 (0-0-2 at home)
MIN: 3-2-2 (3-1-2 on the road)
Minnesota United returns to the Lone Star State just days after falling to FC Dallas to face a Houston Dynamo squad emboldened by its 5-2 thrashing of early Western Conference frontrunners Sporting Kansas City. Against Dallas, the Loons came out flat and paid the price, conceding back-to-back goals in the 11th and 12th minutes. An overhaul of the front four for the second half brought life into the squad and a Hassani Dotson-brand Banger™ in the 55th minute got them back into the game, but in 106° heat on the road, the team was not able to claw their way back. The Dynamo and erstwhile Loons Darwin Quintero and Christian Ramirez will no doubt smell blood in the water after MNUFC dropped its last two in a row, while Minnesota’s ranks could be bolstered by the addition of its new Designated Player, attacking midfielder Emanuel Reynoso.
𝘄𝗲 𝗴𝗼𝘁 𝗵𝗶𝗺. pic.twitter.com/mRiRngUhtz— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) September 1, 2020
The Houston Dynamo might be languishing in the basement of the Western Conference with a record of 1-2-4, but Houston is always dangerous at home and especially riding high on the confidence earned from taking down SKC on the road. Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso and the backline will have their hands full containing the Dynamo’s three-headed attack, especially with goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh still settling in between the pipes. The good news for the Loons is that Houston is almost as porous in defense as they are on the attack, allowing 13 goals through its first seven games. Minnesota’s attack has struggled to get going early in games recently, but if the front four can click, the opportunities should be there for the Loons to claim that all-important first goal.
RAHEEM EDWARDS ON BRINGING ENERGY OFF THE BENCH
“I thought I brought something different every time I came on. I think I brought the energy levels up, I don’t know if that’s by me coming in or by coincidence but my job is to bring the energy and to bring something different to the game whenever I come on. Hopefully I can do that more often and contribute more in the final third whether that’s assists or goals.”
ADRIAN HEATH ON THE QUICK TURNAROUND TO HOUSTON
“It’s obviously another away game. We’ve had 1-8, it’ll be by Wednesday? On the road? One home game. It’s difficult. It always is, in this league, on the road. It’s going to be no cooler I wouldn’t have thought, at night, in Houston. So, it’s going to be difficult. Obviously, the fact that they just come up with a really big win. Their first win. And, obviously, a few players, ex-players. So, we know it’s not going to be easy on Wednesday. Trust me.”
Wednesday, Saturday games— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) August 31, 2020
Wednesday, Saturday games pic.twitter.com/3FdlMZuwZe
Head Coach Adrian Heath’s decision to make wholesale changes to the front four after halftime against Dallas injected a much needed shot of life into the squad, so the major question is: Will he feel those players have earned their chance to start? Heath has long espoused a belief that the players pick themselves with their efforts in games and at training, so now it’s time to see if the likes of midfielders Raheem Edwards, Thomas Chacon and Hassani Dotson and forward Mason Toye will be the ones the veterans have to push out of the way, or if the returns from training this week have shown Heath that his first-choice attackers have responded to the fire lit under them after Dallas.
Minnesota has put the ball in the back of the net in the 55th minute in two consecutive games. An own goal against Sporting Kansas City on August 21 was followed up with a Hassani Dotson strike against FC Dallas last Saturday, August 29.
SOUND OF THE LOONS: REYNOSO WATCH IS OVER