HOUSTON DYNAMO vs. MINNESOTA UNITED
BBVA Stadium | Houston, Texas
09.19.2020 | MLS Week No. 12 | MLS Game No. 12
7:00 p.m. CT (FOX Sports North+, FOX Sports GO, MNUFC Radio on SKOR North)
HOU: 3-3-5 (2-0-2 at home)
MIN: 5-4-2 (3-3-2 on the road)
Following a stretch of six games in 24 days that has coincided with a string of injuries to regular starters, Minnesota United has no doubt relished the chance to get in a more or less normal week of training before heading south — yet again — to face the Houston Dynamo. No team in MLS has played as few home games as the Loons and it looks to get no better with two of their three games in Phase II away from Allianz Field. They’ll begin against a Dynamo team who got the better of Minnesota in a 3-0 loss at the beginning of September, but this time around, Houston will likely be lacking dynamic scorer Alberth Elis given his presumed transfer to Portugal’s Boavista. The Loons will be hoping that their own suddenly dynamic attack led by midfielder Emanuel Reynoso, Robin Lod and Kevin Molino can find the magic they uncovered in a 4-0 win against Real Salt Lake after a week of rest. Both teams are looking to move up the table, with Houston working to get into the mix in the top half of the playoff draw and Minnesota aiming to further establish themselves as a top three team in the West.
After going their first six games without a win, Houston have found their form over the last five, going 3-1-1 in that span. A good deal of credit can go to the hot hand of Darwin Quintero, who’s having a stretch like the one that included Minnesota’s first hat trick in MLS back in 2018. As always, though, one of the biggest factors in a trip to BBVA Stadium is the weather. The temperature was well over 100° when the Loons last visited H-Town, but it looks like things will be a bit cooler this time around, with Saturday currently slated to be the coolest day of the week. One of the major keys for any team playing on the road is pushing for that first goal and Minnesota will aim to take early advantage of a Houston defense that can still be suspect in order to put the home side on the back foot.
BAKAYE DIBASSY ON HIS FELLOW DEFENDERS
“I think they are good players and strong players, too. We can do something great together. They don’t know me, I haven’t had a lot of training with the team but in the future we can be very strong and help the team win a lot of games and do a great season.”
ADRIAN HEATH ON ANOTHER AWAY GAME AGAINST HOUSTON
“It seems ridiculous that we’re going there again. When I look at how many games we’ve played at home and how many we’ve played away, I’m at a loss. I know it’s difficult with the situation that we’re in but, as I said, I don’t know why we’re going back to Houston when we were only there two weeks ago. It’s never easy there, it never is. We know that. You look at this league, most of the teams they got most of their points at home. That’s not just us, that’s a fact within the league. It’s never easy, conditions always seem to be really, really hot. But the bottom line is, as I’ve said to the players, we know our away form the last few weeks has not been what we expect, it’s not been good enough. That’s it. We can right that and get back to what we were earlier on in the season when we were very difficult to beat either at home or on the road. We need to get back to that. Hopefully with the team that we’ve brought out this weekend, we’ll be better prepared for the challenge that’s coming.”MORE
This is for Hot 9-7. pic.twitter.com/7dzVjfgoDA— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) September 17, 2020
A game after absolutely pasting Real Salt Lake to the tune of 4-0, Head Coach Adrian Heath’s hand was forced by the condensed schedule as the team headed to Sporting Kansas City. In place of the usual 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3, MNUFC rolled out a 3-5-2 at Children’s Mercy Park in a bid to hold the SKC attack at bay by gumming up the midfield. For a long time, it worked, with the teams scoreless at the half and the home side eking out a 1-0 win in the game’s final 10 minutes after the visitors had reverted to a more familiar 4-3-3. The injury list has gotten no shorter in the week since that game, so the question becomes: Will the Loons take the pitch in something more or less like the 4-2-3-1 as is their wont, or will they have to work around fatigue and injuries and go with something a little more unconventional?
Michael Boxall is the only MNUFC player to be on the field for every minute of the regular season.
SOUND OF THE LOONS: SECOND SHIFT STARTERS