The defending Lamar Hunt US Open Cup champion, the Houston Dynamo, were taken to the limit in a 3-2 win over Austin Bold FC last Tuesday night. The win put them in line for a Round of 16 rematch with Minnesota United. Houston defeated Minnesota 1-0 last season en-route to their first ever Lamar Hunt Open Cup title.
Houston’s three goals on Tuesday night came in the first half before they took the foot off the pedal. Dynamo captain DaMarcus Beasley may have hit the nail on the head in a post game interview.
“Of course, that’s what we talked about before the game. That’s what we expected at halftime to go up three and then keep going. Keep trying to score. Keep trying to make chances and create chances and try to put them in the back of the net but it was the total opposite. Total opposite of what the U.S. team did today” (USWNT 13-0 win over Thailand).
Knowing it or not Beasley’s words are the recipe for success in this coming Tuesday’s match with Minnesota. Score early. Keep the pedal to the medal. Finish the match strong.
This match will look much different then Tuesday’s when Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera rested many of his starters. Fans can expect that forward Mauro Manotas with 10 goals in 10 Cup games to be up top against the Loons. Expect midfielder Memo Rodriguez back alongside Tomas Martinez in the middle of the pitch. Houston will still be without the services of Darwin Ceren, Alberth Elis, Romell Quioto and Maynor Figueroa who were all to be members of their respective nation’s 23 man Gold Cup roster.
Houston’s heart of a champion will be tested on both ends of the pitch. Minnesota is not Austin Bold FC. They exploded for four goals including a brace by Darwin Quintero in their fourth round win over Sporting Kansas City. Much like Tuesday night, Houston must get on the board early and put the pressure on MNUFC. Once they have the lead, they cannot afford a let up against an MLS side or the defense of the title will be over. They must come ready to play 90 plus minutes of soccer, leaving no doubt as to whom the better team is.
Houston beat Minnesota last season 1-0 in the Round of 16.