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Offense struggles in Houston Dynamo loss to Minnesota United FC

The Houston Dynamo had some chances to get on the scoreboard, but couldn’t buy a goal in Saint Paul Saturday evening in the 2-0 loss to Minnesota United FC

MLS: Houston Dynamo at Minnesota United FC Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Dynamo FC were coming off a derby win over FC Dallas and hoped to carry that momentum with them on the road when they faced off against Minnesota United FC. They must’ve been jetlagged because they started slow and struggled to combine up top in the 2-0 loss to the Loons.

The home side Loons got off to a dream start, or a nightmare of a start for the Dynamo, with Minnesota scoring within the first minute. Minnesota worked the ball well from the back and through the middle of the field. Franco Fragapane had the ball in a good position and played an inch perfect through ball to Robin Lod who was in on goal. Lod took his shot from a tough angle and was able to sneak it into the net near post passed Dynamo goalkeeper Michael Nelson.

Houston tried to respond in the 9th minute on a counter attack. Teenage Hadebe, under pressure, cleared a ball up to Fafà Picault. Picault would get the ball around his defender and dart towards goal from the halfway line. After being slowed he missed an opportunity to pick out Darwin Quintero or cut inside for himself and the ball was quickly cleared from danger.

Things would go from bad to worse for the Dynamo in the 17th minute with Minnesota doubling their lead. A ball was played into the center of the box towards Ethan Finlay and it looked like Tim Parker was first to it. A poor touch had the ball go around him to Finlay who fell over while taking his shot. The sequence had Michael Nelson caught in a poor position with Valentin and Hadebe unable to clear the ball off the line to make it 2-0 to the home side.

The Dynamo had a couple of good looks on goal as the time went on in the first half. A great run by Quintero and combination play around the Minnesota box had the ball end up with Quintero, but his shot was straight at Minnesota goalkeeper Tyler Miller. A few minutes later a ball over the top had Michael Boxall try to play the ball backwards, but it forced a huge save by Miller to keep the play from resulting in an own goal.

The start to the second half was promising by the Dynamo who had cleaned up some of their possession in the midfield and their shape by letting the fullbacks get forward. However, Minnesota sat a little deeper on their lead making it difficult for Houston to break them down while threatening going forward from time to time. This meant the Dynamo couldn’t throw numbers up the field to mount chance after chance out of worry of a counter attack the other way.

Maxi Urruti had a golden chance to pull the Dynamo within one in the 62nd minute following a corner. After the initial effort was cleared, it was crossed back into the box and poorly punched away by Tyler Miller with the ball falling right to Urruti. Urruti’s shot had pace, but went right to Miller.

Minnesota came close to getting another goal in the 72nd minute after a soft foul went against Sam Junqua on the side edge of the box. Lod stepped up and tried to curl a shot into the net which forced a big save by Nelson.

Just a few minutes later Minnesota struck the post as they had begun to get in rhythm as they mounted more pressure on the Dynamo back line who struggled to get the ball out of their half. A long switch of play found Finlay on the back post who volleyed it into the post and as a result was deflected out of play by Hadebe for a MNUFC corner.

Houston came so close to getting on the score sheet in the 81st minute. Darwin Quintero threaded a through ball to Memo Rodríguez who played it in to Fafà Picault, but the shot from close range was saved.

The Dynamo got a few more chances before the final whistle as they pushed numbers forward, but it wasn’t enough and Minnesota would close it out to get all three points. Houston struggled against a locked in MNUFC side who executed their game plan expertly. The Dynamo struggled with their shape and possession in the first half and there was a lack of cohesion with the offensive players higher up the field while Minnesota did well to pick moments to press and keep Houston back in their half.

It’s a short turnaround for the Dynamo who head back to BBVA Stadium for a Wednesday evening matchup against the Vancouver Whitecaps on September 29th at 8:00 PM CT.

Goals:

1’ MIN: Robin Lod (assisted by Franco Fragapane)

17’ MIN: Ethan Finlay

Disciplinary:

40’ MIN: Emanuel Reynoso (yellow card)

41’ HOU: Darwin Quintero (yellow card)

72’ HOU: Sam Junqua (yellow card)

Lineups:

Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Michael Nelson; Sam Junqua, Teenage Hadebe, Tim Parker, Zarek Valentin (64’ Corey Baird); Matías Vera (63’ Memo Rodríguez), Darwin Cerén (64’ Derrick Jones), Darwin Quintero; Griffin Dorsey, Maxi Urruti, Fafà Picault (85’ Ariel Lassiter)

Minnesota United FC (4-2-3-1): Tyler Miller; Chase Gasper, Bakaye Dibassy (83’ Brent Kallman), Michael Boxall, Romain Métanire; Wil Trapp, Osvaldo Alonso; Franco Fragapane (83’ Adrien Hunou), Emanuel Reynoso (60’ Jacori Hayes), Ethan Finlay; Robin Lod