Trask Smith

Dynamo to “continue pushing” towards playoffs against Minnesota United FC

The Houston Dynamo return to action as they host Minnesota United FC on Saturday (7:30 p.m. | TICKETS), less than 72 hours removed from a comeback effort on Wednesday night. The team looks to continue the surge shown late in the 3-3 draw against the LA Galaxy and translate it into a crucial win as they push toward the playoffs.

“The team showed a very good character and mentality to come back from a difficult situation,” said head coach Wilmer Cabrera. “We need to stop putting ourselves in those situations; which will keep us from having to give a double effort, and we don’t put pressure on ourselves. Yes, it wasn’t a regular game. I think those mistakes, those individual errors; you don’t see them often. Let’s make sure we don’t repeat that anymore, and we need to continue pushing.”

The Dynamo have given up the first goal in five of their last six matches and have not played with a lead since the August 23rd match at FC Dallas. On Wednesday, the club rallied from a two-goal deficit behind a debut goal Tomás Martínez and a second-half brace from Alberth Elis.

Defender A.J. DeLaGarza says the defense has to tighten things up in the back for the team to continue thinking about the playoffs.

“Early goals, two minutes yesterday, 10 minutes yesterday, that’s our problem,” said DeLaGarza. “It starts in the back. We have a bunch of guys who know how to win in the back, and it just hasn’t translated into this season. We have only six shutouts on the year, and that is not enough for this group.”

Half of the shutouts have come at BBVA Compass Stadium, where the team has a +21 goal differential this season to go with their 9-1-4 home record. Their last shutout was a 3-0 win vs. the San Jose Earthquakes on August 12 have allowed four goals in the two home matches since then.

The Dynamo and Minnesota United FC have faced off twice this season. The first encounter ended in a 2-2 draw in Houston and the second as a 0-0 draw in Minnesota. Saturday will be the final meeting between the two clubs during the 2017 regular season.

The team may be shorthanded as Juan David Cabezas left Wednesday’s match with an injury and his status for Saturday is unknown. Additionally, Memo Rodriguez and Boniek García were left out of the 18 due to right knee sprains.

Cabrera is confident, however, that his team has a strong mentality to fight through the current struggles.

“We went through tougher situations,” said Cabrera. “To be honest with you, we are one of the stronger teams in that aspect because is not easy to come back, is not easy to sustain those type of situations, but we need to avoid individual errors.”