Houston Dynamo vs. Minnesota United FC
Saturday, April 15, 2017, 7:30 p.m. CT
BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas
The Houston Dynamo and MLS scoring leader Erick "El Cubo" Torres put their perfect home record (3-0-0) on the line Saturday night against a Minnesota United FC expansion side that has already made significant improvements in the opening seven weeks of their first MLS season.
Both clubs are coming off 2-0 losses, but while Minnesota can take heart from a resilient road display against one of the league's elite clubs in FC Dallas – MNUFC boss Adrian Heath claimed that "if that game on Saturday would have come in another 3 or 4 weeks, then we could have gone on and won the game" – Houston struggled to create meaningful attacks from possession and appeared disjointed with its transition defending against the New England Revolution.
La Naranja are hoping to see their attacking trident get back together this weekend after Romell Quioto missed the last two matches with a shoulder injury. Together with Honduran compatriot Alberth Elis and Torres, they have led the Dynamo to the third best scoring record in the league (11), proving most effective on quick counterattacks.
- Suspended: None
- Int'l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT – DF Agus (left hamstring), DF George Malki (torn left ACL), DF A.J. DeLaGarza (right calf strain); DOUBTFUL – DF Leonardo (right hamstring); QUESTIONABLE – FW Romell Quioto (left shoulder dislocation)
Projected Starting XI (4-3-3, left to right): Tyler Deric – Dylan Remick, Jalil Anibaba, Adolfo Machado, Boniek García – Alex, Eric Alexander, Ricardo Clark – Romell Quioto, Erick Torres, Alberth Elis
Notes: According to the Houston Chronicle, head coach Wilmer Cabrera says Romell Quioto will likely be available vs. Minnesota after missing the last two matches. The forward was "practicing normally the whole week" ... Center back Leonardo was training on the side on Thursday, but it's unlikely that will be enough time for him to make a return to the starting XI.
Minnesota United FC
Strengthened by their most recent acquisitions, the Loons are feeling a lot better these days about their ability to contain opposing attacks and they're convinced the dam breaks witnessed in the first four matches (18 goals conceded) are a thing of the past. That conviction will be put to the ultimate test against the Dynamo's explosive front line.
On the other side of the field, the likes of Kevin Molino and Christian Ramirez will hope they get the same spaces in transition that the New England Revolution benefited from last week against Houston. If the Loons can capitalize on a couple of those opportunities, they will like their chances at a first-ever road win with a three-game homestand on the horizon.
- Suspended: None
- Int'l Duty: None
- On Loan: DF Joe Greenspan (Pittsburgh Riverhounds through May)
- Injury Report: OUT – MF Bernardo Anor (left lower leg injury), MF Thomas de Villardi (left Achilles)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1, left to right): Bobby Shuttleworth – Marc Burch, Francisco Calvo, Brent Kallman, Jerome Thiesson – Sam Cronin, Collen Warner – Bashkim Kadrii, Johan Venegas, Kevin Molino – Christian Ramirez
Notes: Given how critical the counterattack will be to get points in Houston, head coach Adrian Heath could opt to give rookie Abu Danladi his first start on the wing in place of Bashkim Kadrii ... Heath also says that holding midfielder Rasmus Schuller is making it very difficult not to give him a spot in the starting lineup.
First of three meetings in 2017 (Wed., July 19 in Minnesota and Sat., Sept. 30 in Houston)
Referee: Robert Sibiga
Assistant Referees: Jonathan Johnson (bench side), Felisha Mariscal (far side)
Fourth Official: Younes Marrakchi