Houston Dynamo at Minnesota United
Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 7:00 p.m. CT
TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota
KUBE 57 – 6:30 p.m. (CHANNEL LISTINGS)
650 AM/Radio.com app – 6:30 p.m.
Univision Radio 1010 AM – 6:30 p.m.
If not now, then when?
That may be the question the Houston Dynamo ask themselves as they prepare for the long journey north to face Minnesota United and – just maybe – secure the first away win of the season.
While the rigors of cross-country travel make away wins hard to come by for most MLS sides, that Houston have failed to get at least one away from BBVA Compass Stadium is especially curious considering just how good they've been at home.
And with both sides impacted by Gold Cup absences, an expansion side that hasn't had the luxury of time to build depth would seem to be at the disadvantage. Minnesota has also lost four of 10 at home in its inaugural season, and is one of only three MLS teams to have a negative home goal differential.
Indeed, the universe would seem to be lining up perfectly for Wilmer Cabrera's bunch. Which only matters until the opening whistle blows.
The Loons have won just once in their last six matches but return from their break only six points out of the sixth and final Western Conference playoff spot, and have proved potent enough offensively to mount a charge if they can shore up their league-worst defense.
Former Vancouver Whitecaps defender Michael Boxall may provide some help after his a few days ago, one which coach Adrian Heath hopes is the first of several. Boxall could play right immediately, especially with Francisco Calvo still away at the Gold Cup with Costa Rica.
The Loons still have plenty of injury concerns, including Johan Venegas, who technically is also away with Los Ticos but hasn't appeared since leaving their group opener early with some sort of ailment. But at least offensively, top scorers Christian Ramirez and Kevin Molino should be available.
- Suspended: None
- Suspended next yellow card: None
- Int’l Duty: Johan Venegas (Costa Rica), Francisco Calvo (Costa Rica), Jermaine Taylor (Jamaica)
- Injury Report: OUT: Bernardo Anor (left lower leg injury), Thomas de Villardi (left Achilles injury), Marc Burch (sports hernia surgery), Abu Danladi (right thigh injury) , Brent Kallman (right knee injury), John Alvbage (right thumb). QUESTIONABLE: Vadim Demidov (left knee injury)
Projected Starting XI (4-5-1, left to right): Bobby Shuttleworth – Justin Davis, Joseph Greenspan, Jerome Thiesson, Michael Boxall – Ismaila Jome, Ibson, Kevin Molino, Sam Cronin, Miguel Ibarra – Christian Ramirez
Notes: Christian Ramirez became the eighth player in MLS history to score 10 goals for an expansion team, when he scored against New York City FC on June 29. He was unable to add to that total in a July 4 loss to Columbus, but is still in reach of David Villa's 18 goals for NYCFC in their inaugural season two years ago.
The way Houston's international call-ups are finishing at the Gold Cup, maybe it's a good thing they won't be traveling with the Dynamo to the Twin Cities.
Thanks to the Florent Malouda saga, Honduras is into the quarterfinals despite failing to put any of their 22 shots on goal over three games into the net. And Dynamo contributors Alberth Elis, Romell Quioto and Boniek García among the culprits. And with Erick "Cubo" Torres starting, Mexico failed to score against Jamaica for the first time in seven Gold Cup matches in what finished a 0-0 draw.
With only Torres in the lineup of that quartet, Houston still cruised to a 3-1 victory over the Montreal Impact on July 5, guided by goals from Andrew Wenger, Alex and Memo Rodriguez, and Mauro Manotas' two assists.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: Boniek Garcia (Honduras), Alberth Elis (Honduras), Romell Quioto (Honduras), Erick Torres (Mexico)
- Injury Report: OUT – D George Malki (ACL injury), M Eric Alexander
Projected Starting XI (4-3-3, left to right): Tyler Deric – DaMarcus Beasley, Adolfo Machado, Leonardo, A.J. DeLaGarza – Alex, Juan Cabezas, Ricardo Clark -- Mauro Manotas, Memo Rodriguez, Andrew Wenger
Notes: Houston's A.J. DeLaGarza is halfway to matching his single-season high of four assists and has attempted a single-season high five shots in his first year with the Dynamo.
Drew 2-2 in the teams' only previous meeting at Houston on April 15.
- Overall: Minnesota 0 wins (2 goals) … Houston 0 wins (2 goals) … Ties 1
- At MIN: First meeting.
Referee: Silviu Petrescu
Assistant Referees: Joe Fletcher, Adam Wienckowski
Fourth Official: Juan Guzman