A pair of goals in the first half saw the Houston Dynamo through for a 2-0 win over Minnesota United FC tonight at BBVA Stadium. The win was the first for interim head coach Davy Arnaud, who was elevated into the role on Aug. 13.
Houston forward Mauro Manotas gave Houston the lead in the 37th minute off a cross from DaMarcus Beasley at the near post. Midfielder Tomás Martínez switched the ball from right to left to find the U.S. soccer legend on the opposite flank. Beasley controlled the cross and drove to the byline before playing a low centering pass to Manotas as he dashed toward the near post. The goal was the Colombian’s 12th goal of the season and his 31st in 50 career starts at BBVA Stadium in league play.
Dynamo forward Christian Ramirez doubled Houston’s lead just before halftime off a through ball from Manotas. Ramirez slipped past the Minnesota backline to go one-on-one with goalkeeper Vito Mannone, and the former Minnesota forward beat the Loons goalkeeper with an arching shot at the far post. This was Ramirez’s first goal at BBVA Stadium for the Dynamo and second with the club.
Ramirez forced a save in the 21st minute off a through ball from Manotas at the top of the box. Ramirez created space for a shot that escaped Mannone at the near post, but the goalkeeper was able to recover and quell the danger.
Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis was called into action in the 54th minute when dove to smother a long-range shot from midfielder Jan Gregus at the near post. Willis was called into action again in the 58th minute when he denied Ethan Finlay’s half volley with a fantastic reaction save low to his left.
The Dynamo shot stopper finished with four saves to earn his third clean sheet of the season. Willis tied a career-high with his ninth win of the season.
Minnesota nearly pulled a goal back twice in the final 10 minutes. In the 81st minute, Willis came off his line to try and cut out a loose ball, but a Loons attacker beat him to the ball and chipped in a cross. Finlay got on the end of the cross and headed a shot toward the goal, but defender Alejandro Fuenmayor cleared the headed shot off the line at the last moment.
The Loons found the net in stoppage time, with Finlay again serving as the danger man as he scored from just outside the six-yard box. His goal was overturned after referee Tim Ford utilized video review. Upon review, Ford ruled that Minnesota forward Angelo Rodriguez screened Willis while standing in an offside position and waved off the goal.
Houston now faces a quick turnaround as they travel to the Pacific Northwest on Saturday to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place.
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