Match Preview: MNUFC vs Houston Dynamo

MNUFC’s Robin Lod on defensive duty against Houston Dynamo on May 17, 2023, at Allianz Field in St Paul, Minn. (Photo by Tim McLaughlin)

MNUFC Looks To Remain Undefeated at Home

Minnesota United FC play Houston Dynamo this Saturday, April 13, 7:30 pm at Allianz Field. While they are undefeated at home, only one MLS home game was a victory; the other two were draws. One of those draws came off a late Tani equalizer last week against Real Salt Lake. The Loons look to get another result against a tough Western Conference opponent that sits close to them in the standings. The Houston Dynamo may have been eliminated from the Champions Cup in the Round of 16, but they have started the MLS season strong.

Form (W-L-D)

MIN: 4th in West (11 pts), 3-1-2, GD +2

HOU: 6th in West (10 pts), 3-2-1, GD +1

MIN and HOU team comparison table

Series Record – MNUFC (W-L-D)

MLS Overall: 9-4-4

MLS Home: 6-0-2

MLS Away: 3-4-2

USOC Overall 1-2-0

All Competitions: 10-6-4


MIN Out: Miguel Tapias (Thigh), Zarek Valentin (Thigh), Emanuel Reynoso (No Injury), Joseph Rosales (Suspension)
MIN Questionable: None

HOU Out: Héctor Herrera (Knee), Nelson Quiñónes (Knee)
HOU Questionable: Franco Escobar (lower body), Sebastián Ferreira (lower body), Micael do Santos (lower body)

Training Notes

Members of the North Suburban Soccer Association got to visit training on Friday. Jon Marthaler asked, “Do you feel like the intensity was up with kids here to cheer people on and watch them?”

Eric Ramsay responded, “It definitely changes the dynamic [but] we want training to feel that way every day. We want it to feel vibrant. We want the club to feel very connected as a whole.”

On the mentors and leaders on roster, the head coach said,

“This is a brilliant group in that sense. You’ve got a lot of guys that [are at] sort of the latter stages of their career like Trapp and Boxall and Zarek and the Finns [Lod and Pukki] and Clint, the second goalkeeper. Across those guys, you’ve got a lot of wisdom; you’ve got a lot of maturity. He later added, “They are very open, very personable. As a sort of leadership group, we can run things. It’s more of a collective than you would see in other scenarios.”

On Houston only allowing six goals in six games this season:

“It’s less to do with how they are defensively and more to do with how much of the ball they have…. They’re up there with highest share of possession over the course of the games that they’ve played in comparison with everyone else in the league. That that obviously means that they defend less. They’ve got a lot of players close to the ball when they when they lose it; so, they’re able to get it back relatively quickly. And that will be something for us to grapple with tomorrow, no doubt. They’re a team that we’re gonna have to suffer against a little bit because they’re a hard team to press, a hard team to get the ball off, but we want to also make sure that that’s an uncomfortable experience for them coming into our place.”

Key Players


With Tapias and Rosales out, Minnesota will need to find replacements for left center back and left fullback. Ramsay commented, “Without giving anything away …, we’re going to have to do something that we haven’t done before with the absences we’ve got with Micky and Joe.”

Maplewood’s Devin Padelford will likely feature in one of those two spots having started at both positions over the last three matches. Victor Eriksson subbed on late in Philadelphia. SuperDraftees, Hugo Bacharach and Morris Duggan, have played center back for MNUFC2. However, center midfielders Kervin Arriaga or Hassani Dotson could slide back as well.

“I think it being a home match, bring[ing] the energy, there’s always extra motivation when you’re playing in front of those fans. Just bring the energy and again, we’ve got to start taking in ideas from training and executing them on the field. I think if we do all those things, we should walk away with three points.” – Devin Padelford

Bongokuhle Hlongwane has come of the bench effectively at the start of the season, but started in his first game last week and has 2 goals on the season. Teemu Pukki also has 2 goals. Robin Lod and super substitute Tan Oluwaseyi both have 2 goals and 2 assists.


With captain and designated player Héctor Herrara injured, expect Adalberto “Coco” Carrasquilla to marshall the midfield. Will the fiesty Ferreira be healthy to start? Ibrahim Aliyu only scored one goal in four games last season, but the 22-year-old Nigerian has two goals already this season and has started at both left wing and striker.

In NSJ’s interview with Bayou City Soccer this week, reporter Dustyn Richardson had this to say about a former Loon:

“Houston signed Greguš as much-needed midfield depth in preseason but he has been pushed into a big role with the injuries. Greguš has been solid, completing passes at a high mark and helping the Dynamo keep possession, which is key to how they play.”

Loons Miscellany

For the Reynoso green card issues, please check out Andy Greder’s work at the Pioneer Press. Khaled El-Ahmad and Eric Ramsay have both said they want to focus on the players who are here.

Khaled El-Ahmad, Dennis Lawrence, and Eric Ramsay watched the Timberwolves beat Atlanta 109-106 on Friday. Ramsay has embraced the Twin Cities pro sports scene.

This Saturday MNUFC celebrates Black Excellence. Musicians will perform in the premium seating areas of the Stadium Club and Field Club. In addition to the National Anthem, members from the Walker West Music Academy will perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Former Minnesota Thunder player Tamba Johnson will participate in the coin toss.

Minnesota United will highlight current Black players and historical Black soccer figures from Minnesota: Minnesota Thunder’s Melvin Tarley and Tony Sanneh, Minnesota Kicks’ Patrick “Ace” Ntsoelengoe (ENT-so-Long-go), and USWNT GK Brianna Scurry. Several community members will also be featured for L’Eoile du Nord, Eye of the Loon, Ball Delivery, Guest Scoreboard Operator, SeatGeek Fan of the Game, and Guest Chef. More details can be found at MNUFC’s website.


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