Opponent Insight: MNUFC vs Houston Dynamo FC, ft. Bayou City Soccer

Minnesota United FC plays another home match on Saturday night, this time hosting Houston Dynamo FC. A lot has changed (for both clubs) since the sides last met in July of 2023 so we caught up with Dustyn Richardson of Bayou City Soccer to learn more about the Dynamo’s highs and lows of 2024.

Northland Soccer Journal (NSJ): With head coach Ben Olsen in his second season and the club’s recent successes (2023 Open Cup champions, 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup run), what is the general feel around the club and supporters as focus shifts to the long MLS season ahead?

Bayou City Soccer (BCS): When Olsen was hired, a lot of fans were very skeptical. After last season, that skepticism has gone away, for the most part. There’s always the lunatic fringe fans that want any coach fired but Olsen has established success and a culture here in Houston. More importantly, the players love him. Olsen has buy-in from a very veteran-heavy roster and that is huge. They know what needs to be done over a long season, where the Dynamo are playing in so many competitions. Olsen has the backing of everyone to continue leading this club in its rebuild back to being a competitor in Major League Soccer.

NSJ: Like many Western Conference teams the Dynamo have seen a lot of changes to the starting squad recently. Which player(s) has been key so far this season? Are there any surprise standouts?

BCS: The Dynamo have been hammered by injuries early in the season and have played a number of games with no Designated Players. DP striker Sebas Ferreira is back and scored his first goal two weeks ago. Captain Hector Herrera looks to be close to returning, although he won’t be back for this game in Minnesota. With Herrera out, Coco Carrasquilla has been key in the midfield. The Panamanian has been a cog for his national team and has started to take the reins of this Dynamo team early in 2024 while they figure things out. One surprising standout has been for Minnesota United man Jan Gregus. Houston signed Gregus as much-needed midfield depth in preseason but he has been pushed into a big role with the injuries. Gregus has been solid, completing passes at a high mark and helping the Dynamo keep possession, which is key to how they play.

NSJ: Out of five scorers this season, only one Houston player (Ibrahim Aliyu) has more than 1 goal. Is this a concern or more a reflection of some tight matches?

BCS: Coming into this season, the big question mark around this Dynamo team was “who will score the goals?” Ferreira got injured in the opening minutes of the first Champions Cup match and that worry only intensified for Dynamo fans. I would say it is still a concern but with Ferreira back, hopefully it goes away. He did go over a year without a goal after a terrible start in MLS last season and a failed loan to Brazil, but he scored 13 goals for Houston in 2022 and he will need to shoulder the load if the Dynamo are going to find success again.

NSJ: Predicted lineup and result for Saturday?

BCS: If Ferreira is good to go from an injury that kept him out last week, I think the lineup will be: Clark; Escobar, Micael, Sviatchenko, Dorsey; Artur, Gregus, Bassi; Aliyu, Ferreira, Carrasquilla. Minnesota is a tough team and the Dynamo seem to never have success up there so I think picking up a point would be considered a good weekend for Houston. I’ll say a 1-1 result with the Dynamo scoring late.

Our thanks to Dustyn and BCS for taking the time to get us caught up on Houston Dynamo. See how we responded to his questions about MNUFC at Bayou City Soccer.


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