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Minnesota United FC Comes Back to Draw Houston Dynamo

by on 15 April 2017

Despite conceding two first-half goals and making two first-half substitutions, Minnesota United FC battled to a 2-2 draw against the Houston Dynamo. Goals came from Christian Ramirez, Johan Venegas, Mauro Manotas, and Alberth Elis.

Adrian Heath made only one change to the lineup from last week, dropping Bashkim Kadrii for Rasmus Schüller. Minnesota announced its lineup as a 4-4-2, though it never truly appeared to be one. Venegas and Kevin Molino spent most of their time on the wings, with Schüller, Sam Cronin, and Collen Warner policing the center of the pitch.

Cronin and Marc Burch made their second consecutive starts for Minnesota, while Warner found himself in the lineup again as well. Before being subbed off last week against Dallas, Warner had played every minute for Minnesota. Vadim Demidov again found himself out of the 18.

Houston also only made one change to its lineup: Joe Willis started in goal for Tyler Deric. Erick Torres started up top, flanked by Manotas and  Elis.

First half

The match began with Minnesota having the better of possession. The Loons controlled the ball well and were able to generate an early chance as Molino sent in an early cross that was just beyond Christian Ramirez. Bobby Shuttleworth was called into action early as well. Minnesota was caught unprepared for a long throw-in and Francisco Calvo was left to mark two players. Shuttleworth was right in front of the header and the Loons’ blushes were spared.

The Dynamo continued building momentum and the high pace of play eventually paid off. After another quick throw, Burch was caught forward and out of position. Warner tried to cover, but was unable to get back in time. Torres received a forward pass and centered for Manotas, who slotted a shot low into the left corner past Shuttleworth.

Houston continued its fast pace of play, leaving Minnesota to try to counterattack. Molino sent several balls forward for Ramirez, who twice was in almost alone on goal. The first time, his shot was wide right of the target. In the 19th minute, Ramirez was taken down from behind in the box. Referee Robert Sibiga was close and immediately waived off any shouts for a penalty. Ramirez was certainly fouled and this probably should have been a card for Houston and a penalty for Minnesota.

Molino sent in another cross, but Ramirez couldn’t deflect it on net. Minnesota continued to struggle to create chances, while creating danger for themselves by giving the ball away at midfield. Houston continued to play physically, but it was Jérôme Thiesson who saw yellow for a blatant foul in the 36th minute.

The Dynamo thought they had doubled the lead as Elis headed a goal in, but he was wrongly flagged for offside. Houston should have had two goals, but the officials made a second incorrect major call in the match. In the 41st minute, Miguel Ibarra warmed up and was subbed on for Schüller, who had picked up an injury.

Houston did score a second on the ensuing free kick; Elis ran in unmarked and got his goal. In the course of play, his knee made contact with Shuttleworth’s head, who had to receive treatment. John Alvbåge was subbed in, meaning Minnesota United used two subs before halftime.

The half ended with the Loons down 2-0 to Houston and having used two substitutions for injury.

Second half

Minnesota drew one goal back almost immediately after the break, as Ramirez got his head on a corner kick from Molino. Minnesota came close to finding an equalizer off a series of corners and through-balls, but the 2-1 scoreline held.

Ramirez had a chance to level the game in the 55th minute off yet another early ball from Molino. Ramirez’s chipped shot was just high and went out for a goal kick. Houston managed to generate crosses on the break, but was unable to find shots on target. In the 59th minute, Molino cut in from the right wing and sent a cross that was deflected into the six-yard box. Venegas hit the ball on the half-volley and leveled the game at two goals apiece.

With the score equal, Minnesota had firm control of the match. While Houston was still generating attacks, the vast majority of the danger was in favor of the Loons. Houston’s first dangerous attack came in the 66th minute off a looping cross from the left of the six-yard box. The following corner was cleared, though the home team maintained possession.

The Dynamo slowly worked their way back into the game, as the home team created more chances past the 70th minute. Houston earned several corners and called on Alvbåge and Brent Kallman to make saves and headers to prevent goals. Molino received a pass from Ibarra at the penalty spot, but sent his shot high and wide. Torres went close with a deflected shot, but missed the target.

Minnesota’s defense deteriorated as the match neared its close, with Houston winning more and better chances. Kallman took down Torres at the edge of the penalty area, but the shot off the free kick was high. A 92nd minute foul from Calvo led to a dangerous cross that was punched clear by Alvbåge. Despite being forced to bend, the Loons’ defense did not break and earned a crucial point on the road.

FiftyFive.One’s three stars

Match statistics

Minnesota United 2 – Houston Dynamo 2
Stadium: BBVA Compass Stadium
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. (CDT)
Weather: Sunny

Scoring Summary
Mauro Manotas (14′) – assist from Erick Torres
Alberth Elis (43′) – assist from Boniek García
Christian Ramirez (47′) – assist from Kevin Molino
Johan Venegas (59′) – unassisted

Discipline
Jérôme Thiesson (35′) – Unsporting Behavior
Brent Kallman (86′) – Unsporting Behavior
Johan Venegas (90’+4′) – Unsporting Behavior

Match Ratings

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  • Scherbs

    This may be stating the obvious, but i thought we played much better when Ibarra came on. Having two natural wingers gives our offense the width we need. Would love to see more of Schuller, but only if he replaces either Warner or Cronin not in addition to them. Hopefully Ibarra will get a run of games now.

  • Offensive Loons Fan

    I thought we looked like a 4-4-2 when we transitioned to defense, but a 4-2-3-1 in offense, and I’m correct, so please adjust the article.