Bobby Shuttleworth earned the starting spot in goal again for Minnesota after a strong showing last week against Real Salt Lake. The back four had one new face, with new signing Marc Burch starting at left back. Francisco Calvo and Brent Kallman have solidified themselves as the regular center back pairing and Jerômé Thiesson took his now usual place on the right side of the defense. Calvo wore the armband for the second match in a row.
Collen Warner retained his defensive midfield spot after a solid showing against RSL. Joining Warner in the midfield was another new face, Sam Cronin. Cronin and Burch arrived last Friday before the RSL game but were not able to make the gameday roster until tonight.
Unsurprisingly, the potent attack from last game stayed the same. Kevin Molino and Bashkim Kadrii started out on the right and left wings respectively, however, they would switch sides throughout the match. Johan Venegas slotted into the position right behind Christian Ramirez, who looked to continue his hot start to MLS.
FC Dallas had a short week to prepare for Minnesota. On Tuesday, it played Liga MX side Pachuca, in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals. Dallas fielded a full strength side against Pachuca but came up short, losing in heartbreaking fashion on a second half stoppage time goal. Dallas made three changes from its champions league lineup including one in goal. Jesse González replaced Chris Seitz in goal.
Javier Morales replaced Designated Player Cristian Colmán. Colmán lined up as a second striker with Maximiliano Urruti against Pachuca while Morales lined up behind Urruti. Last change made was Atiba Harris who replaced Maynor Figueroa at left back. Matt Hedges wore the captain armband and USMNT spitfire Kellyn Acosta lined up in the midfield for FC Dallas.
The first half got off to a stuttering start after FC Dallas kicked off, with Kallman going down with a knock in the first minute of the game. Going up for a header, Kallman took a shot from Harris. He recovered quickly and continued the game, much to the relief of Minnesota fans.
In the fifth minute, Warner lost the ball after a tackle from Urutti. Warner then earned the match’s first yellow card for a tactical foul. After Warner’s foul, the pitch started to slowly shift in Dallas’s favor forcing Minnesota’s defense to make some defensive plays.
Minnesota still was able to show how quickly it can become dangerous. A free kick from its own half was played to Molino who found Ramirez unmarked on the corner of the 18-yard box. Unfortunately, Ramirez sent it over the bar.
FC Dallas had its best chance of the first half when Barrios forced a reaction save from Shuttleworth. The rebound fell to Roland Lamah who missed a wide open net and sent the ball out for a Minnesota goal kick.
FC Dallas countered quickly on a free kick by Minnesota that ended with Barrios sending the ball just wide. Shuttleworth looked to have a good angle on the shot, but Barrios should have done better with that chance. Kallman was the lone defender on the counter, but Molino hustled back to help the Woodbury native.
Carlos Gruezo earned the second yellow card of the game after a tactical foul on Venegas while Minnesota tried to launch a counter attack.
A through-ball found Lamah in the box around the 38th minute, but Kallman dove in and snuffed out the attack. Shortly after, FC Dallas had two chances while an unmarked Barrios had his shot blocked by Calvo. Immediately, a cross by Dallas found Harris at the far post, but Thiesson did just enough to cause the header to go inches wide of goal.
Morales dribbled around some Minnesota defenders and fired a shot from the edge of the box, but Shuttleworth managed to knock it out for a corner. After a semi-clearance from Minnesota, Barrios found himself on the wing and cut in, sending a ball to the far post. Walker Zimmerman got a head to the ball and it found the foot of Morales, who redirected it into the net for his 50th MLS goal and first for FC Dallas. The goal seemed to be coming with Dallas getting more and more dangerous as the half wore on.
Outside of one half-chance from Minnesota, play in the first was dominated by Dallas. If not for a couple of good saves by Shuttleworth or well-timed interceptions and tackles by the defense, Minnesota could have been down by more.
Neither team made a change at halftime and Minnesota kicked off the second half. On its first possession of the half, Minnesota cycled the ball around. While it seemed like every Minnesota player touched the ball, it finally fell to Molino who notched Minnesota’s first shot on target. Immediately afterwards, Burch was beaten by Barrios to a through-ball. Barrios tried to cut the ball back in the box to Urruti but Kallman managed to slide in and stop the pass.
A turnover by Cronin in Minnesota’s half led to Dallas’s second goal. Acosta dribbled in to the 18-yard box and found an unmarked Barrios, Shuttleworth slipped getting into position and Barrios fired the ball into the top corner.
Cronin tried to make up for his mistake moments later by firing an absolute laser from around 30 yards out. The ball seemed destined for the top corner, but Gonzalez somehow managed to palm it out for a corner.
Even though the Loons conceded early in the second half, they looked more dangerous on the attack.
Warner, who was already on a yellow card, had a stern talking to from the official after a hard foul on Urruti. He was subbed off in the 55th minute with Ibson replacing him. Up until that point, Warner had played every minute for the Loons.
Good build-up play by Minnesota led to Burch feeding Venegas outside of the box. Venegas cut around a defender and had his shot saved by Gonzalez.
Ibson earned a yellow card for tackling Lamah from behind after losing a bouncing ball to the Belgian. After the foul, Abu Danladi replaced Kadrii. Danladi joined Ramirez up top as a second striker while Venegas moved to the wing.
In the 63rd minute, FC Dallas made its first substitution with Tesho Akindele replacing Lamah.
Minnesota continued to pick up its offense with Venegas sending a very dangerous cross across the face of goal just missing an outstretched Ramirez. Venegas followed up a couple minutes later with a shot from 20 yards out that took a tricky bounce before Gonzalez swallowed it up.
Minnesota continued to look the more dangerous team for the remainder of the second half. Molino found an unmarked Ramirez on the edge of the box. A Dallas defender closed down quickly and Ramirez’s shot was deflected. Danladi tracked down the rebound and sent in a dangerous ball that caused Gonzalez to make a save; Molino was beaten to the rebound by Gonzalez who covered the ball.
Acosta made way for Victor Ulloa in the 71st minute for Dallas’s second substitution. Once play resumed, Kallman was booked for a heavy challenge on Urruti.
Minnesota had two straight corners that almost led to its first goal of the match. On the first, the ball bounced around the box like a pinball until it found Ibson. Ibson’s shot was saved by Gonzalez. On the second, a weak clearance by Gonzalez found Cronin on the edge of the box. His shot went over the crossbar by inches.
With Dallas’ third and final substitution of the game, Carlos Cermeño came on for goal-scorer Morales.
Danladi seemed destined to score the first goal for the Loons. Danladi managed to get a header on a cross from Venegas. If not for a stellar reaction save from Gonzalez, the ball would have either found the net or Ramirez who was waiting at the far post.
With some fancy footwork, Venegas drew a foul on the edge of the box. While setting up the free kick, Gonzalez decided to play with the ball for a bit too long, earning himself a yellow card for delay of game. Hernán Grana also earned himself a yellow card in the delay. The free kick, taken by Venegas, deflected off the wall and out for a corner.
Dallas almost got a third on the counter. Urruti got a shot off while being defended well by Thiesson. Shuttleworth made a good save, but the rebound fell to Akindele who powered the ball into the back of the net. Fortunately for Minnesota, Akindele was offside.
The match ended after four minutes of stoppage time. Minnesota’s defense did play a lot better than its tumultuous run in March, however, a couple of small mistakes were punished by Dallas. The Loons’ forwards took a while to find their groove, but once they did, they looked dangerous. On a different day, some of those chances might have slipped by Gonzalez, who had a spectacular game.
— FiftyFiveOne (@FiftyFiveOne) April 9, 2017
FC Dallas - Minnesota United
Stadium: Toyota Stadium
Kick off: 7:00 p.m. (CDT)
Weather: 79°, Partly Cloudy
Javier Morales (43′)
Michael Barrios (49′)
Collen Warner (5′ Unsporting Behavior)
Carlos Gruezo (30′ Unsporting Behavior)
Ibson (61′ Unsporting Behavior)
Brent Kallman (72′ Unsporting Behavior)
Jesse González (89′ Delay of Game)
Hernán Grana (89′ Delay of Game)
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