Even with a defense that has let in more than two goals a game, Coach Adrian Heath kept the lineup very similar to previous weeks.
In goal, Bobby Shuttleworth earned his second start of the season over early favorite Matt Lampson. In front of him was the same center back pairing of Michael Boxall and Francisco Calvo. With Tyrone Mears still dealing with an injury, Carter Manley got the start on the right, with Jérôme Thiesson starting on the left.
In midfield, Rasmus Schüller and Ibson were again the double pivot in the 4-2-3-1, while Sam Nicholson and Miguel Ibarra got the start on the wings. Darwin Quintero and Christian Ramirez started in the attacking position.
The game started chippy, with Schüller performing a couple hard tackles to try to set a tone for the game. Still, with little changed in the lineup or formation, Minnesota again let in the early goal.
After Ibson made a desperate attempt in midfield to get the ball in the 10th minute, leaving a large gap in the midfield, Houston was off to the races. Romell Quioto crossed it from the left wing, with not one, but two orange shirts sliding in on goal. Alberth Elis ended up being the one to score the goal, but both had plenty of room to work in front of the net.
Houston spent much of the first half pressing at the half line, forcing Minnesota’s center midfielders to beat a double team.
Minnesota’s best chance of the first half before the penalty was a long range shot by Christian Ramirez, hoping to catch the goalkeeper unawares.
Dynamo were happy to play defensively after going up, and were trying to slow the game down. After Ramirez left with an injury, and Toye came in, there were questions as to if Minnesota would be able to break down the Houston defense.
Ibarra had a great cross in to Quintero. Quintero’s header was partially deflected by the arm of Alejandro Fuenmayor, earning Minnesota penalty and a chance even the score at one a piece. Fuenmayor earned a yellow card for his trouble as well.
Darwin buried it in the upper netting, never doubting where he was going to place the ball. A diving Joe Willis couldn’t stop it.
Houston looked like they might find their second goal of the night before the break, with a Quioto shot clanking off the post and out thirty yards.
Both teams started the half looking for a breakthrough, with Minnesota controlling the majority of the possession, but neither team could find a second goal, or even a shot on goal for the first 15 minutes.
DaMarcus Beasley gave Houston their best chance in the second half, with a great cross in from the left that found Elis on the far post. Shuttleworth was there this time, stopping the ball and smothering the rebound.
After the match Shuttleworth was matter of fact about his save. “That’s my job. Stopping shots.”
Minutes later, after a Houston corner kick, Mason Toye had a great run with the ball, finishing with a crossover that left his defender out of position. Unfortunately, the rookie couldn’t bury his shot.
But that brought life back into the crowd and the team. In the 70th minute, Ibson scored with a back heel off a beautiful pass into the box by Miguel Ibarra. Video replay went back to see if Ibarra was offside, but the goal was judged to be good, and Minnesota had their first lead in 5 matches.
Minnesota’s two second half substitutions were intriguing. The first brought Collin Martin on for Sam Nicholson, which put Quintero out onto the wing, the position he primarily played in LigaMX. The second brought Alexi Gomez in for Ibson, which would be the first minutes for the new Loon.
With their third substitution, Minnesota shifted into a 4-1-3-2, with Gomez and Ibarra on the wing, and Schüller as the defensive wing.
Minnesota’s defense faltered late in the second half, but Houston couldn’t find a way through to even the score and steal a point on the road.
— FiftyFiveOne (@FiftyFiveOne) April 29, 2018
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