Houston Dynamo FC fell 2-0 to Minnesota United FC tonight at Allianz Field. A pair of early goals did in the Dynamo, and although the Dynamo had several looks at goal over the final half-hour, they were unable to find breakthrough they needed.
Minnesota took a 1-0 lead 50 seconds into the match through winger Robin Lod. Midfielder Franco Fragapane slipped a ball between two Dynamo defenders and Lod ran onto it at the corner of the six-yard box before tucking a left-footed shot into the net.
The Loons doubled their lead in the 17th minute, this time through winger Ethan Finlay. Finlay nicked the ball off a Houston defender inside the penalty area and quickly spun to put a shot on target. Goalkeeper Michael Nelson got a palm to it, but it caromed off the post and bounced just over the goal line.
Houston’s most dangerous threat of the first half came in the 32nd minute when midfielder Darwin Quintero picked up the ball and drove into the penalty area. Quintero laid it off to forward Maxi Urruti, and the Argentine’s return ball fell to defender Zarek Valentin. His shot was deflected back to the feet of Quintero, who cracked a shot from just inside the box, forcing a save from Minnesota goalkeeper Tyler Miller.
The Dynamo nearly benefited from a Minnesota own goal in the 36th minute. Urruti whipped a low ball in behind the Loons defense to forward Fafa Picault. Defender Michael Boxall slid to try and poke it away, but wound up punching the ball directly at his own net, forcing Miller to react quickly and parry it over the bar.
Houston came out of halftime on the front foot, with forward Fafa Picault creating space for himself to get off a shot in the 47th minute, but his shot sailed wide of the target. Picault rose up for a header off a corner kick in the 60th minute, but his headed shot whistled over the crossbar. Two minutes later, Urruti lashed a shot through traffic following another Houston corner kick, but Miller was able to smother it despite being screened by his defenders.
Nelson came up with a massive save in the 73rd minute off a free kick from Lod. The Finnish international looked set to serve in a high ball after earning a foul near the byline, but opted instead to try a shot from a tight angle. The dipping shot was on target, forcing Nelson to leap and punch it clear. The Katy native finished with four saves on the night.
Picault nearly found the net for a ninth time in 11 games when he redirected a centering ball from midfielder Memo Rodriguez in the 81st minute, but Miller was well positioned to parry away the close-range shot.
Forward Corey Baird nearly made it 2-1 in the 87th minute after combining well with Quintero. Baird picked up the return pass on a one-two with the Colombian and fired a shot from 12 yards that took a deflection and then caught Miller’s foot, keeping it out of the net.
Baird and Quintero each had shots on goal in the 89th, first when Baird ran onto a deflected shot from Rodriguez. Miller saved that shot with his right foot and the rebound fell to Quintero, who cracked a low shot that Miller was also able to save. Forward Ari Lassiter broke into the area a minute later, forcing another save from Miller.
The Dynamo return home on Wednesday night for another pivotal Western Conference tilt as they host the Vancouver Whitecaps at BBVA Stadium. Kickoff for Wednesday’s match is set for 8 p.m. CDT. The popular 713 Night promotion returns for Wednesday’s match, giving fans the opportunity to purchase $7 tickets and enjoy $1 hot dogs and $3 beers throughout the evening. Tickets are available at HoustonDynamoFC.com/SingleGame.