Loons manager Adrian Heath opted for his typical 4-2-3-1 starting lineup, but with a few twists.
Since the team traded Francisco Calvo to the Chicago Fire, there’s been an opening at left back. Initially filled by Eric Miller (who is out due to a reported thigh injury), Miguel Ibarra also played as a left fullback to give the team an additional attacking option.
After impresssing over the course of 90 minutes in the position against German Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin in an international friendly on Wednesday, it was rookie Hassani Dotson out of Oregon State who started as United’s left back, his first MLS start.
Though standout centerback Ike Opara was reported to be recovered from a knee injury, he was kept in the bench in favor of Michael Boxall and Brent Kallman, who worked well together in holding the Columbus Crew scoreless and shotless last weekend.
The typical midfield duo of Jan Greguš and Ozzie Alonso remained intact behind the front four of Miguel Ibarra, Darwin Quintero, Ethan Finlay and striker Angelo Rodriguez.
The visiting Dynamo also lined up in a 4-2-3-1.
Attacker Alberto Elis missed the game due to a concussion suffered last weekend, leaving Houston with Mauro Manotas up top. DaMarcus Beasley, who recently announced that he will retire at the end of the season, lined up at left back.
Minnesota found an attacking opportunity within the first five minutes of the game. Quintero received a low pass inside the box, flicked it up and sent a spinning half-volley into the crossbar.
In the 20th minute, it was right back Romain Metanire who gave the Loons a 1-0 lead through an odd finish. The Malagasy international likely intended to cross the ball to the far post, but the service took a deflection off a Houston defender, ricocheted off the post and went into the goal.
Dotson briefly left the game just before halftime for attention from the training staff. The TV broadcast showed some blood on his uniform. He switched out his shorts and jersey on the sideline and promptly re-entered the game.
Quintero also departed at the 45-minute mark, getting checked out on the far sideline. He was not out of the match for long.
Finlay opened the second half with a couple of attacking chances, but he was well offside on the first and sent the second over the bar. Rodriguez also had an opportunity, but Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis came off his line to dispossess the forward.
Houston’s Romell Quioto, the Dynamo’s most potent attacker, left the game at the hour mark with an apparent hamstring injury. Tommy McNamara replaced him.
For Minnesota’s first substitution, Abu Danladi received an extended opportunity to prove himself as Rodriguez’s decent night ended in the 65th minute. Darwin Quintero’s scoreless night came to an end in the 78th minute as Rasmus Schuller entered the game, giving United more of a 4-3-3 shape. To park the bus, Ike Opara replaced Ibarra with about 10 minutes to play.
Metanire picked up a soft yellow in stoppage time, meaning he will be suspended due to accumulation for the Loons’ midweek tilt against Atlanta United.