After running wild in a 4-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City on June 12, the Loons booked themselves a spot in this year’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup round of 16 stage and a date with the Houston Dynamo.
The Dynamo knocked the Loons out in last season’s Open Cup in the round of 16, but not even a month ago, Minnesota defeated Houston 1-0.
The Loons will look to play spoiler on Houston’s back-to-back Open Cup run, but it all starts with the lineup. Jan Gregus, the Slovakian designated player, has returned from international duty and is available for selection once again for Minnesota.
The Open Cup law states that only five internationals are allowed on each side, and you can only assume that Angelo Rodriguez, Vito Mannone, Darwin Quintero and Jan Gregus will take up four of the five. It’s up to Adrian Heath’s discretion as to who fills that last slot.
Quintero and Rodriguez are both coming off what might have been their best performances of the season, with each scoring twice and assisting once. The fellow countrymen seemed to have put aside any bad blood after a nine game goal drought and played as a cohesive force against Peter Vermes side.
Victory in Houston won’t be easy however, as the Dynamo are undefeated at home in league play, while only conceding 14 goals. The Loons are 0-1-2 in league play in BBVA stadium.
For the Loons, a win tonight would not only be a massive morale booster for the team, but also for Adrian Heath. Heath’s name is once again being tossed around on social media as someone to watch, or someone who is on the “hot seat.” A win tonight would secure birth in the quarterfinals, but also more time to get the squad right this summer.
The match kicks off at 6 p.m. central time on ESPN+.
- Jacob Schneider: 3-2 Loons
- Colin O’Donnell: 1-1 (5-4 PK’s) Loons. Dylan Wolpers signs a one-day contract to stand in for Alberth Elis, but sprains his ankle in the process. His replacement skies his penalty and Loons win.
- Tim McLaughlin: 2-0 Loons
- Gustavo Navarette: 1-0 Loons
- Eli Hoff: 1-0 Loons after ET.