Houston Dynamo boss Paulo Nagamura says his side must make its home a fortress ahead of Saturday’s visit from in-form Minnesota United.
The Dynamo ended a poor run of form with a 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes last time out, and are just two points shy of a playoff spot as they occupy the 11th position in the Western Conference.
And Nagamura knows a strong home record could make all the difference for his team.
“We have a challenge this year, to be more dominant at home. That’s what we are working towards. We got a great result in San Jose and that was a great performance overall. Now we are preparing for a good Minnesota team, a team that is very hot right now and playing well. A team with a good attacking player, (Emanuel) Reynoso, he is outstanding in transition.
“The bottom line is that we have to be stronger at home, and that’s what we are working towards.”
Visiting Minnesota has won four of its last five Major League Soccer games, and made headlines this week with a 4-0 thrashing of Premier League outfit Everton.
United sits fourth in the Western Conference, four points clear of the teams directly outside the playoff spots, and head coach Adrian Heath is pleased with the positive atmosphere in the camp.
“We’ve got to realize what’s got us the success in the last few weeks. It’s everybody contributing, working from the front,” he said. “I think we’ve got a really good mood in the group at this moment in time.
“As I’ve said before, I can talk to them about trying to give them confidence, but there’s nothing like actually winning games and playing well to give players confidence, and they’re a confident group at this moment in time.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Houston Dynamo – Thorleifur Ulfarsson
The Icelandic wideman has four goals for Houston this term, a tally only bettered by fellow attackers Sebastian Ferreira and Darwin Quintero (both seven), and will look to play a decisive role for the Texan outfit here.
Minnesota United – Emanuel Reynoso
Reynoso scored both goals in Minnesota’s win over D.C. on Saturday, his third multi-goal performance in his last five games. Reynoso’s seven goals and nine goal contributions are the most in MLS since the league returned from the international break in mid-June.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Minnesota United is unbeaten in its last five matches against the Dynamo, including winning the last three in a row. The Loons have never won four straight matches against an opponent in the club’s MLS history.
– The Dynamo came from behind to beat San Jose 2-1 on Sunday, ending a four-match winless run (D1 L3). Houston has posted consecutive wins just once in its last 69 league games dating back to September 2020, when it beat Miami and San Jose in early April.
– Minnesota United has won four of its last five matches (D1) following a 2-0 win over D.C. United on Saturday. This is the second time in club history that the Loons have collected 13 points from a five-match regular season span, also doing so from June-July 2019.
– Both of Houston’s goals in its comeback win in San Jose on Sunday were scored in the final 25 minutes of the match. Six of the Dynamo’s last seven MLS goals have been scored after the 65th minute. They had scored only three of their first 20 goals of the 2022 season after the 65th minute.