United FC-Dynamo Preview

National Sports

Adrian Heath has given his Minnesota United FC players a simple message ahead of Saturday’s trip to Houston Dynamo FC: ‘Play badly and you will lose.’

The Loons have lost some momentum in recent weeks with back-to-back draws and a defeat in their last three matches.

United are still in possession of a Western Conference playoff spot, though, and travel to bottom side Houston this weekend.

The Dynamo have won just three of their 21 games this term, but Heath has warned that this match is far from a gimme for his side.

“They are a well organized side and they have got a lot of pace. If we don’t play as well as we can on the weekend, chances are we are going to get beat,” Heath said.

“It’s a big game for them as well. The playoff line is getting congested and teams are picking up a lot of points around there. Every game is going to be important.

“We know they are traditionally hard to play against at Houston, where the weather is stifling. If we can play like we have been doing we should give a good account of ourselves.”

Houston brought an end to a four-game losing streak with a 2-2 draw against state rivals FC Dallas last time out, though they are now winless in 14 games stretching back to May.

The Dynamo will be without head coach Tab Ramos this weekend as it was announced on Friday he has traveled to New Jersey due to a medical emergency involving a family member.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Houston Dynamo FC – Fafa Picault

American forward Picault opened the scoring for the Dynamo in their entertaining draw with Dallas to make it four goals in his side’s last five matches. Indeed, the only team Picault has not scored against this month is next opponents Minnesota, failing to register a single shot in that most recent encounter between the sides.

Minnesota United FC – Adrien Hunou

The Loons are without Emanuel Reynoso, Franco Fragapane and leading scorer Robin Lod for this match, so there will be extra weight on Adrien Hunou’s shoulders. The former Rennes striker has failed to score in any of his last nine appearances and has assisted just one goal during that run, which he would love to put right against Houston.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– The home team has never lost a meeting between Houston and Minnesota United, with the Dynamo recording four wins and two draws against the Loons at BBVA Compass Stadium. Minnesota did manage a 2-2 draw on their last visit in September 2020.

– Houston’s club-record winless run extended to 14 games after a 2-2 draw with FC Dallas on Saturday (D8 L6). It is the longest winless run in MLS in over four years since the Union went 16 straight without a win (including playoffs) from September 2016 to April 2017.

– Minnesota have won just one of theirnine away matches this season (D5 L3), though they have drawn five of the last seven on the road. The Loons’ last three away matches have ended in draws, but they have never gone four in a row on the road without defeat in club history.

– Picault has scored in each of the Dynamo’s last three matches. The last Dynamo player to score in four straight matches was Alberth Elis in March-April 2019.

– United failed to score in their draw with Sporting Kansas City last week. The Loons last went consecutive MLS matches without a goal in August 2018 against Dallas and Kansas City.

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