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Preview: Houston Dynamo vs. Minnesota United

Preview: Houston Dynamo vs. Minnesota United

Sports Mole previews Thursday’s Major League Soccer clash between Houston Dynamo and Minnesota United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Houston Dynamo will be aiming to move inside the automatic play-off positions with a positive result against Minnesota United on Thursday.

The visitors, meanwhile, head into the encounter four points behind their forthcoming opponents with a game in hand on them.

Match preview

Houston Dynamo FC head coach Ben Olsen reacts during the first half on June 21, 2023© Reuters

Having failed to qualify for the play-offs in each of the past five seasons, Houston’s aims for the current campaign are clear: grab a top seven position in the Western Conference and be involved at the business end of the campaign.

They have turned to former DC United boss Ben Olsen to help them achieve those aspirations, with the 46-year-old bringing a wealth of experience with him after winning the US Open Cup in 2013, which contributed to him being named MLS Coach of the Year in 2014.

Olsen has made a decent start to life in Texas following his appointment last November, boasting a 48% win rate from 25 games in charge to help Houston move within one point of the automatic play-off spots with a game in hand on the two sides directly above them.

After losing back-to-back games against Austin FC and Seattle Sounders, Dynamo appeared on course for a third successive defeat at home to Sporting Kansas City at the weekend, before Ivan Franco‘s injury-time equaliser spared their blushes while boosting confidence ahead of hosting Minnesota Utd in midweek.

Minnesota United FC head coach Adrian Heath looks on on June 24, 2023© Reuters

Minnesota Utd, on the other hand, appear to be at risk of missing out on reaching the play-offs for the first time since 2018, although they have plenty of time to turn things around.

Gaining just one victory from their last seven games has left Adrian Heath‘s side with plenty of work to do, though, especially having been thrashed 4-1 by Austin on their home pitch on Sunday.

The visitors struck three times either side of the break, with Devin Padelford and Emiliano Rigoni exchanging blows during the closing stages once the result had already been all but determined.

Heath, who has been in charge of the club since they joined the MLS as an expansion team in 2017, will be determined to continue his excellent streak in terms of helping them through to the business end of the season, starting with returning to winning ways in Houston this week.

Houston Dynamo Major League Soccer form:

Minnesota United Major League Soccer form:

Minnesota United FC forward Jeong Sang-Bin (left) celebrates on June 24, 2023© Reuters

Houston will remain without Teenage Hadebe, Tate Schmitt and Ifunanyachi Achara due to long-term injuries.

Franco and former Liverpool full-back Brad Smith could be selected from the start after both made positive impacts from the bench against Seattle last time out.

Minnesota Utd, meanwhile, have a whole host of injury problems at present, with Emmanuel Iwe, Sang-bin Jeong, Franco Fragapane, Mikael Marques, Kemar Lawrence, Robin Lod and Ryen Jiba all expected to miss out on the trip in midweek.

As such, Heath is unable to change his team as much as he may like after they were soundly beaten by Austin at the weekend, but former Norwich City forward Teemu Pukki should start after only being used from the bench during that defeat.

Houston Dynamo possible starting lineup:
Clark; Escobar, Sviatchenko, Bartlow, Smith; Baird, Artur, Herrera, Franco; Bassi, Ferreira

Minnesota United possible starting lineup:
Irwin; Taylor, Dibassy, Tapias, Valentin; Dotson, Trapp; Hlongwane, Reynoso, Rosales; Pukki

SM words green background

We say: Houston Dynamo 3-1 Minnesota United

Neither side will head into this match in the greatest of form, but Houston appear to have a little more about them at present, and their general mood should be improved after salvaging a draw in the dying stages of their last match.

Minnesota Utd, on the other hand, were thrashed by Austin last time out, and their season may be heading into a state of decline. We can envisage the hosts picking up a crucial victory.

How to watch

You can watch Houston Dynamo vs. Minnesota United and every MLS match this season live on Apple TV. Click here for more details on how to subscribe.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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