Minnesota United have been affected by the Gold Cup, Taylor, Calvo and J. Venegas are all absent for this match because of the tournament. A 3 man defence was used in the last match, with Greenspan supported by the pace of Thiesson and Davis. Ibson and Cronin have formed a solid midfield partnership, getting through lots of work. Molino could be pushed further forward to partner Ramirez in the attack. Minnesota United have 4 home league games in a row, this presents a chance to climb off the bottom of the Western Conference. The hosts have started to build momentum when playing at home, unbeaten in their last 3 matches at TCF Bank Stadium. The hosts will be confident of getting all 3 points as they face an opponent who are yet to win on the road, a win would be a big psychological boost. Coach Heath has used a 4-2-3-1 formation for the majority of the season, however recently he has switched shape to a 3 man defence. The hosts will be wary of the threat posed by their opponents on the counter attack, without the ball Minnesota will drop deep and reduce the space available in behind. The longer the game remains level the less likely Minnesota will take risks in search of a winner.
Houston Dynamo remain without Elis, Quioto and Boniek Garcia, whilst Torres has received a late call up by his country for a Gold Cup quarter final. Coach Cabrera has rotated his goalkeepers this season but has preferred stability in defence with Machado and Leonardo dominant centre backs. Manotas will start in his preferred role as striker, with pace out wide to provide service. Houston Dynamo have surprised many this season, currently sitting 3rd in the Western Conference and surpassing expectations. Despite this high position, Houston are still yet to win a game on the road this season, with a significant contrast in displays away compared to at home. 3 of their next 4 games are away from home against struggling sides, so it’s a big opportunity to find away wins. 4-3-3 is a system that suits the players at coach Cabrera’s disposal. Houston have great pace on both wings, capable of making runs beyond the striker and into the area. The first goal in this match will be psychologically important as if Houston fall behind the players will lack the confidence to come from behind. Scoring first, however, would give Houston lots of motivation to protect the result.
Verdict & Predictions
Minnesota United are currently experiencing a poor run of form which has frustrated the players and coach Heath. Just 2 wins in their last 9 league games has halted the momentum that the new franchise were starting to build. This sequence of results has affected the confidence within the group. A crucial run of fixtures awaits for the hosts, as the next 4 league games are all at home which gives Minnesota a chance to build some momentum. Unbeaten in their last 3 home league games, the supporters have been getting behind the new franchise as the season has progressed. Minnesota will be targeting all 3 points despite sitting bottom of the Western Conference. Their opponents have struggled on the road all season, which gives the hosts some comfort. A win for the hosts could see them move off the foot of the table, which would be a big boost psychologically.
Prediction: Minnesota +0.25 Asian Handicap
Odds: 1.90 SBOBET, 1.88 Pinnacle