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 Minnesota United FC

Minnesota United Falls to Houston Dynamo FC

April 13, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Minnesota United FC News Release

SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota United snaps its nine-game unbeaten streak against Houston Dynamo FC after falling to the Texas side, 1-2, at Allianz Field. Midfielder Franco Fragapane scored his first goal of the season in the 70th minute, assisted by Robin Lod.

17' - Minnesota had their first dangerous shot on goal in the attacking third after Teemu Pukki gained possession off a bad touch from Houston Dynamo FC midfielder Coco Carrasquilla. Pukki had his back to the goal when he slipped the ball to Lod who was on the right side. Lod fired a shot outside the 18-yard-box that went over the goal giving Houston a goal kick.

33' - Minnesota nearly scored after pressing high on Houston's goal kick. Wil Trapp on top of the 18 put pressure on Houston's midfielder Artur. Artur, facing his own goal, played it back to Dynamo goalkeeper Steve Clark. Trapp one-touched the ball to goal before Clark could gain possession but Ethan Bartlow cleared it off the line before the ball crossed into goal.

38' - Houston found the back of the net after serving the ball in from a corner kick where Micael dos Santos dived for the header. Santos' header deflected off MNUFC midfielder Alejandro Bran for an own goal.

47' - Pukki had a close shot on goal after Bongokuhle Hlongwane gained possession from a long ball over the top. Bongi carried the ball up the pitch, where Pukki cut in front of Bongi allowing the defender to be drawn out. Pukki open on the left flank connected with a pass from Bongi for a shot on goal that was saved by Clark.

48' - Bran cleared a dangerous shot from Houston Dynamo in the Loon's defending third. Bran behind Minnesota's back line cleared the shot from a header, clearing it up the pitch.

53' - Minnesota had a couple opportunities to score while in the box after Lod slotted the ball into Pukki. The ball bounced between Minnesota players before Sang Bin found a shot that missed just wide of the far post.

60' - Minnesota had two consecutive goal-scoring opportunities after defender Devin Padelford crossed the ball into the box. Sang Bin took one-touch and fired off a shot that hit the right goal post deflecting back towards the 18-yard-box. Defender Michael Boxall kept possession off the deflection for another shot that went wide.

70' - Minnesota found the back of the net after a five-pass sequence up the right flank and a one-two combination between Trapp and Lod. Lod ran onto the last pass of the sequence for a cross into the box where he placed the ball right on the penalty spot where midfielder Franco Fragapane one-touched it into goal.

76' - Houston took the lead after Minnesota turned the ball over at half where midfielder Sebastian Kowalczyk took space up the pitch and fired a shot off with his right foot where he found the back of the net.

80' - Minnesota had another close chance to score after defender DJ Taylor crossed the ball into the box where Tani Oluwaseyi connected with a header but Clark touched it off the crossbar and cleared it out.

90' + 10' - Just seconds before the match ended, Minnesota nearly scored off a throw in by Padelford. His long throw in bounced off defender Hugo Bacharach back into the air when Jordan Adebayo-Smith went in for the header and found the left side but Steve Clark batted it away. Clark cleared it right to Fragapane outside the six-yard box where he took a shot but Griffin Dorsey cleared it out.


0-1 HOU - Alejandro Bran (own goal) - 38'

1-1 MIN - Franco Fragapane (Robin Lod) - 70'

1-2 HOU - Sebastian Kowalczyk (Amine Bassi) - 77'


HOU - Coco Carrasquilla (caution), 22'

HOU - Micael dos Santos (caution), 40'

MIN - Michael Boxall (caution), 55'

HOU - Sebastian Kowalczyk (caution), 74'

HOU - Daniel Steres (caution), 88'


400 - Veteran center back Michael Boxall tonight made his 400th game appearance across professional club and senior team international appearances. In MLS action (regular season and MLS Cup Playoffs) the New Zealander has made 212 game appearances (211 starts) since 2011.

3 - Robin Lod recorded his third assist of the season and his second assist in back-to-back games.

1 - Franco Fragapane scored his first goal of the season and 14th goal overall in 78 regular season appearances.

1 - Defender Hugo Bacharach made his Major League Soccer debut as a starter, playing the full 90 minutes.




Minnesota United XI: GK Dayne St. Clair; D Devin Padelford, Michael Boxall ©, Hugo Bacharach; M Robin Lod, Wil Trapp, Alejandro Bran, DJ Taylor; F Sang Bin Jeong, Bongokuhle Hlongwane, Teemu Pukki

Bench: GK Clint Irwin; D Victor Eriksson; M Franco Fragapane, Tani Oluwaseyi, Kervin Arriaga, Caden Clark, Moses Nyeman; F Jordan Adebayo-Smith

Houston Dynamo FC XI: GK Steve Clark ©, D Ethan Bartlow, Daniel Steres, Griffin Dorsey, Erik Sviatchenko; M Artur, Latif Blessing, Coco Carrasquilla, Sebastian Kowalczyk; F Amine Bassi, Ibrahim Aliyu

Bench: GK Andrew Tarbell; D Brad Smith, Tate Schmitt, Kieran Sargeant, Micael dos Santos, M Jan Gregus, Ousamne Sylla, Brooklyn Raines; F Gabe Segal



Bank of America Stadium | Charlotte, North Carolina

04.21.2024 | MLS 2024 Regular Season | Matchday 10

5:00 p.m. CT (MLS Season Pass/1500 ESPN)



On not obtaining the three points...

"We didn't start the game well, it was the same story as I would've summed up last week, where we genuinely look almost like two different teams, first half and second half. And in general some of the elements of the performance that we were really looking for in terms of disrupting them as a possession based team, making sure that they didn't get into their rhythm. We certainly achieved that, but in the first half, we weren't good enough on the ball, weren't clean enough on the ball; didn't use the ball well enough when we won it. And then in the second half, I must say second half, we had a really good go. If we must review the game objectively as we were all doing of course it's not the most important thing, the second half reflects a team that was very dominant, [we] had all the chances to win the game that it, that it really needs. Unfortunately we weren't able to do so again, I'm sure when I wake up tomorrow and we watch it back and, and we get some objectivity around it, you'll see it's a nice step in the right direction because we're dominating teams at home and we're looking like a team that's a real threat. We're looking like we've got a good depth, but we haven't got any points today. So it's disappointing."

On the changes at half time...

"I don't think there's anything concrete that I'd speak about here, but the team looks freer. It's sometimes easier to play a goal down than it is to play level when everything's a touch more cagey. We're a team that plays really well with good energy and we need to make sure that we find the instances in our play to make sure that we are giving a crowd the energy and we're giving ourselves some energy. And in the first half where we're not playing forward as we should do, we're not breaking the line well enough and we're wasteful with the ball around the top of the box, we're costing ourselves the ability to really take the energy of the performance up a notch. And in the second half, you almost can't fail for that to be the case. And in some senses, I'd much rather be standing here with three points, but in some senses, I'd rather come off the back of a performance where we dominate, we look like the team that we want to be. I'm glad that we saw that in the second half for a long period. It wasn't just in a flash. So there is a nice step there somewhere and we got to make sure that the fact that we haven't picked up three points here doesn't, doesn't rock us too much. And we do, look at it as objectively as we can and we do use it as a platform to build on because as you've seen, there's some really good stuff there."

On the last equalizer opportunities...

"They were good quality chances. They came as a consequence of us really penning the opposition in and giving them no space to breathe. And we created more than enough to win the game very comfortably today. But we've, number one got to be very disappointed with the goals we can see because their goals that they score out of very little possession and very little threat. So that's certainly our doing now and we had control of the game. The performance was good enough to win the game and we haven't won the game. So that's ultimately very disappointing."

On if he wishes MLS had goal line technology...

"I mean if they were over the line it would have been great, if we could have something automatic to tell us that. I'm not actually sure, I haven't seen the sort of necessary angle but you sort of trust the officials have and they've done their job. I sort of reserve comment on that because I haven't seen it as properly as I should really."

On assessing Hugo Bacharach's debut...

"He [Hugo Bacharach] did really, really well. I was really hoping that at the end of the game we'd be able to look at the squad as a squad with more depth as a consequence of Hugo playing his first game and playing well. He did, there were some minor moments of course as probably with everyone's performance, where you [would] look at and think perhaps he would make a different decision or uses the ball in a different way but largely for an MLS debut it was really impressive and I'm pleased to be able to work with him."

On having the team do what you wanted them to do defensively...

"As I said prior to the game, these guys [Houston Dynamo FC] are a team that is used to having a lot of the ball. They're very purposeful with how they use the ball, I don't think you saw that today. We were able to disrupt what their intentions were, I'm sure the numbers will suggest that they posed in general play to be a threat. We've got to make sure in the moments that we cost ourselves, set plays and counter-attacks that we are far better in those moments. If you're going to be a team that's dominant at home that has 60 percent of the ball, attacks [are going to be] on top of the opposition's box. Ultimately, [those are] the ways the oppositions are going to hurt you so we've got to make sure we're much more solid in those moments."

On assessing set pieces and corners...

"Obviously it's been a little bit of an Achilles heel in two of the last three games which is almost the inevitability when you have a performance that is one sided, you are going to concede set plays or counter attacks typically. Unfortunately, we conceded one of each today. We need to make sure we get better in both those phases."

On subbing in Caden Clark...

"It was more the stage of the game in that it was us largely very dominant and camped on the top of their 18-yard box. So it wasn't going to be a game where Caden [Clark] was going to have to play as an orthodox fullback and defend 50% of the time and attack 50% of the time, he was going to attack and be on the last line and he was going to be combining on that side with Jordan [Adebayo-Smith] at that point. So it was more to do with the stage of the game."

On what brought on the halftime change of Alejandro Bran to Hassani Dotson...

"In some senses it was a bit of a roll of the dice to try and make us a touch more progressive and a bit cleaner in the middle. No real reflection or anything damning on Alejandro [Bran] and the sort of the reverse of last week, when Alejandro came on last week and the game swings a little bit and he was able to play forward a little bit more and it was the same tonight with Hassani [Dotson]. Nothing that I will dwell on in this case and it's his first start so you make some allowances there. A good player and a really good guy to work with."


On the slow start to the previous two games...

"It's a mentality shift. The urgency, in some ways the instinctual play of the second half, is where we need to just start games with [that urgency]. It can't be when we get scored on then we play a little looser, we play a little bit more riskier that those performances come out. I think that if we do that for 90 minutes it's going to take us out a lot. From the beginning, it's turning teams around, it's pressing them, it's winning the balls high up on the field and not worrying about trying to overplay to start the game. This is a team, obviously [Houston Dynamo FC] wanted the ball, but you saw in the second half we were suffocating. So, that is an element we're going to have to work on."

On the message at halftime...

"Play loose, go for it. Obviously we need to be tidier on the ball. You saw that the aggressiveness, the desire from every guy on the field to press the ball and play forward was there, and that's why it was a completely different game in the second half."

On his thoughts on his shot at goal...

"It's one where Steve [Clark] makes a good little play on it and then [Ethan] Bartlow comes through and saves it off the line. For me, it's just finishing the play, run all the way through instead of thinking it's going to cross the line. It's a great recovery play from them, but Teemu [Pukki] did a good job pressing. And that's something we've talked about is running through when the ball gets passed backwards. It's a good play from them but think about all the saves either Steve made or Ethan made off the line. It's credit to them, sometimes those games go the other way, it could be two to three or four goals for us. These are moments we'd like to have back but you also have to commend good play."

On if his shot went across the line...

"It was close. It's hard, without goal line technology, you're working off cameras. For me, you just go with whatever they [referees] decide but I don't think it went all the way over."

On playing in space for Robin Lod's goal...

"It's the idea of risking and playing forward. Dynamism in our attack is where we start to create chances, and that's one where I'm coming across and Robin [Lod]makes a good run behind. Ultimately it's rewarding guys who make those vertical runs. He makes a great lay off to Fraga [Franco Fragapane] and a good goal. Those are moments where you see/hear multiple moments of good play but we need to make that the 90 minutes not just 55 minutes in the second half."

On Hugo Bacharach's MLS debut...

"I thought he did a really good job. It's not easy to come in a short notice, and make your debut against a team that really values the ball that's going to challenge your positioning. And for a first game, he [Hugo] should be proud of it all."

On if there was any change with the starting lineup switch of Alejandro Bran for Hassani Dotson...

"I'm comfortable with both of them, so I don't notice a ton of change. In the Real Salt Lake game, Hassani [Dotson] was feeling it a little bit in his hamstring, so that was probably more of that decision. [Alejandro] Bran came on and did a great job. So, it's load management, it's a little bit of understanding the hot hand in that case. And I thought Hassani, when he came on in this game, was equally as great in helping us push the ball forward, pressing and creating chances."

On what might have been lacking following the second Houston Dynamo goal...

"These are moments where we've got to be tuned-in and aggressive to it and to fight. When you get scored on in set pieces, I don't want to say it's always effort plays, but in many capacities it is. It's making sure your guy - even if it goes past you - you're with your guy. Those are moments of concentration and grit. That's something where we're not happy with it. So, we've got to look back at that and understand these are moments when you can win a game or you can lose a game."


On his MLS debut...

"Disappointed with the result, but it's a dream come true, it's something that I have been working on and finally I'm very happy to have made my official debut with Minnesota [United FC]. Obviously disappointed with the result, but I really like how the team performed and if we keep playing like this the results are going to come."

On what Eric Ramsay showed him to help with his confidence...

"He [Eric Ramsay] has confidence in me, and he thought I could do a good job based on the game plan that we wanted to do against Houston [Dynamo FC] having a high [defensive] line. The team did very good, we just couldn't find the goal that would have given us the lead and it would have been much better."

On his nerves coming into the game...

"Of course, like every debut, I had some nerves at first, but my teammates did a great job of trying to help me and tell me that I was good enough to be where I was. That really calmed me down a lot within, say the first three to five minutes, I started to feel a lot more comfortable."

On his aggressiveness and his willingness to step out and make challenges...

"The identity of this team is being very aggressive and an aggressive team, so I had to step out like that and be aggressive when I had the chance and you know sometimes the game asks you for it, and you know I have to go as aggressive as I can."

On any support from veteran defender Michael Boxall...

"He was like a leader to me. He behaved like a big brother. He's been in my shoes. Everybody, not only him, but everybody has been very supportive of me, especially him as my partner at the other center back. But he really told me what to do, gave me some tips and it really helped me a lot"

On the counter attack goal...

"We lost the ball in the middle. We weren't expecting it and we were a bit disorganized and the striker did a great job and, you know, had a great finish. Can try my best to block it, but it was a great goal and that's pretty much what happened."

On any surprises on his debut...

"To be honest, the thing that surprised me the most was the environment at Allianz Field. I had never felt something like that. Especially in the second half you could see how we felt that support from all the fans and we were playing kind of like in their goal and we were also only missing that winning goal. But it was a great environment and that's definitely going to help us in the future."

On receiving any words of advice from any veterans...

"During the whole week everybody has approached me and told me to be calm, it's just a soccer game. I've been playing soccer for all my life. So it's just that they told me how to take it like a normal game and that's what I tried to do. But my teammates play a huge part during the week to try to make it super easy for me."

On his family back home watching his debut...

"Oh, well now it's kind of like 4:00 a.m. in Spain, I'm sure my family has stayed up just because it was a unique opportunity for me to watch my debut. But yeah, and if not, I'm sure they're going to rewatch it [the game] as soon as they can. My family is always supporting me. It doesn't matter what time it is."

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