Houston Dynamo FC advance to the U.S. Open quarterfinals


   Photo credit: Houston Dynamo FC

HOUSTON (Tuesday, May 23, 2023) – Houston Dynamo FC defeated Minnesota United FC 4-0 at Shell Energy Stadium tonight to advance to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup for the first time since winning the title in 2018 and seventh time overall.


Tonight’s victory is Houston’s largest margin of victory over an MLS opponent in the U.S. Open Cup and snapped a five-game losing streak versus Minnesota. The Dynamo’s previous 4-0 home victory came on July 3, 2019, in league play versus the New York Red Bulls.


Dynamo FW Corey Baird netted three goals on the night to record the first hat trick of his career and his first three goals of the year. The first goal came in the 32nd minute from the penalty spot after Loons defender Bongokuhle Hlongwane was called for a handball inside the box. Baird converted the ensuing penalty kick for the first of three goals this evening.


Houston doubled their lead in the 68th minute after forward Amine Bassi found Baird near the penalty area. Baird chipped the ball over goalkeeper Clint Irwin for his second goal of the game.


Houston netted their third goal of the match in the 79th minute when Baird found a wide open Aliyu Ibrahim in the middle of the pitch. The Nigerian striker controlled the ball at the top of the box and slotted a low shot past Irwin to find the bottom right corner, scoring is first goal for the Dynamo. Baird also tallied his second assist of the tournament and fourth across all competitions.


Baird completed his hat trick in the 89th minute after Ibrahim found his fellow forward at the penalty spot. The 27-year-old slotted the ball into the bottom left corner of the net for the final goal of the match.


Dynamo midfielder Brooklyn Raines controlled a clearance at the top of the box to generate Houston’s first shot of the game in the sixth minute. The Homegrown midfielder just missed the top corner of the near post with his half volley.


Dynamo goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell was called into action in the 25th minute to deny Hlongwane just outside the six-yard box. This is the third start for the shot stopper in the tournament, and he finished with three saves against the Loons. This is also the third clean sheet for Tarbell in the competition this year. Overall, the Dynamo have been one of the best defensive teams at home this year and have conceded once in 778 minutes of competitive play at Shell Energy Stadium.


Minutes before Houston was awarded a penalty, expansive build-up play led to Bassi threading a pass to forward Nelson Quiñónes in the middle of the penalty box, whose shot was denied by a strong save just outside of the six-yard box.


Minnesota went down to 10 players in the 38th minute after Kervin Arriaga earned his second yellow card, this time for a foul on Dynamo forward Thor Úlfarsson.


Midfielder Héctor Herrera entered the game for Raines in the 62nd minute and recorded his first shot in the 66th minute after Quiñónes passed it back to the Mexican international from a short corner. Herrera curled a powerful attempt just around the outside of the far post.


Tarbell made another save in the 67th minute when he denied Cameron Dunbar at the near post. The veteran goalkeeper is one of 16 new players to join the team for the 2023 campaign. Tarbell is also one of nine players to join the club this offseason who has won a senior professional or collegiate championship.


In the 83rd minute, Baird made a solo run into the box blowing past Michael Boxall and forcing a last-minute swiping save from Irwin to the left side. The forward ended the night with five shots.


Houston earned their sixth victory of the year at Shell Energy Stadium and have now recorded eight clean sheets across all competitions.


Houston will advance to face the winner of tomorrow night’s match between Austin FC and Chicago Fire FC in the quarterfinals on June 6 or 7. The winner of the Austin and Chicago match will host the quarterfinal match. Additionally, the winner of the Central Region will face the winner of the West Region in the semifinals.

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