Rookie Hassani Dotson has earned his first MLS start for Minnesota United on Saturday night at Allianz Field. He will be at left fullback in a 4-2-3-1 formation against the Houston Dynamo.
The Loons’ second-round SuperDraft pick out of Oregon State played a full 90-minute shift against Hertha Berlin of the German Bundesliga in an international friendly on Wednesday. Dotson’s first extended action impressed coach Adrian Heath into giving a bigger role.
With Minnesota plugging in Dotson, who has played 15 minutes in four substitute appearances in MLS action this season, it allows the club to return makeshift fullback Miguel Ibarra to his more-natural winger role.
Ibarra will start on the left wing, while Kevin Molino is out with a left hamstring injury suffered in the friendly. Dotson and Ibarra are the only changes to Minnesota’s starting XI since their 1-0 win over Columbus last Saturday.
While top center back Ike Opara is back from a knee injury, Heath will stick with center back pairing of Michael Boxall and Brent Kallman after they helped produce the 1-0 shutout win over Columbus.
ALONSO APPRECIATES MARSHALL
Loons captain Ozzie Alonso showed his appreciation to former Seattle teammate Chad Marshall, who retired this week after 16 seasons in MLS.
“He is one of the best center backs in MLS history,” Alonso said Friday. “I got to play with him for many years, great player, great person, very sad he had to walk away. But that’s life.”
Marshall, the only three-time MLS defender of the year, was known for his ability to keep things light in the dressing room. One of his go-to bits included nudity, but Alonso didn’t reveal details.
“He’s a funny guy, always joking, always having fun with teammates,” Alonso said, smiling. “I got stories from him.”
Houston will play without dynamic attacker Alberth Elis, who is sidelined with concussion symptoms suffered in last weekend’s game against D.C. United. The 2018 MLS all-star has four goals this season, which is third-most on the Dynamo.