Teemu Pukki scored his first MLS goal in his first Minnesota United start Wednesday.

Surely, that alone was enough to send Loons fans into a frenzy on social media. How it happened, though, might even have brought chills to those eager to see one of the biggest signings in franchise history pay dividends on the pitch.

Emanuel Reynoso, calm and collected, took a quick touch, turned and delivered a through ball so well-placed that Pukki needed just one dribble in stride to strike.

The Pukki party had begun in Houston.

"Good players like playing with good players," Adrian Heath said. "I know that once Rey starts to know that this guy is going to be on the move, making them runs in behind defenders or putting straight runs off the balls — it didn't surprise me. [Pukki's] made a career of this and now he's playing with somebody who's arguably as good as anybody with the final ball."

It put the Loons up by two, a lead they furthered for a 3-0 road win over Houston Dynamo with Dayne St. Clair back in net following a strong performance with the Canadian national team. Defender Michael Boxall was also back in the lineup after his card-accumulation suspension.

St. Clair notched six saves in his sixth clean sheet of the season to help the Loons (7-8-6) jump two spots to ninth place in the Western Conference standings.

The top eight teams make the MLS Cup Playoffs.

"I mean, I would be lying if I said my body felt 100% going into this game, but to be able to get those games and to have such a good performance in my last game as well with [the] national team was definitely a confidence booster," St. Clair said.

As Heath forecasted before the game, Pukki exited early after 60 minutes on a sweltering night. What he didn't expect was that Reynoso, too, would join him. After being down for an extended period of time, Reynoso walked off the field in frustration as he winced while favoring his left leg.

"He wants to play, never tells you he's injured," Heath said. "The doctor said he felt a little twinge in his hamstring so we were always going to err on the side of caution, especially as the game wore on and he was going to get tired."

The Loons already had the match well in hand — and even more so after newly signed midfielder Ismael Tajouri-Shradi added his first goal for the club in the 87th minute. He trailed Mender García and Bongokuhle Hlongwane on an advantageous fast-break, before cleaning up Hlongwane's saved attempt.

Hlongwane added to his team-high total with a goal to open the scoring in the 15th minute, which neutralized Houston's dominant possession time.

By match's end, the Dynamo boasted a controlling 72.7% in the category but without much else to show for it. They were shut out in spite of their 24 shots, six of which were on target. In comparison, four of the Loons' eight shots were on goal.

"We defended as a team really well today, of course," St. Clair said.

"We didn't beat ourselves. We didn't really give them any opportunities from our giveaways or things like that, that have kind of hurt us in the past."

The Star Tribune did not send the writer of this article to the game. This was written using a broadcast, interviews and other material.