The Houston Dynamo will return to league action after a week off from the regular season. That break provided some relief as the Dynamo had several players called up to their respective national teams. More relief will come from many of those players returning from their national team camps, though Giles Barnes and Jermaine Taylor will remain with the Jamaican National Team and Brad Davis and Oscar Boniek Garcia sustained injuries with their national teams.
The last regular season match for the Dynamo came against the New York Red Bulls which saw the Dynamo come from behind to win 4-2 thanks to brilliant efforts by Will Bruin and Oscar Boniek Garcia. Ricardo Clark found his way on the score sheet as well, but only after a goal of his was called back for some "phantom" foul that doesn't really appear on replay. Still the result is what matters and the Dynamo hope to ride this league win into Portland on Saturday.
Last Week's Starting XI
The big questions surrounding the Portland game are who will be the players to fill in for our missing players. Currently the Dynamo will be short Jermaine Taylor (CB), Giles Barnes (FW), Brad Davis (LM), and Oscar Boniek Garcia (RM). That leaves plenty of opportunity for some newer faces to see the pitch. Wednesday night's 2-0 win over Open Cup opponent the Austin Aztex may have opened the door to some players to get their chance to play. Leonel Miranda played extremely well down the right hand side of the field and earned his first goal for the Dynamo while the Brazilian Alex, whom we traded Jason Johnson for, provided a skillful role centrally. Mauro Manotas also made his Dynamo debut and provided a superb assist to Ricardo Clark to put the game away late.
These great performances provide plenty of options for Coyle to utilize. Taking a look at the defensive section with the vacancy caused by Jermaine Taylor, Coyle could keep Raúl Rodríguez at RB and swap A.J. Cochran in, or he could move RR back to CB and put Kofi Sarkodie back in at RB (which is the more likely of the options in my opinion). The midfield and forward spots are more wide open and who Coyle chooses to throw in depends on the formation that he trots out against Portland. I think Leonel Miranda will likely get the start at RM due to his outstanding Open Cup match and Alex Lopez will hold down LM. However, I wouldn't be too surprised to see Lopez on the other side with Rob Lovejoy in at LM. Centrally, Coyle could either use another CM (such as Alex) or play a forward next to Bruin like Chandler Hoffman. I think Alex gets the start because he showed well Wednesday night and the formation is safer, but I hope Hoffman finally gets to see more playing time.
There are a lot of different options for Coyle and you to choose from, so who do you have coming in for your injured and those serving with their national teams? Let us know and be sure to brag about your lineup in the comments below!