Last week the Houston Dynamo managed to defeat the San Jose Earthquakes 2-0 at Avaya Stadium last week while missing 4 of their regular starting players to international duty. Even though the Quakes were shorthanded as well, winning on the road against conference opponents is key if the club wants to remain competitive.
Owen Coyle utilized a somewhat unusual lineup with regular starters Giles Barnes, Jermaine Taylor, Oscar Boniek Garcia, and Luis Garrido out. Brad Davis was moved centrally into Barnes's usual withdrawn striker role with Alex Lopez taking the LM position, Alex Lima at RM, and Nathan Sturgis in Garrido's central midfield role. In the back, Kofi Sarkodie made his return to the starting group at RB and Raúl Rodríguez moved to take Taylor's position to partner with David Horst in central defense. The team quickly managed to win possession battles for stretches of time and created dangerous opportunities.
Coyle's Starting XI against the San Jose Earthquakes
This week the Dynamo will once again be without many of their starters. With Jamaica advancing to the knockout stage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, Dynamo forward Giles Barnes will once again be missing league play while Jermaine Taylor suffered an injury in Jamaica's final group stage match against El Salvador and could miss significant time. Additionally, USMNT Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called left back DaMarcus Beasley into the United States camp for the remainder of the tournament. With Corey Ashe on the move to Orlando City SC, the team has some lineup concerns to address. However, there are some reinforcements as Honduras crashed out early of the Gold Cup which makes Luis Garrido available for selection. The other Honduran international, Boniek Garcia, was injured with the Honduran team and is listed as out on the injury report. Erick Torres (Cubo) has also finally made his arrival in Houston, but I wouldn't expect him to start without additional training and conditioning testing first.
The good news: Real Salt Lake will also be missing several integral players in Nick Rimando, Kyle Beckerman, Jamison Olave, and Sebastian Jaime which means the Dynamo have a chance to steal another one on the road against a conference opponent.
The Dynamo will likely employ a similar strategy as they did against San Jose with Davis underneath Will Bruin, but with Garrido once again partnering with Ricardo Clark in central midfield. The big hole is left by DaMarcus Beasley and replacement Corey Ashe's departure. Raúl Rodríguez is versatile enough to play anywhere along the back and Kofi Sarkodie has played LB in the past which could open up a spot for AJ Cochran at CB if Coyle elects to move Sarkodie or Rodríguez. Another option is the rookie Taylor Hunter who often played RB in preseason but could be placed either at LB or RB.
My Starting XI Prediction
Of course, Coyle could opt to test another formation with more strikers or players in different positions, but we want to know who you'd put up against Real Salt Lake. With many different and possible lineups, who starts for you? Let us know and be sure to comment to tell us how the Dynamo should lineup.