The Houston Dynamo are looking to bounce back after a listless 1-1 draw against the Chicago Fire which ended a 2 game losing streak for the club. Substitute Alex Lima scored the opening goal for the Dynamo as he entered early into the 2nd half for the other Alex, Alex Lopez. Friday they'll take on the San Jose Earthquakes who bested the Dynamo 1-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium in former head coach Dominic Kinnear's homecoming.
Coyle's Starting XI against the Chicago Fire
This week, the Dynamo will be without 4 of the regular starters. Jermaine Taylor and Giles Barnes will be with the Jamaican National team while Oscar Boniek Garcia and Luis Garrido will be with the Honduran National team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Garrido was initially snubbed from his team but was called up as a late injury replacement for the squad. Another player likely missing out is the injured Rob Lovejoy who hurt his hamstring in his start against FC Dallas.
With 4 regular players missing, a lot of doors open to both players and manager alike. Owen Coyle could utilize a new, more attacking centric formation, or play conservatively until his players return. Jermaine Taylor's absence should be the easiest hole to plug with only 2 realistic possibilities: Insert AJ Cochran into the starting lineup or shift Raúl Rodríguez to CB and put Kofi Sarkodie in at RB.
The other positions are a bit trickier and depend on the formation that Coyle employs. Looking at the spot voided by Garrido, Coyle could put in Nathan Sturgis - or a like for like change since they're both central defensive midfielders, or he could put in Alex Lima or Alex Lopez if he wanted a lineup with more attacking potential. Alex Lopez has been the first choice replacement by Coyle for Brad Davis or Boniek so expect him to be at RM unless he's utilized elsewhere in which case Alex Lima or Leonel Miranda are the most likely candidates for the starting job. Up top in the withdrawn forward role that was left by Giles Barnes, Coyle could play another forward such as Chandler Hoffman or Mauro Manotas. However, if Coyle reverts to the 4-5-1 to play with caution without his usual starters, we'd likely see this position fall to another central midfielder like Alex Lima or Alex Lopez.
With so many different lineup possibilities things are about as open as they have been all season so let us know who you want to see start against the San Jose Earthquakes!