The Houston Dynamo failed to extend their winning streak after last week's 2-0 home loss to Eastern Conference powerhouse New York City FC thanks to a brace by David Villa. The offense that looked so good the week prior in large part to a hat-trick by Mauro Manotas struggled to get any shots on target despite 11 total shots. Most of those errant shots, some of which were quite open, went high over the top of the cross bar. The Dynamo will have to muster up much more on that end of the field if they hope to beat USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard and the Colorado Rapids.
While a 2-0 loss isn't the end of the world, the Dynamo would like to avoid finishing "worst in the conference" so every point means that much more. Dynamo interim manager Wade Barrett is coming off of one of his best stretches since he's taken the helm and seemed to finally found out how to incorporate more offense into his tactics while utilizing a largely defensive scheme - something that previously hindered the offense to a significant degree. Mauro Manotas seems to be key in that regard and should be a lock to start again even though he's coming off a poor game against NYCFC. Many have wanted a 2 forward system, myself included, but it appears Barrett is unwilling to go that route due to the shortage of forwards at his disposal which means the midfield and defensive areas are where we could see change against the Rapids.
The 4-2-3-1 seems to be more offensive oriented in Barrett's system over his other formation the 4-1-4-1 and I think after not seeing any shots on target he will want to see the offense more involved. That likely means a defensive midfield comprised of Collen Warner, the go-to CDM, and either Alex Lima or Ricardo Clark. Higher up in the midfield we could see a combination of Alex/Clark, Cristian Maidana, Boniek Garcia, or Andrew Wenger. In the previous few fixtures, Chaco Maidana has been the man off the bench which could be the case again.
Defensively is another issue, but I think Barrett is relatively content with his backs. DaMarcus Beasley should be the starting LB with Raul Rodriguez and Jalil Anibaba in central defense, and Sheanon Williams at RB. There's always the chance David Horst gets the call due to his usefulness as a set piece target in which case I'd expect Williams to be out of the lineup and Anibaba pushed to RB.
My Projected Starting Lineup
I don't expect much deviation from what's been working the last few weeks despite the setback against NYCFC. The team did get shots, but they just weren't on target. I think Barrett might make some tactical changes with movements and how the team pressures, but not in the overall formation. However, Barrett has plenty of options to turn to with everyone but Agus and Tyler Deric being available for selection.
There are plenty of options to choose from so who do you want to see start against the Colorado Rapids? Let us know below and share your starting squad in the comments below!