The Houston Dynamo are ready to start the 2016 campaign strong with a win over the New England Revolution in their season opener at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo last bested the Revs in their season opener in 2014 4-0 and would love a similar result.
This Houston squad has changed vastly since last's disappointing finish which saw the Dynamo miss the playoffs for a third consecutive year. The Dynamo have made key offseason acquisitions including trading for Andrew Wenger and the 2015 MLS assist runner-up Cristian Maidana and added central defensive midfielder David Rocha and center back Agus. The Dynamo depth also got better with the likes of Abdoulie Mansally and Jalil Anibaba.
However, those additions meant some players had to say their farewell including Dynamo Captain Brad Davis, Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, Luis Garrido, and Alex Lopez among others. While many of us had attachments to some of these players emotionally (some more than others obviously), this is part of the Dynamo's rebuilt identity and one Coyle can proudly call his own.
With the versatile players available to the Dynamo, Coyle has plenty of tactical formations at his disposal which creates a lot of flexibility. Dynamo Theory author Harrison Hamm wrote earlier in the preseason about potential lineups the Dynamo could utilize and while some of the personnel have departed (Rasheed Olabiyi & Kofi Sarkodie), it still highlights the vast amount of possibilities Coyle has.
My Predicted Starting XI
This formation allows for plenty of flexibility offensively and defensively depending how far up or back the wingers play. Pull them higher up and a 4-3-3 is formed and pull them back and it's a conservative 4-5-1. This provides cover with Ricardo Clark and David Rocha cleaning things up centrally and can alleviate some pressure from the defense.
That being said there are numerous possibilities. Leonel Miranda could start over Andrew Wenger and our big target acquisition last season, Erick Torres, could also feature in the lineup as a 2nd or 3rd striker in a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3. Mauro Manotas has played exceptionally well this offseason both in the forward position and at right midfield so he could see time - though it may be premature to see him get the starting nod. Defensively, Agus may not immediately get the start over David Horst.
The Revolution finished in 5th place in the Eastern Conference, but were 4 points shy of finishing 2nd and they will want to bounce back this year after being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. The real question with all these possibilities is who would YOU like to see start in the first game of the year? Let us know how you'd line up the Dynamo below and share your choices in the comments section.