Now that the Houston Dynamo have parted ways with Head Coach Owen Coyle the team finds itself in a position it has never been in before: playing a match without a head coach. Assistant Coach Wade Barrett, Sports Performance Director Paul Caffrey, and Goalkeeper Coach Paul Rogers will split management responsibilities until the front office provides an official interim manager or replacement.
The team now makes its way back to Vancouver, BC to face the Whitecaps. The Dynamo currently sit in last place in Western Conference with the 2nd worst overall record in Major League Soccer while Vancouver holds 9 points more and is in 4th place in the West. The two clubs previously battled it out earlier this year in controversial fashion as a penalty conceded by the Dynamo was the difference between the two sides.
In the Dynamo's last MLS match the club traveled to Chicago to take on the Fire, the only club with fewer points than Houston, and succumbed to an early goal as a result of poor communication in the back. Despite holding many of the statistical advantages, specifically possession, the team could not break down the Chicago defensive line to create quality shots on goal. The Chicago defense, on a team with so few points, has been one of the best in the league and the Dynamo attacking prowess was simply outmatched.
Owen Coyle utilized his familiar 4-2-3-1 with Will Bruin in as the center forward for Erick Torres who was away with the U-23 Mexican National Team. The team was largely the same lineup that Coyle had trotted out in previous occasions although an early injury to DaMarcus Beasley forced Coyle to sub on Jalil Anibaba at left back. The lineup that had looked and pressed so well against Real Salt Lake a week prior rarely pressured defenders with the ball and stranded forwards up the field by not supporting them. Instead of pressuring and capitalizing on mistakes, Houston was content to possess in the midfield which hurt their ability to equalize after giving up an early goal.
My Preferred Lineup
I have no idea how 3 assistants working together will come up with a starting XI so I'll just cover how I would like to see the team lineup. The team will also be without Giles Barnes who is with the Jamaican National Team and could be without DaMarcus Beasley who is recovering from his injury. In my preferred "somewhat realistic" lineup we return to a 4-4-2 in order to balance both the offense and defense. Will Bruin and Cubo Torres partner up top, although if Cubo is rested or on the bench following his international duty I would give his spot to Mauro Manotas. With Barnes out, I would take Leonel Miranda in the LM position with most of the midfield the same - though without Cristian Maidana as we'll only have 4 midfielders in this formation. In defense I've assumed Beasley can't start so I've put Sheanon Williams at LB and in his place at RB Raul Rodriguez. Both of these players can play either side so I could see Raul taking the LB spot with Williams at his usual RB position. Rodriguez is currently listed on the injury report, but he played in the Dynamo Charities Cup so I do not believe he is injured.
All bets are off how the Dynamo will lineup without Owen Coyle at the reins, so how would you like to see the starting XI look in our rematch against the Vancouver Whitecaps? Let us know below and share your formation and XI in the comment section.