The Houston Dynamo currently sit in last place in the league and are searching for answers within its starting formation and lineup. Head Coach Owen Coyle had to make a few changes last week due to Alex Lima's and Tyler Deric's suspensions against Real Salt Lake. The result helped the team to a 1-0 lead in the 54th minute, but the same defensive problems we've seen from the squad all year continued which saw the Dynamo lead evaporate into a 2-1 loss on the road. Coyle utilized his familiar 4-2-3-1 with a solid backline consisting of DaMarcus Beasley, Agus, Raul Rodriguez, and Sheanon Williams, but his midfield which featured players such as Collen Warner, Ricardo Clark, and Leonel Miranda failed to limit chances by Real Salt Lake. Oscar Boniek Garcia in particular failed to urgently clear a ball which led to a RSL goal and a momentum change that ultimately doomed the Dynamo.
This week the team faces the familiar Sporting Kansas City in a rivalry match. Last year games against SKC were often physical, featured several cards and players sent off, and were heated until the final whistle blew. The game will also serve as a homecoming for Brad Davis who was sent to Kansas City this offseason.
Who Coyle decides to trot out against SKC and how he lines them up is a difficult question to answer. Early in the year the Dynamo were an offensive juggernaut, but lately the goals have stopped coming as readily. Defensive concerns were, and continue to be, an issue for the Dynamo but many of those problems stem from the formation and defensive commitments coming from his midfield and his forwards rather than specifically coming from his backline.
In the last few matches Owen Coyle has deployed Giles Barnes in a lone central forward role, which has stranded the forward for most of his minutes. Boniek Garcia started last week for Cristian Maidana in the central attacking midfield position, but his poor decision making may lead to another change in central midfield. There is another debate emerging over the effectiveness of Coyle's preferred 4-2-3-1 formation, but I believe the formation can work if defensive assignments and positioning are sound. Right winger Andrew Wenger has done an exemplary job retreating to support his defense, but his offensive contributions have looked limited the past few matches and he should be due for a break out. Should Coyle adopt a different formation, it's difficult to tell how that may look Saturday. The team is desperate for answers and Coyle may be willing to try anything. The real solution should be finding balance and chemistry between his midfield and forwards. Erick Torres has come off the bench and provided some effect, but hasn't provided definitive results. Will Bruin is another answer to jumpstart the offense as a holdup forward who could potentially increase Dynamo possession in advanced areas of the field.
My Preferred Lineup
My Projected Lineup
My preferred lineup incorporates a shift to what Coyle originally desired and that's an offensive mentality though it's in a formation that allows for midfielders to cover for the defenders. The real issue with the lineup is that players, like Giles Barnes, may not be able to support the defense as effectively due to their desire to push up and the outside backs' inclination to move up the field. My projected lineup allows for many players to commit to offense while holding a more conservative shape.
It's really anybody's guess to how Coyle will lineup the Dynamo given our poor standing at the moment, but we want to know how you'd remedy the situation given our current personnel. With Alex Lima and Tyler Deric returning to action there really aren't any limitations to how the team could lineup. So who do you want to see in the starting XI against Sporting Kansas City? Let us know below and please share your choices in the comments section!
So who do you want to see in the starting XI against Real Salt Lake? Let us know below and please share your choices in the comment section!