The Houston Dynamo remain unbeaten, though winless, in the Wade Barrett era in MLS action as the squad makes its way to the Rose City to take on another quality team at home, the Portland Timbers. Interim Head Coach Wade Barrett hasn't radically shifted things from his predecessor, Owen Coyle, but he's been able to produce draws on the road in Vancouver and Dallas - two difficult places to get results in.
This week, Barrett may be forced to make some changes as Giles Barnes should certainly be rejoining the starting lineup following his stint with the Jamaican National Team during Copa America. Owen Coyle had utilized Barnes as a left winger in his preferred 4-2-3-1 and as a lone striker in the central forward position. Currently Barrett's 4-1-4-1 system has had Will Bruin in the CF role with Cristian Maidana in left midfield and Andrew Wenger at right midfield. Given Barrett's predilection for defensive minded players Wenger could keep his position, but that's hardly a certainty given his poor production lately on the offensive side of the ball. We could see Maidana shift back inside to partner alongside Ricardo Clark and Barnes move out wide, but Oscar Boniek Garcia, who played a central midfielder last match against D.C. United, has performed quite well lately.
Erick Torres is still with the Mexican U-23 National Team as they prepare for the Olympics and Rob Lovejoy remains sidelined with a right ankle injury, but the Dynamo should have the rest of their complement of players available for selection.
My Projected Lineup
There's not a lot of change to be done on something that's been somewhat successful. Barrett's 4-1-4-1 has shown that it is capable of pressing opponents deep in their own half while remaining able to defend consistently having only given up 2 goals in 3 league matches. The problem has been finishing and adding Giles Barnes back in the lineup, despite his poor road form, should provide more teeth for the offense. Boniek has performed well lately, but I don't see Chaco Maidana losing out on his spot, although Barrett may prefer Boniek centrally over Maidana.
Plenty of options with players healthy and with Barnes back. How do you adjust your squad to a very good Portland side at home? Do you adjust the formation? Personnel? Do you let chemistry develop inside Barrett's system? Let us know who you want to see in the Dynamo starting XI below and share your formation and selections in the comment section.
There are a lot of options with Barnes returning and players healthy. Let us know who you want to see in the Dynamo starting XI below and share your formation and selections in the comment section.