It seems not too long ago the Houston Dynamo had no names on the injury report and now they've got quite a few with most of those names belonging to defenders. The Houston Dynamo's last win came against the Philadelphia Union on July 2nd and have since drawn twice and lost once. The defense has held up very well in that time allowing just 1 goal in those 4 matches, but that defensive depth will be tested Sunday against the San Jose Earthquakes with so many integral pieces missing along the back line. Left back DaMarcus Beasley and goalkeeper Tyler Deric are listed as out with center backs Raul Rodriguez and Agus unlikely to feature after picking up knocks the previous week.
Wade Barrett said he does not expect DaMarcus Beasley, Tyler Deric, Raul Rodriguez or Agus to be available Sunday vs San Jose.— Corey Roepken (@RipSports) July 26, 2016
This leaves the defensive group very thin on personnel, but the group that lasted against the Vancouver Whitecaps did remarkably well. In that game, Raul Rodriguez went down early and Abdoulie Mansally came on which shifted Jalil Anibaba to his favorite defensive position: center back. Anibaba has been inconsistent this year in his performances, but he showed little rust in a position he had not played all year against a talented Whitecap side. The group that we saw against the Whitecaps after Raul's injury is probably what we'll see against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Although there seems to be immediate alarm on the defensive side given the number of injuries in the back, the real problems should be looked at higher up the pitch given as the club has struggled mightily to put the ball in the net. Despite allowing just 1 goal in 4 matches, that's exactly how many we've scored in the same number of games. Last week Will Bruin and Erick Torres teamed up in a new 4-4-2 formation which generated some quality chances, but the heroics of ‘Caps keeper David Ousted preserved the draw. The team will be without Torres this week as he rejoined the Mexican U-23 national team ahead of the Olympics. This opens things up if Barrett wants to continue his use of the 4-4-2 which could partner Bruin with Giles Barnes or Mauro Manotas. Also joining the ranks is newcomer Eric Alexander who the Dynamo acquired from the Montreal Impact in exchange for general and target allocation money. Alexander will provide the Dynamo with central midfield depth.
My Starting Lineup
In my starting XI I keep the 4-4-2 which helped produce plenty of opportunities on goal. I partner Barnes and Bruin up top which should help given their experience playing together, though I could easily see Mauro Manotas earning a nod over one of the two. I was on the fence about Wenger given his performances lately, but his defensive contributions will be needed given our current defender dilemma due to injuries. If he doesn't get the start I'd expect Barnes or Manotas, who played RM/RW in preseason, to start there. In central midfield Alex Lima and Ricardo Clark partner again. Last week Collen Warner and Alex were paired together, but that was likely due to Clark's minutes in the US Open Cup match earlier that week.
These were just my choices, but there are plenty of options available by shifting formations and personnel around. How do you want to see the Dynamo lineup? Let us know below and feel free to share your starting squad in the comments below.