The Houston Dynamo seem to be getting over their battle with the injury bug as several players returned to practice this past week. A number of key players that have missed time such as left back DaMarcus Beasley, center backs Agus and Raul Rodriguez, and central midfielder Ricardo Clark all saw some limited time in practice. This does not however make them guaranteed to start as DaMarcus Beasley is highly unlikely to even feature in the entire 18 and the same is true of goalkeeper Tyler Deric and Raul Rodriguez. Another player that will not be with the squad is recently suspended center back David Horst whom the league handed down a 1 game suspension to for elbowing Patrice Bernier.
Last week the team utilized a makeshift backline against the Montreal Impact, one that had done fairly well in the past, as they traveled to Stade Saputo. They fared pretty well, but a poor turnover by the midfield and poor marking by the center backs allowed the team to once again falter on the road. This single mistake wouldn't have been so bad if the club could have gotten support from its offense, a problem that has been true of the Dynamo since the first early games of the year. The team seemed energetic to start each half of the game at Montreal, but slowly that energy and pressure dissipated. A return to a 4-4-2 could help keep some of that pressure up the field for longer stretches while also helping the club maintain possession in the final third of the field better, but it's unknown if interim Head Coach Wade Barrett wants to make that risk while Erick Torres remains with the Mexican U-23 side for the Olympics.
Of our new acquisitions from the summer transfer window, we could see Keyner Brown start at center back if Agus is not healthy. Eric Alexander could also see time in central midfield if Ricardo Clark remains out, although Alex Lima will be rejoining the team after serving his yellow card accumulation suspension so it's more likely Barrett elects for a trio of Collen Warner, Alex, and Cristian Maidana in the CM spots. Jose Escalante could feature on the bench, but is an unlikely starter and Yair Aboleda was recently with Rio Grande Valley FC so he's not going to get minutes.
My Starting Lineup
My starting lineup sees the backline shaken up a bit with Agus coming back and Brown seeing minutes for the first time. If Barrett doesn't want to start Brown just yet, expect Anibaba to stay in central defense with Sheanon Williams at RB. I still want to see the 4-4-2 utilized as I think it's our best way to apply pressure to opponents without giving up too much on the defensive end. That means Will Bruin and Mauro Manotas can use their combination of strength and speed to cause problems to defenses without having to go at it alone.
These were just my choices, but who do you want to see lineup against Toronto FC? Let us know below and feel free to share your starting squad in the comments below!