The Houston Dynamo are still searching for their first win away from BBVA Compass Stadium. While interim manager Wade Barrett helped bring the team its first road draw of the season (he's gotten 3 road points out of 5 games away from Houston), the team has struggled to earn 3 points since his appointment.
The Dynamo's last win came last month against the Philadelphia Union on July 2nd. The team has looked strong defensively, even with a relatively makeshift line with 2 starting caliber center backs injured in Raul Rodriguez and Agus, their designated player and starting left back DaMarcus Beasley out, and first choice goalkeeper Tyler Deric also injured. Jalil Anibaba has stepped up to the role of CB despite criticisms of inconsistent performances at both LB and RB, but he's performed ably in his preferred position of central defense. That has allowed Abdoulie Mansally and Sheanon Williams to gain minutes on the left and right side of defensive respectively.
The real problem the Dynamo have had hasn't been their defense despite these injuries, but rather their inability to find the net. The team has scored just 2 goals in 5 games and recently traded forward and former Dynamo Captain Giles Barnes to the Vancouver Whitecaps. Designated Player Erick Torres will also be missing this fixture while he spends it with the Mexican U-23 National Team throughout the Olympics. That leaves the doors open for a few possibilities. 1) We continue to see the 4-1-4-1 and emphasize the importance of supporting the center forward or 2) move to a more attacking oriented formation such as the 4-4-2.
While we've seen coaches stress the importance of the first possibility, the team always seems to sit in after getting an early lead which almost always comes back to haunt them (remember the away game at Portland?). The best way to regain an attacking mentality and keep the ball away from the Dynamo's goal is to inject a formation that is designed to be balanced and more attacking oriented than our current go-to formation such as the 4-4-2. Moving to a new formation would also open up minutes for forward Mauro Manotas who has looked promising in the minutes he's been given and stood out throughout our US Open Cup campaign.
The Dynamo also recently made a few other offseason moves which has provided them with some youth and depth. Wide midfielder/winger Jose Escalante joins the squad on loan from the Dynamo USL affiliate Rio Grande Valley FC and he will likely sit behind Oscar Boniek Garcia, Andrew Winger, and other new acquisition Yair Aborleda in the depth chart at the wing position (along with Cristian Maidana at times). The Dynamo also signed Costa Rican center back Keyner Brown, an athletic CB which bolsters our defensive line. It's unclear at this time whether or not these two will be eligible to play in this game simply, but I've included them below anyways. I wouldn't expect them to start if they were, but you never know given our season.
My Starting Lineup
This is my starting XI and, with exception to the defense, close to what I'd like to see us utilize the rest of the season. Will Bruin's strength and ability to pass in the final 3rd will go well with Mauro Manotas's speed and vision for goal. The squad won't give up too much on the defensive end in this formation with Collen Warner and Ricardo Clark in central midfield alongside Andrew Wenger who will man the RM position. Alex Lima would normally be my pick alongside Clark, but he's suspended due to yellow card accumulation. While I think we'll actually see another 4-1-4-1, I'm hoping this, or something close to it, is what Barrett will trot out against the Impact.
These were just my choices, but who do you want to see lineup against the Montreal Impact? Let us know below and feel free to share your starting squad in the comments below!