The Houston Dynamo have currently split results with Real Salt Lake as each side has won at home this year. In their third and final match the Dynamo hope to win the series by taking 3 points at Rio Tinto Stadium. Last week things got off to a bizarre start against rivals Sporting Kansas City with goals coming early for SKC as the Dynamo played arguably their worst 20+ minutes of soccer of the season. However, they bounced back and were able to secure a 3-3 draw thanks to a stoppage time header by Raul Rodriguez.
Offense has been the one thing that the Dynamo have been hard to come by and with Giles Barnes and Erick Torres no longer in the picture for the club, the goals have been hard to come by since Wade Barrett took over the club as interim manager. In the match at Kansas City we saw that the club doesn’t necessarily require a two-forward system in order to score goals, but they do need to provide support from the midfield on offense and to pressure higher up on defense. Barrett had his team begin the match by sitting back and Kansas’s chances came often as they essentially trapped Houston in its own half. By being down 2 goals before halftime Barrett had to get his team to take more risks higher up the field and…it paid off. Yes, the team as it turns out is built well to pressure centrally which often leads to turnovers. Wide players spread the field which creates some confusion defensively, and we create chances. It only took a 2 goal deficit to see a bit more fight in our team, but one can hope that we see some of those tactics against RSL.
Personnel wise the club should be getting a few more players back from injury as defenders David Horst and Abdoulie Mansally alongside forward/winger/midfielder Andrew Wenger practiced earlier this week and could feature in some capacity. DaMarcus Beasley also started last week and played 75 minutes so he’s likely the go-to starter at LB barring any setbacks in training.
Higher up the field we should see Oscar Boniek Garcia on one of the wings as he provided 2 of the 3 assists last week while Mauro Manotas could have sealed his start after notching his first MLS goal despite not seeing too much of the ball all game. That leaves Cristian Maidana on the wing opposite Boniek, but WB could also opt for Wenger who provides a direct approach on offense and plenty of cover defensively.
Lastly, the goalkeeping situation appears to be unchanged with Tyler Deric still out while 3rd string keeper Calle Brown will also miss out after suffering from a concussion in practice. Don’t start tallying your votes for Jalil Anibaba in goal just yet, as Joe Willis has performed ably in Deric’s absence and Rio Grande Valley FC goalkeeper Callum Irving looks to be the backup to Willis.
My Projected Starting Lineup
My projected lineup is a little funky in midfield so hear me out. Earlier in the year a lot of the success we saw (what success there was anyways) came from the left side of the field as Beasley, Chaco Maidana, and Boniek Garcia often combined to great effect. I think we’ll see this trio reunited in some fashion which likely pushes Collen Warner out of the lineup (Ricardo Clark and Alex Lima have simply been too important to be pushed out). With Warner’s error that led to Roger Espinoza’s goal last week, he seems to be the easy man out if WB wanted to go back to the Beas-Chaco-Boni lineup on the left.
There are plenty of options to choose from so who do you want to see start against Sporting Kansas City? Let us know below and share your starting squad in the comments below!