The Houston Dynamo will return home to face the Portland Timbers Saturday in a game in which the Orange can hopefully get redemption following the last meeting between the two sides. The Timbers won 3-2 at Providence Park in a game which saw one of the finest first half road performances turned into one of the many road blemishes thanks to two late penalty decisions and poor tactical decisions which allowed momentum to switch to Portland.
Houston is coming off a 1-0 win over playoff contender Real Salt Lake and has actually done fairly well in the last 10 games only losing 3 games – although with only 2 wins during that time. The offense has been the area of concern for the Dynamo under interim manager Wade Barrett, but the Orange have scored 4 goals in the past 2 matches despite being incredibly thin at the forward position. Defensive errors, particularly in the game at Sporting Kansas City, were eased as the Dynamo were able to contain RSL’s potent offense by taking its playmakers off the ball. By winning the midfield, they successfully neutralized the offense and that is something they’ll need to do against Portland.
Personnel wise, the club is nearing full strength with David Horst, Abdoulie Mansally, and Andrew Wenger – who were available last week, in full training. Central defender Agus remains on the injury report along with goalkeeper Tyler Deric and midfield/winger Rob Lovejoy. In Tyler Deric’s case, Joe Willis has been more than up to the task of holding down the fort in goal as Willis continues to provide big time saves for the Dynamo defense.
The defensive line should see David Horst return as its starter alongside Raul Rodriguez. That would likely push Sheanon Williams out of the starting lineup as Jalil Anibaba and DaMarcus Beasley are the favorites at fullback. Up the field Barrett could elect to put Wenger back into the lineup, but I’m not certain he will after the team’s 1-0 road win so I think the lineup higher up the field remains the same.
My Projected Starting Lineup
I don’t see Barrett making any drastic shifts other than putting Horst back in the starting lineup, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of options. Cristian Maidana underperformed against RSL which could leave the door open for Andrew Wenger to return either on the left or right side of midfield with Boniek Garcia taking the other wing. There’s also the chance Barrett could open the door to some of the younger players in need of MLS experience which could happen as the season dwindles and the playoff door officially closes. While unlikely to happen just yet, at some point we could see starting lineups featuring winger Jose Escalante and midfielder Yair Arboleda.
There are plenty of options to choose from so who do you want to see start against Real Salt Lake? Let us know below and share your starting squad in the comments below!