The Houston Dynamo are on a bit of a hot streak at the moment. They won 6 of their 7 preseason games, drawing the other match against the New York Red Bulls in the Desert Diamond Cup, and have now bested the current champions of Major League Soccer, the Seattle Sounders, in the home opener. It feels pretty good right now to be a Dynamo fan, but there are still a few areas of concern that should bring some of that unbridled optimism down to Earth. First, while the Dynamo were entirely in control of their first match of the season during the first half, the second half was similar to last season’s style of play as defending got lazy, players sat in a bit, and we let a dangerous team back into the game. A big problem for the Dynamo last season was their trouble to close games out (see our two home matches against the Sounders for proof). Instead of winning games or sneaking away with a draw, they drew or lost those games. While that wasn’t the case last week, the Dynamo still need to learn how to focus for the full match to put a game out of reach for opponents. That’s a lesson they’ll need to understand quickly as the attacking threats of Ola Kamara, Ethan Finlay, Justin Meram, and Federico Higuain of Columbus Crew SC will be ready instill.
Against the Sounders, Wilmer Cabrera broke his usually consistent first choice starting XI as Juan David Cabezas was handed a late suspension as he was sent off in his last match for his previous club, Independiente Medellin in Colombia. This forced Cabrera to look to his bench where he elected to put Eric Alexander in the deepest holding midfield role. Alexander surprised many of us, due to his lackluster year last season, and distributed the ball nearly flawlessly deep in the midfield. This puts Cabrera in a bit of a bind as he can choose Alexander, arguably a better distributer, or Cabezas, who is more of an enforcer type of player.
My Projected Starting Lineup
Apart from DM area of the field I’d expect largely the same starting group as last week. Joe Willis is still the only player listed on the injury report which gives Cabrera plenty of options to work with should he move away from what he feels is his strongest starting group.
So who do you want to see face Columbus Crew SC? There are lots of new players to choose from and plenty of combinations that could be effective. Let us know and feel free to share your choices in the comments section below!