It’s good to be back from the first FIFA window for the year as the Dynamo prepare to take the pitch against the visiting New York Red Bulls. Also good to have the international players back, but admittedly it was good to see so many Dynamo players absent from the roster for the past few weeks. Not something we saw a lot of last season. The Quito injury means we won’t be seeing him back just yet as he’ll likely miss at least a few weeks.
Also on the injury report is Juan David Cabezas, an unexpected addition after he suffered a concussion in training. The past few seasons the club has struggled in the absence of multiple key starters, but luckily this year is a bit different. Adding so many talented players in the offseason is really going to pay dividends as we start to get into the midst of the MLS season. The team surely didn’t want to dive into the reserves so early, but well, here we are. The Cabezas situation is fairly straightforward. We’ve seen Eric Alexander play some very solid ball during the first two games. Nothing spectacular, but he doesn’t screw up either. And of course, Boniek. (See Figure 1 below).
There are two obvious subs for Quioto - Wenger and Manotas. It’s really unclear who we will see take the start, and no doubt Wilmer Cabrera will keep it that way, but either brings known quality. Fan favorite would be Manotas since just about everyone is anticipating more playing time for the future phenom. Quioto (and Elis) have been criticized for their lack of defensive play. That’s never been an issue with Wenger, and he can also create on occasion to get himself and others open for clear shots.
RBNY has had a successful start to the season but are actually generating some concern about being a little bit shaky. The club has switched back to a 4-2-2-2 formation which they featured last year in route to a 1-6 start. At 2-1-1 they’re probably not in any danger of repeating that kind of slump, but they have notably only put four balls into the net through those four games. Sacha Kljestan has yet to score, and Bradley Wright-Phillips has accounted for just one. This team went on a spectacular tear during the second half of last season, screaming into the playoffs only to be shot down by the Impact. But the 2017 version has yet to show any of that power or dominance.
The Dynamo midfield struggles have been a big story this year, but they can’t let RBNY hit their stride this week. Gonzalo Veron will be out so that relieves some pressure. Still, we can’t overlook Kljestan and BWP. With any luck Manotas has a big game and we don’t have to worry about it.
Date: April 1, 2017; 7:30 pm CST
Location: BBVA Stadium, Houston, TX
Last Meeting: March 19, 2016 (4-3 NYRB)