Although the Houston Dynamo got off to a hot start to begin the season, there seems to be some cause for concern given how poorly the team showed in its last two outings. Last week’s collapse to Minnesota United FC was particularly poor given the 2-0 lead the Dynamo had going into halftime. Furthermore, after MNUFC equalized the game, the Dynamo couldn’t answer back against the league’s worst defense.
This week, the team will have a shot against their former head coach, Dominic Kinnear, and can stabilize some of the fallout from the MNUFC game with 3 points against the San Jose Earthquakes. While I feel that Wilmer Cabrera’s style of play does not lend itself to stout defending, the Dynamo have struggled to keep a healthy backline which has made a manageable problem, with the right personnel, worse. Center backs Leonardo and Agus have both been out, with Leonardo starting the first games of the year before missing the last three matches. Right back A. J. DeLaGarza has missed the previous two games and Oscar Boniek Garcia has filled in for him. DeLaGarza and Leonardo have returned to training this week, according to the Houston Chronicle writer Corey Roepken, but are not a guarantee to get the start this Saturday. If Leonardo returns, Jalil Anibaba could take the spot at right back over Oscar Boniek Garcia (also an option at RB alongside Kevin Garcia). Higher up the field, with Romell Quioto getting minutes off the bench last week, he could make his return to the starting XI. His speed, strength, and eye for goal have been missed, although Mauro Manotas played well in his absence and would be an option at left wing should Cabrera not want to rush Quioto back to starting minutes.
I think that if Leonardo, AJ, and Quioto are ready, and I think that they are if they’ve been training this week, they all get the starting nod this week. The recent drop in form by Houston has put a stain on an otherwise very positive start to 2017 and Cabrera may want to use his full strength squad if they’re ready to go.
Other places that could see change are at the central defensive midfielder position. Initially it looked like newcomer Juan David Cabezas was Cabrera’s man at the CDM spot, but since has warmed up to Eric Alexander. Also of note is the sudden goalkeeper battle that’s developed. Following the New England game, Cabrera opted to bench regular #1 GK Tyler Deric for Joe Willis who did not perform at his best against MNUFC. I would guess that Deric regains the top spot at least for this game.
My Projected Starting Lineup
So who do you want to see lineup against the San Jose Earthquakes? Let us know and feel free to share your choices in the comments section below!