In the midweek fixture against the Philadelphia Union, the Houston Dynamo once again struggled on the road in their 0-2 loss. The Dynamo couldn’t figure out how to break the Union down as they sat back and the Dynamo’s energy looked flat for most of the game. The Dynamo’s next opponent, their 3rd in 8 days, is MLS newcomer Atlanta United FC. Atlanta is an expansion side looking to get higher up the Eastern Conference table as they currently sit in 9th, but they’re only a few points back of the 6 seed. Houston on the other hand is 2nd in the Western Conference hoping to prove it can contend for a top playoff spot which they’ll need some results on the road to start going their way to do so.
Given the heavy amount of minutes and travel I think some changes to the starting XI are a must for this game. Cabrera utilized his regular starting squad with the exception of the injured Alberth Elis. Elis was listed as questionable with a hamstring sprain in the midweek game and remains listed as questionable, although he will travel with the team so he could make a start or appearance now that he’s had more rest since last week.
Of the players most likely to rest I would expect players with a lot more miles in their career to get some rest from starting which would include Ricardo Clark and DaMarcus Beasley. With Clark playing at RM/central right midfield, I would think that Oscar Boniek Garcia gets his spot or possibly Andrew Wenger – but I think Wenger gets put in at RW over Mauro Manotas or Alberth Elis. Dylan Remick will get the start at LB should DMB be given some minutes off. Sticking with the defense, center backs are rarely swapped out even with midweek games, but if Leonardo or Machado don’t go (Leonardo being far more likely in my mind than Machado) then Agus could make his 2017 debut or Jalil Anibaba could get the start. At RB, I expect A. J. DeLaGarza remains the starter, but Anibaba or Boniek could get the start if DeLaGarza need some time to rest.
In the midfield, Alex Lima exited last week’s game relatively early so I would peg him as the starter at LM/left central midfield and Juan David Cabezas will start in central midfield with fewer experienced options available to replace him. Up top I think Romell Quioto gets another start at LW, but the real question is who starts at CF: Cubo Torres or Mauro Manotas. Cubo has played more minutes in Philly so I’m going to say Mauro gets the nod, but it’s really a coin flip.
Lastly, this could be an opportunity for Tyler Deric to see some action as well. Apparently Cabrera has not decided on his #1 choice in goal yet and wanted to give Joe Willis a chance to earn the job. Cabrera could use this as a chance to continue his evaluation of Deric, but I still think Willis gets the call.
My Projected Starting Lineup
So who do you want to see lineup against Atlanta United FC? Let us know and feel free to share your choices in the comments section below!