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Pick the Starting Lineup: Houston Dynamo vs. the New England Revolution

Who should Wilmer Cabrera start against the New England Revs?

MLS: Houston Dynamo at D.C. United Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Dynamo are coming off a bye week as many clubs had the week off due to the international break. The Dynamo’s opponent Saturday, the New England Revolution, were not as lucky as they drew with New York City FC last weekend.

The last game the Dynamo played was their first away game of the season as they traveled to Boyds, Maryland to play D.C. United in their temporary home at the Maryland Soccerplex while they wait for the completion of Audi Field. The Dynamo went up 2-0 by snatching fairly opportunistic goals in the 30th and 31st minute, but in typical road form fashion they sat back and let D.C. accumulate chances to equalize which they were able to do.

The Dynamo met the Revolution in the preseason in the Mobile Mini Sun Cup Final, but Houston was defeated 4-3 on penalties. So far both clubs have the same record of 1-1-1 during the regular season, but the Dynamo have the better goal differential between the two sides. In a small sample size of 2018, the Dynamo have looked pretty up and down. They crushed Atlanta United FC in their opener 4-0 and then lost to a very stubborn Vancouver Whitecaps side 1-2. They’ll need to continue to capitalize on their counter attacking ways, but also find ways to build up play successfully through Tomás Martínez if they want to get 3 points.

Wilmer Cabrera has several attacking options that he can utilize for his forwards. Alberth Elis has been one of the best players in MLS so far in 2018 and will be a lock to start on the right wing. Mauro Manotas is the go-to option at center forward for the time being and should be expected to start in that position again. The left wing is a little trickier to figure out. Andrew Wenger has started there in all three games of the season thus far, but most agree that it’s only a matter of time until Romell Quioto regains his place in the starting XI. I think Wenger has done a good job in that role so far, but think Cabrera shakes things up and goes with Quioto.

The midfield should be a little easier to figure out with Martínez in a more attacking role with Eric Alexander and Darwin Cerén behind him due to the injury to Juan David Cabezas. The Dynamo did sign the versatile Jared Watts who can play as a defensive midfielder or as a center back, but I don’t think he gets the call just yet.

Defensively, we have some issues. DaMarcus Beasley is a likely starter at left back, but center back is where it gets tougher to predict. Philippe Senderos is still listed on the injury report which complicates things for Cabrera. As I write this, it’s not clear if Adolfo Machado has returned from his time with the Panama National Team, but they had a game Tuesday in Switzerland where he went the full 90 minutes in a 6-0 loss so I think if he does return, he gets rested. That likely means Leonardo starts and either Watts or Alejandro Fuenmayor is his partner (assuming Senderos is still recovering from a hamstring injury). I’d say it was the perfect time to start Fuenmayor. Right back has been the place opponents have punished us this season. While A. J. DeLaGarza recovers, we’ve had no real answer at the position. Kevin Garcia had a solid game against Atlanta, but has struggled against Vancouver and DCU. Machado started the game against Vancouver at right back, but had to slot over after Senderos’s injury. George Malki saw time at the position during preseason, but he has been on the injury report with a concussion. Another option is Dylan Remick, but he too has been under concussion protocol. I think we see Kevin Garcia get the call again.

My Projected Starting Lineup

There are a ton of options, not to mention formations to play with so let us know who you think should be in the starting lineup against the New England Revolution!