The Houston Dynamo are coming off an impressive 4-0 win over Atlanta United FC in the team’s season opener. While some may not yet be convinced of this team, the Dynamo are ready to prove that last week was not a fluke when they go up against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Against Atlanta, Wilmer Cabrera deployed his tried and true 4-3-3 with a top three consisting of Andrew Wenger, Mauro Manotas, and Alberth Elis. The three worked very well with Wenger and Manotas ending up on the score sheet and Elis notching two assists. While Romell Quioto is likely the number one starter on the left wing as the season progresses, I think he’s eased back into that role. Andrew Wenger had a great game in the opener so I think it’s his spot to lose for the time being. Corey Roepken of the Houston Chronicle reported that Quioto could be an option to start for Cabrera, but I think you don’t bench Wenger after his strong start last week. Next to Wenger I think Cabrera keeps the same group of Manotas and Elis.
The midfield is a little more difficult to predict given the success of last week’s lineup and the injury to Juan David Cabezas. Last week we saw a midfield group of Cabezas, Oscar Boniek García, and Eric Alexander. With Cabezas likely to miss a few weeks, Darwin Cerén, who replaced Cabezas during the Atlanta match, should slot right in. The two are similar defensive minded players and Cerén had a fantastic debut.
With Tomás Martínez returning from his one game suspension, I think he unseats Boniek from the starting XI. Boniek had a good game, but was not the reason the Dynamo were so dominant. Martínez is a central piece for the club this season so I believe he comes back and plays in the attacking midfield role. Eric Alexander should also keep his starting position in the midfield.
Defensively, Cabrera has some options. Cabrera could play Adolfo Machado at right back and get Leonardo and Philippe Senderos at center back with DaMarcus Beasley on the left side. Cabrera could do that, but I think he keeps the lineup he used last week which was remarkably disciplined against a talented Atlanta United offense. That would be Beasley on the left, Senderos and Machado in the middle, and Kevin Garcia at right back.
“Who should be the starting goalkeeper” will be a question that will spark plenty of debates this season. Chris Seitz did make a mistake that led to a penalty, but he also may have gotten a piece of the following penalty shot which deflected off the post. Joe Willis is more of a known product to Dynamo fans, but he did not get a full preseason in as he negotiated his contract. I think we see Seitz get the start again because his performance was still mostly positive even after accounting for the foul that led to a penalty.
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 Vancouver!