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Pick the Starting Lineup: Houston Dynamo vs. the Montreal Impact

Who should Wilmer Cabrera start against the Impact?

MLS: Montreal Impact at Houston Dynamo Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Dynamo are coming off a disappointing loss on the road when they visited Rio Tinto Stadium earlier this week to face Real Salt Lake. The effort early in each half of the game wasn’t there and the Dynamo went down a goal in the first half. Later in the second, the team fought back to tie the game up, but the Dynamo conceded a game winner to the home team late. Houston now travels to Stade Saputo to play the Montreal Impact. If they can get three points from this road trip, it will take the sting out of the loss in Sandy, Utah.

The real issue as we learned from the game against RSL is the team will be incredibly thin and players are going to have to play some heavy minutes. Wilmer Cabrera will be without Alejandro Fuenmayor who was suspended for a tackle in the game against New York City FC. Cabrera will also be missing Adolfo Machado who is with the Panama National Team.

There are a few players available to Cabrera which could help along the back line. DaMarcus Beasley should be a lock to start despite his age, but Adam Lundqvist – who did not have the best of debuts Wednesday – could replace him. In central defense Leonardo is likely to start, but his partner is more difficult to predict. Jared Watts started against RSL, but came off at halftime so I think he won’t get the call. Kevin Garcia showed his versatility by switching inside of his usual RB position and actually played relatively well. The Dynamo did sign Rio Grande Valley FC Toros defender Conor Donovan. The former Generation Adidas player does play in central defense so he could be an option as well. I think Cabrera goes with Garcia because he knows the player better, but Donovan’s main position is center back so take a guess there. At right back I have to think Andrew Wenger gets the start after Lundqvist’s outing. Should Wenger still not be 100% and Donovan starts at CB, we could see Kevin Garcia at his favored RB position.

The midfield is also difficult to predict with Oscar Boniek García and Eric Alexander both going the full 90 minutes Wednesday. The other issue is Juan David Cabezas not being in the 18 man lineup against RSL despite coming off the bench against NYCFC. If Cabezas is available, I’d start him, but I’m not positive he is. Eric Bird is another option, but he’s more likely to get minutes off the bench. Without a real option at CDM, I think Eric Alexander starts despite his mistake leading to RSL getting 3 points. I think Boniek will be on the bench and Luis Gil starts in his place. Boniek’s role has really been as a facilitating midfielder and I think Gil can do that, but he’ll have to be more attentive to defensive responsibilities than he’s likely used to. Tomás Martínez went over 80 minutes, but I think he still gets the starting call.

Up top Mauro Manotas was subbed off before the 70th minute so I think he starts at center forward. The real issue is do we run out Romell Quioto and Alberth Elis who both went 90+ minutes Wednesday? I tend to think yes because of the results and the need for 3 points, but I could see Elis starting and Memo Rodríguez taking over for Quioto.

Injury Report

OUT: D - A.J. DeLaGarza (torn left ACL)

OUT: D - Philippe Senderos (right hamstring injury)

OUT: D - George Malki (left knee sprain)

OUT: D - Dylan Remick (concussion)

OUT: D - Kevin Garcia (left hamstring injury)

OUT: D - Jared Watts (right hamstring injury)

OUT: M - Darwin Ceren (leg injury)

My Projected Starting Lineup

There aren’t a ton of options, but there are enough to change things up, not to mention formations to play with so let us know who you think should be in the starting lineup against the Impact!