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Pick the Starting Lineup: Houston Dynamo vs. the Portland Timbers

Who should Wilmer Cabrera start against the Portland Timbers

MLS: Western Conference Semifinal-Houston Dynamo at Portland Timbers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Dynamo are coming off something that resembled a game in their 1-3 defeat to the Philadelphia Union. Despite looking in control for most of the match, some poor defending and poor officiating did the home Dynamo in and the Union capitalized on their opportunities. Portland will be the fifth game in two weeks for the Dynamo and Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera has not exactly rested his starting XI for most of that time. Following the game against the Union, options for Cabrera will be more limited which should make for an interesting starting XI.

In the midweek game against Philadelphia, Cabrera started Romell Quioto, Mauro Manotas, and Alberth Elis as the three starting forwards. I had predicted some of those guys get rested in preparation for the Western Conference game against the Timbers, but I was wrong. I think betting on a win at home against the Union and losing puts more pressure on Cabrera to get a result at Providence Park in Portland so I think we see Quioto, Manotas, and Elis get the start again.

In the midfield we have a problem. Against the Union, Tomás Martínez was shown a red card in what proved to be a pivotal moment in the match. The Dynamo are appealing the decision, which was reviewed by VAR, but if they aren’t successful I would peg Luis Gil to replace the suspended Martínez. Darwin Cerén was shown a yellow card and will be suspended due to yellow card accumulation so I think Eric Alexander fills in his spot with Juan David Cabezas still not ready for action. Next to Alexander should be Oscar Boniek García.

For the defense we learned that Philippe Senderos is currently nursing an injury which is why he missed out against the Union. While not officially on the injury report, I would not bet on him to start against the Timbers. There was some good news and that was Andrew Wenger was able to get minutes Wednesday evening. I do not think he is 90 minutes ready, but having him back is encouraging to a side that has missed several of its players this season. At left back DaMarcus Beasley was likely rested last week so I think he’ll return to the starting XI. At center back, like Cerén, Alejandro Fuenmayor was also shown a yellow and will be suspended due to yellow card accumulation so I believe we see the return of Leonardo and Adolfo Machado pairing together. This would put Adam Lundqivst in at right back. Should Cabrera not go this route, he could pair Leonardo and Kevin Garcia in the center and continue Machado at right back.

Injury Report

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

OUT: M - Juan David Cabezas (left quad injury)

Questionable: F/M/D – Andrew Wenger (calf injury) **

OUT: D - Dylan Remick (concussion)*

OUT: F – Mac Steeves (left hip injury)

OUT: M – Arturo Álvarez (right hip injury) **

*Remick does not appear on the Injury Report, but is out for the season.

**Played Wednesday against the Union

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 Portland Timbers