It’s finally here. The 2018 season is on the line for the Houston Dynamo Wednesday with the club nearly eliminated from playoff contention. The Dynamo have done well in another competition and that is the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. Somehow they’ve managed to host and win their way to the Cup Final against the Philadelphia Union. If Wilmer Cabrera & Co. can somehow manage some silverware, the season won’t be frowned upon nearly as much.
Last weekend the Dynamo played a tune-up match on the road against Orlando City SC. While the tactics didn’t look the part of a team in a Cup Final, the lineup was among the strongest we’ve seen. The front trio of Romell Quioto, Mauro Manotas (who seems to do extremely well in the Open Cup), and Alberth Elis should be the starters for Cabrera. Ronaldo Peña should be there to provide a spark off the bench as well.
In the midfield Tomás Martínez should start in the attacking midfield role to support the forwards. Behind him having last season’s team MVP back in Juan David Cabezas should help stabilize the team and how it pressures opponents so he should be a lock to start in the most defensive midfield position. Between Martínez and Cabezas we could see a few players, but of the possibilities I think Oscar Boniek García provides the most when it comes to playing good passes out of the back so I’d start him.
Defensively I’d anticipate DaMarcus Beasley at left back. Central defense is probably the hardest area to predict. Alejandro Fuenmayor will be one of the center backs, but I’d peg his partner to be Leonardo. I’d prefer Philippe Senderos or Adolfo Machado, but due to the US Open Cup rules of only fielding 5 international players (Elis, Quioto, Cabezas, Fuenmayor, and Martínez are who I have), Senderos and Machado would be ineligible. At right back Andrew Wenger should get the call, but A.J. DeLaGarza could be a surprise as he’s been getting minutes with the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros as part of his recovery. In goal it shouldn’t be a surprise to see Joe Willis.
OUT: D - A.J. DeLaGarza (torn left ACL)**
OUT: D - Dylan Remick (concussion)*
OUT: F – Mac Steeves (left hip injury)
*Remick does not appear on the Injury Report, but is out for the season.
**DeLaGarza has played with Rio Grande Valley FC Toros recently, but still appears on the injury report.
My Projected Starting Lineup
There are a ton of options to work with. I think this is our strongest healthy XI for the now most important game of the year, but who do you think should start against the Philadelphia Union in the US Open Cup Final? Let us know below.