The major priority for the Houston Dynamo given their current position in the Western Conference standings was accomplished Wednesday evening when they won the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup following their 3-0 win over the visiting Philadelphia Union. The Dynamo currently sit in the 10th spot in the West and are 12 points behind the final playoff spot with just 5 games remaining in the 2018 season. Barring some kind of miracle, the playoffs are out of the picture. The new focus for Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera should be on getting minutes for some of the younger players and that should start Saturday night when the San Jose Earthquakes visit BBVA Compass Stadium.
After battling injuries all season long the team is finally, for the most part, healthy. Only A.J. DeLaGarza and Mac Steeves remain on the injury report although DeLaGarza has seen time with Dynamo affiliate Rio Grande Valley FC Toros and he was on the bench during Wednesday’s win. Dylan Remick does not appear on the injury report, but was ruled out for the rest of the season.
Up top I’d try and incorporate Ronaldo Peña and I think he’ll get the start for Alberth Elis who might be gassed after all the running he did against the Union. At center forward I think we still see Mauro Manotas whose brace Wednesday helped lead the Dynamo to their first ever US Open Cup trophy. I’m tempted to start Romell Quioto on the left wing, but I think Memo Rodríguez will get the go and Quioto and Elis can come off the bench.
Determining the starting midfield depends on a few things. In the deepest midfield position, Juan David Cabezas is our go-to starter. He just played his first competitive 90 minute game since the Western Conference Finals last season and I wouldn’t rush him into a double game week so I think Darwin Cerén takes his place. Just above him we could see Oscar Boniek García or Eric Alexander, but personally I’d try and get MLS minutes for Eric Bird. Above him, we could see Luis Gil, but I’m going to say Tomás Martínez still has some left in the tank even after playing 90 minutes against the Union. Part of helping some of the younger players develop is building chemistry with the larger parts of the team like Manotas and Martínez.
Along the back line I’m going with heir apparent to the left back position and starting Adam Lundqvist. In the other full back spot I’m going with A.J. DeLaGarza getting a return to the starting XI for the first time since his injury last season. In central defense I’m partnering Alejandro Fuenmayor with Adolfo Machado and Joe Willis will be in goal.
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 and was on the bench Wednesday, but still appears on the injury report.
My Projected Starting Lineup
There are lots of options to work with now that players have returned from injury. Who do you think should start against the San Jose Earthquakes? Let us know below.