The first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League matchup between the Houston Dynamo and C.D. Guastatoya went very well for the Dynamo. They generally outplayed their opponent in Guatemala City and were finally able to break through thanks to DaMarcus Beasley which saw the visitors take an away goal and a 1-0 lead in the series. Leg 2 kicks off Tuesday and the Dynamo will have the luxury of an advantage in the series score and they’ll be in front of their home fans.
Tactically it should be an interesting matchup. For the majority of the first game Guastatoya sat deep and challenged Houston to break them down – something Houston struggled to do. Alberth Elis in particular was neutralized by left back Stefano Cincotta who made several key tackles against the Honduran. It will be interesting to see what Guastatoya does in response to being down a goal. It’s only one goal after all. Will they continue to sit back forcing Houston to break them down, hoping for a counter attack to open up? That strategy in general was fairly successful in the first leg. Or do they try to get that goal by being more aggressive. The downside to that strategy is it provides our speedy players room to break should we gain possession with Guastatoya’s players out of position. Wilmer Cabrera has also been known to sit back on leads so I think it’ll be a good game.
Of course, a big part of tactics is dependent on personnel. Last week the Dynamo played the lineup they’ve gone to for a lot of the preseason and leading the way up top was our usual attacking trio of Romell Quioto, Mauro Manotas, and Alberth Elis. The group was largely quiet against Guastatoya who deployed a 5 man back line and who marked well as a team. This group will hope to make a little more noise at BBVA Compass Stadium this time around.
In the midfield there is potentially a hole left by Juan David Cabezas who left the pitch at Estadio Doroteo Guamuch Flores with an injury. Reporting by Victor Araiza revealed that Cabezas was training separately in the weight room so I would classify his status as Questionable. The defensive midfielder has struggled with injuries last season so Cabrera may opt to keep the 2017 team MVP rested ahead of the start of the new MLS season. If that’s the case then we could see Darwin Cerén slot in without other pieces moving around. Cerén was the player who came on for the injured Cabezas so he’s a good bet. Another option could be sliding Matías Vera into Cabezas spot and playing someone like Oscar Boniek García. However, I would predict the midfield to consist of Tomás Martínez in the attacking most position with Vera and Cerén behind him. It is possible Cabezas is cleared and starts, but given his injury history they may not rush him back.
Update on Juan David Cabezas: The defensive midfielder trained separately from the team today in the @HoustonSportsPk weight room.— Victor Araiza (@victoraraiza) February 24, 2019
Actualización sobre Juan David Cabezas: el contención del @HoustonDynamo entrenó por separado esta mañana. #SCCL2019 #MLS #ForeverOrange pic.twitter.com/C4kZX7qcit
Along the back line we’re likely to see the same group we’ve become accustomed to this preseason. The hero of the first leg, DaMarcus Beasley will be ready to go at left back. In central defense Maynor Figueroa and Kiki Struna will look to hold things down and keep Guastatoya off the score sheet. A.J. DeLaGarza should start at right back with Joe Willis in goal.
My Projected Starting Lineup:
A lot of the lineup will be determined by the health and status of Cabezas, but who do you want to see start against Guastatoya? What kind of tactics should Cabrera utilize or prepare for? Let us know in the comment section below and please share your selections for your starting XI.