There are going to be a number of issues that will shape Wilmer Cabrera’s lineup this Saturday against the Montreal Impact. Injuries and a congested schedule with the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals coming this Tuesday, it will certainly be interesting to see what direction the Houston Dynamo manager goes in with his selections.
In last week’s regular season opener Cabrera opted for a mostly first team choice XI even though many of those players had played in the previous round of CCL and would be chosen to play in a short turnaround against Tigres in the first leg of the Quarterfinals. This Saturday’s game will be the fifth in about 3 weeks with mostly the same players getting minutes. I thought many players would get rest against Real Salt Lake in the opener, but I was wrong. I have to think some players get some time off this weekend or at least see limited minutes off the bench.
Up top we cannot see Romell Quioto, Mauro Manotas, and Alberth Elis all starting simply due to their importance in the game against Tigres. If I were the manager, I would start one and that would be Mauro Manotas at center forward. Next to him I’d have Memo Rodríguez on the left wing and Marlon Hairston on the right. Ronaldo Peña is still suspended so he won’t be available.
The midfield will be very difficult to predict due to some players being injured and on the Injury Report and some that have not appeared and are reported to be out, but aren’t on the report. Tomás Martínez is not listed as OUT, but took several knocks against RSL and missed the first leg against Tigres as a result. I think he does feature, but if not expect Tommy McNamara to take his place. Oscar Boniek García did play against Tigres, but I think he starts again in the midfield. The Dynamo were targeting a return against the Impact for Juan David Cabezas, but he is now listed on the updated Injury Report as OUT. It’s possible he returns, although Cabrera may hold him out one more game to be fresh for Tigres. Darwin Cerén mysteriously was absent from last Tuesday’s game due to “flu like symptoms” along with Kiki Struna. Should Cerén be good to go, I think he starts. Matías Vera will be unavailable after seeing a second yellow card against RSL. Additionally Eric Bird is now listed as injured.
The backline may be a little easier to predict with only a few players missing out. Over DaMarcus Beasley I would start Adam Lundqvist. In central defense, as I mentioned Kiki Struna missed the midweek game and I think he stays out this time possibly to be ready for Tigres. Instead I think we’ll see Maynor Figueroa and Alejandro Fuenmayor. At right back A.J. DeLaGarza should also start with Joe Willis in goal.
My Projected Starting Lineup:
This was one of the most difficult lineups to predict due to the number of games players have played in a short span and importance of the next match. The number of injuries both on the Injury Report and that have been reported locally have not helped either. So who do you think should start against the Impact? Let us know and please share your selections for your starting XI in the comment section.