The Houston Dynamo are off to their best start in franchise history with 13 points from 5 games, but they’ve also had a relatively favorable schedule that’s been heavy on home matches and on easier competition. The Dynamo will face their toughest test of the season this Friday as they head to Carson, CA to face the LA Galaxy who sit one place above the Dynamo in the Western Conference.
One remarkable part of Houston’s early run is they’ve done it without several key contributors while competing in CONCACAF Champions League which meant for a congested schedule. They’ve been without 2017 team MVP Juan David Cabezas and DaMarcus Beasley and more recently Romell Quioto and the team’s leading scorer, Memo Rodríguez. It will be interesting to see who travels with the team and who Wilmer Cabrera chooses to start against a quality opponent.
For our forwards, two players should be obvious starters and that’s Mauro Manotas at center forward and Alberth Elis on the right wing. That leaves the left wing spot vacant with a few possibilities. Romell Quioto was the de facto starting player, but has faced some early injuries which Memo Rodríguez took advantage of to finish 4 goals in the 4 games that he’s played. However, Memo sat out last week so we saw newcomer Marlon Hairston take the spot. Memo currently isn’t listed on the injury report and I think Cabrera will be a little more careful with Quioto so I’d peg our leading scorer to rejoin the starting XI.
Like the forwards, the midfield should be mostly obvious to predict with the exception of one spot. Tomás Martínez, who made the MLS Team of the Week, should get the starting job in the most attacking midfield position. Matías Vera should also get the nod from Cabrera to play a more holding midfield role. The last holding/defensive midfield position is Juan David Cabezas’s place, but he’s been battling a nagging injury so Oscar Boniek García has filled in – and quite capably as well. Cabezas has gotten minutes with RGVFC and had a cameo appearance off the bench in the Dynamo’s 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes last week. Should Cabrera stick with what’s been working or is Cabezas ready to rejoin the lineup now? Cabrera and the training staff have been pretty cautious with Cabezas so if he’s getting minutes I tend to think he’s ready. I’ll lean he gets the start, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Boniek either.
With DaMarcus Beasley out following his knee surgery, Adam Lundqvist has held down the left back spot pretty well so he should be a lock to start. In central defense we should see the pairing of newcomers Kiki Struna and Maynor Figueroa. At right back, the former LA Galaxy man A.J. DeLaGarza will be ready to take on his old team with Joe Willis in goal.
My Projected Starting Lineup:
So who do you want to see starting against the LA Galaxy? Let us know and please share your selections in the comment section below.