Change is in the air as the Houston Dynamo front office have decided to part ways with Wilmer Cabrera as head coach and have given assistant Davy Arnaud the chance to make his mark with the games remaining. The Dynamo have not won a game in their last four matches and are looking to turn things around with a fresh start. After a disappointing two game road trip, the Dynamo return to the usually comfortable confines of BBVA Stadium to face the 11th placed team in the Western Conference, the Colorado Rapids.
Following a spell of suspensions and injuries, the Dynamo do have most of their squad available along with the new signings that the front office made during the transfer window. Alberth Elis will rejoin the squad following his suspension due to yellow card accumulation and Christian Ramirez, José Bizama, and Niko Hansen will be available for this fixture. Unfortunately, the suspensions haven’t completely stopped as Maynor Figueroa will serve a game off due to another yellow card accumulation penalty.
While Davy Arnaud doesn’t have a lot of experience or time to implement his potential brand of soccer, I imagine he will try to go out and put forth the best possible XI he can and will let the players play their way. I actually think this is a great idea as the team gets better results when they’re having fun. Yes, they concede goals when they do this, but they are so much better on the offensive side of the ball than opponents, and they’re at home trying to end a losing streak.
Up top, now that the potential drama with former head coach Wilmer Cabrera is out of the way, I think Arnaud will go with the trio of Romell Quioto, Mauro Manotas, and Alberth Elis. I know that Ramirez looked good and scored a goal in his debut last week, but even though he doesn’t appear on the Injury Report, he did take a knock and had to be subbed off against the Philadelphia Union. Memo Rodríguez has also looked very good, but if Quioto and Elis are in a better state of mind after the loss of Cabrera and as a coach you’re looking for results, play that front three.
In the midfield, we should see the grouping of Tomás Martínez as the central playmaker and Matías Vera and Oscar Boniek García behind him. Juan David Cabezas is beginning to show signs of his former team MVP self and could replace Boniek, but I just don’t think that happens this early into Arnaud’s plans yet.
Defensively there are a few questions that make it difficult to predict who will get the starting call. To start things off at left back, DaMarcus Beasley is the only Dynamo player listed on the injury report following his substitution against the Union. I think it’s highly unlikely for him to feature even though his appearance on the injury report isn’t graded OUT, QUESTIONABLE, or PROBABLE, so I’d pick Adam Lundqvist to take over. As mentioned above, Figueroa will not be available so it will be interesting to see who Arnaud goes with as a partner for Kiki Struna. Cabrera has often gone with Kevin Garcia, but we could see Alejandro Fuenmayor finally get the start. I think if Arnaud is trying to distinguish himself from Cabrera he will go with Fuenmayor so that’s who I will pick to start, but that’s an honest guess. At right back Bizama recently got the start over longtime favorite A.J. DeLaGarza. Bizama looked very good in his debut while AJ has struggled as of late so unless Bizama is still hurt, I’d peg him to get the call.
Wilmer Cabrera has also started – and not for the first time – some goalkeeper drama when he switched from Joe Willis to Tyler Deric. Willis has seen some minutes, but has made some rare mistakes lately while Deric missed the last match completely due to a concussion protocol. I’d predict Willis to start again until more is updated about Deric’s health.
My Projected Starting Lineup:
So who do you want to see starting against the Colorado Rapids? Let us know and please share your selections in the comment section below.