Houston Dynamo FC have a win and a loss in their 2021 season campaign thus far, but have generally looked pretty good or at least better than some people have thought. A big part of that is Head Coach Tab Ramos having more time in charge along with offseason transfers finding their form. Houston won the season opener against the San Jose Earthquakes and really struck out in a close game against the Portland Timbers at Providence Park. Not many people have the Dynamo pegged to do well, but with a 1-1 record and encouraging performances, I’d argue they’re playing above par at least by preseason standards.
So playing well is good, and not to knock the Timbers as a team or organization – they’re class – but up next is an early afternoon matchup with LAFC. LAFC have money, an engaged organization, and the drive to try to win. The Dynamo haven’t looked like that kind of team in awhile, but that isn’t to say they can’t win even though they’ve never beaten LAFC. It definitely depends on lineup choices by Ramos to get the most out of his side to get those elusive points.
Assuming Tab goes with his usual 4-3-3, up top could be the easiest or most difficult to predict – depending on how deep into your own head you are. Personally, I can’t see Tab making changes. I think Maxi Urruti starts as the center forward, Tyler Pasher starts on the left, and Fafà Picault is on the right wing. Of those Picault is my weakest candidate despite his pace and ability to exploit defenses on the break so I could see someone like Darwin Quintero coming into that space, but I’m backing Fafà for the start. Some of us at Dynamo Theory had an interesting conversation as we talked about this week’s game and talked about Memo Rodríguez in a false 9 role with the speedy wingers around him, but I just don’t see Urruti’s contributions thus far being enough to take him out of the starting lineup.
In the midfield, I think we continue to see in the group of Memo, Joe Corona, and Matías Vera. If Memo gets pushed up into the forward group, I would anticipate Oscar Boniek García, Darwin Cerén, or hopefully Derrick Jones who featured often in preseason.
Defensively, again we’re seeing Tab Ramos begin to piece things together in the way he likes, although I think the Boniek move at center back likely over performed in his first week and definitely faltered his second. That’s not to say he isn’t serviceable, just that I worry against a potent offense like LAFC. For that reason I’d prefer Adam Lundkvist at left back and Zarek Valentin at right back. In central defense of course Tim Parker and then making his season debut, Maynor Figueroa. Now Valentin may struggle on the right against Diego Rossi so hypothetically José Bizama could sub in, I just don’t see that happening. Of course, the Dynamo’s #1 in goal, Marko Marić will start.
My Projected Starting Lineup:
This is just the lineup that I think we’ll see, but what do you think we’ll see? What should the starting XI look like in the Dynamo’s game against LAFC? Let us know in the comments below!