Houston Dynamo FC haven’t totally won over fans early into the 2022 season following a lot of expectations that came with a new majority owner prepared to spend, a General Manager familiar with the league who is also near and dear to the Dynamo faithful, a new Head Coach also familiar with the league, and a handful of new signings. With a draw and a loss going into the third game, pressure is beginning to mount – deserved or not – and a win over the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps would go a long way to dispelling some early negativity and doubts.
The offense has largely been the problem, but the defense has been quite sound having only let in one goal in the two games of this season. A lot of that has been due to the leadership provided by Steve Clark in goal who should also expect to get the start again. In front of him there are a few questions, notably whether or not the designated player in Teenage Hadebe will partner with Tim Parker in central defense. I’ve been wrong so far every week so I’ll say Tim Parker suits up alongside Daniel Steres this week. At left back Adam Lunkvist has been a staple and should get the start. Right back is a little more difficult to predict. Griffin Dorsey had been Paulo Nagamura’s go-to for preseason and in the opener, but was injured so Zarek Valentin has done well to step in. Dorsey is no longer on the injury report, but I think Nagamura is more cautious with Dorsey and goes with the veteran in Valentin.
In midfield the starting trio in Nagamura’s 4-3-3 had been Darwin Cerén, Matías Vera, and Memo Rodríguez. It was revealed after last week’s match against Sporting Kansas City that Adalberto “Coco” Carrasquilla has had a muscular injury which has kept him out of the starting lineup. He’s likely close to starting form, but for now I think he may be another game away from starting.
Asked Coco Carrasquilla about him not starting the first two games. Coco said he’s been carrying a muscle injury that he picked up in the last preseason match. He added he’s 90-95% at the moment.#HoldItDown #DejaloTodo #SKCvHOU— The Bayoucitian (@thebayoucitian) March 5, 2022
Darwin Quintero is another option the Dynamo could see get the start, possibly for Memo given the lack of offensive output the team has seen, but I think we’ll likely see the same midfield three get the start. I hope I’m wrong on that.
The offense has been the biggest source of criticism for this new Dynamo side after failing to really not only produce goals, but be much of a threat to score them by hardly possessing the ball in the opponent’s final third of the field. We should see Sebastián Ferreira start at center forward and hopefully he can have touches come to him rather than him retreating into the midfield to see the ball. Next to him Fafà Picault should start on the left wing with the right wing more difficult to predict. Corey Baird had gotten the start the first two matches, but I think that Nagamura decides to go with Tyler Pasher this match.
My Projected Starting XI
This is just who I think will start based on previous matches, but we want to know who you think will start or who should start when the Dynamo come home to PNC Stadium to take on the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps. Vote below and feel free to share your selections in the comments.