Houston Dynamo FC began their 2022 campaign equipped with a new majority owner, new General Manager, new Head Coach, and a few new pieces to nudge them into contention following last season’s bottom of the Western Conference finish. They opened the season last week with a 0-0 draw at home against Real Salt Lake which was disappointing, but still somewhat promising on the defensive end to get the clean sheet. With the big news of the Dynamo signing Hector Herrera hogging most of the spotlight, it’s important to remind everyone we do have a game to play Saturday afternoon in our first away game of the season when we take on Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park.
Paulo Nagamura’s first game day at the helm had a somewhat conservative starting XI with two defensive midfielders and wingers that often sat in the midfield rather than supporting the center forward in Sebastián Ferreira. The result was more defensive support, but a very unintimidating and listless offense. Hopefully we see Nagamura game plan a little better as he comes back to the club in which he played and assisted as a coach. Nagamura probably won’t change his favored formation of the 4-3-3 so soon, but he will likely make some changes to personnel. In goal it should be a no-brainer to start Steve Clark who was quite possibly the best player for the Dynamo last Sunday.
Defensively, there will likely be some changes. Last week Daniel Steres partnered with Tim Parker in central defense. I think this week Steres takes a seat while designated player Teenage Hadebe regains his starting position next to Parker. At left back we’ll likely see Adam Lundkvist start. Last week Griffin Dorsey came off at halftime injured and is currently listed as questionable. Zeca has arrived in Houston, but it is certainly too early for him to earn a start so I think Zarek Valentin gets the job at right back after a solid outing last weekend.
The midfield is difficult to predict given that last week Nagamura was more conservative with his lineup choices and this week is on the road – typically a sign away teams will play it more safely. That being said I think he shakes some things up with Memo Rodríguez and Adalberto “Coco” Carrasquilla partnering in central midfield with Matías Vera backing them up in a more defensive midfield role. I think Coco and Memo will take turns pushing up with the other staying deeper to help Vera cover up potential counter attacks.
Up top Ferreira as the center forward is another no-brainer. Despite having a relatively ineffective game against RSL, it was mostly because he didn’t have any support which forced him to drop deeper to get any touches on the ball. Left wing should be Fafà Picault who looked dangerous at times on the counter attack last week. The right wing is more difficult to predict. I think Corey Baird will start, though I thought he had a relatively poor showing against RSL so I’d like it if Tyler Pasher to start since he’s a more dynamic winger, but I think the job goes to Baird.
My Projected Starting XI
This is just who I think will start based on the previous matches and who is available. But we want to know who you think will start or who should be in the starting XI against Sporting Kansas City. Vote below and feel free to share your selections in the comments.