Houston Dynamo FC are coming off a midweek US Open Cup victory over former USL affiliate Rio Grande Valley FC Toros and have been unbeaten in their last five league matches their last being a 0-0 draw with the Portland Timbers. Saturday is their first Texas Derby fixture as they travel up I-45 to Frisco, TX to take on in-state rivals FC Dallas.
Both clubs have made big turnarounds from last season. Dallas finished the 2021 campaign in 11th place and currently sit in 4th with their defense being among the best in MLS. Houston finished the 2021 year 13th - or bottom of the Western Conference – but are one spot behind Dallas in the 5th place spot in the West. Dynamo Head Coach Paulo Nagamura will have some difficult lineup selections for his usual 4-3-3 formation given the midweek match against RGVFC as some starters were used. Thankfully the injury report is clean with no Houston players featured although there will be one area that will be more difficult than usual to address.
Likely the easiest position to predict at the moment is who Nagamura starts in goal for the Dynamo and that job has to go to Steve Clark. Clark had a pretty good performance against the Timbers earning a pair of saves. Against Inter Miami CF he had a rare blunder, one of his only this season that led to a goal, but overall he’s been a rock between the sticks for Nagamura.
In the back is where we may see some variation, but likely not in our full backs. Adam Lundkvist and Griffin Dorsey should be expected to start at left back and right back respectfully. The central defense pairing, one that has seen the most variation by Nagamura this season, will be more difficult to predict with Teenage Hadebe serving a suspension for receiving a second yellow against the Timbers last weekend. Tim Parker seems to have regained favor so I think he starts, especially after a strong showing lately. His partner I’d lean towards Daniel Steres who is healthy and performed well early in the year, but it could easily be the youngster Ethan Bartlow who got significant minutes before Parker retook the starting position.
The midfield against Portland was a trio of Matías Vera as the deepest defending midfielder with Adalaberto “Coco” Carrasquilla and Darwin Quintero ahead of him. Nagamura has played around with other midfield options occasionally using Memo Rodríguez over Carrasquilla or Darwin Cerén over Darwin Quintero or Coco. While Cerén could be an option, I don’t think Memo will get the start as he played the full 90 minutes in the midweek fixture. Instead I think we’ll see our usual trio of Vera, Coco, and Quintero with Cerén coming on later to help manage the game out as a substitute.
Up top there are two players who should start and then a bit of a question mark. Sebastián Ferreira should be a lock to start as the number 9 center forward with Fafà Picault starting on the wing. The other winger this season has been split between Corey Baird and Tyler Pasher. Baird started Wednesday although Pasher also saw minutes. Newcomer Thiago could also start as an inverted winger, but he’s more likely to come off the bench. Pasher had been the most recent starter so I’d have to think he starts, but Baird isn’t a bad shout either with his defensive contributions.
My Projected Starting XI
This is just who I think will start for the Dynamo in the Texas Derby against FC Dallas, but we want to know who you think will start or who you think should start in Frisco this weekend. Vote below and feel free to share your picks in the comments.