Houston Dynamo FC had their unbeaten run in league play end last Saturday in their close and controversial loss to FC Dallas in the Texas Derby. Our managing editor did a wonderful breakdown of the wider implications and why MLS should do better that I encourage you all to read. This week they’re back at PNC Stadium taking on another Texas team, this time the Verde, Austin FC.
Just like last week’s opponent, Austin and Houston have both found new life in the 2022 season compared to last year. In 2021 Austin finished in 12th place in the Western Conference while the Dynamo were one spot below good for dead last. Currently Austin occupies the second in the West position while Houston fell to 7th following their loss to Dallas. Austin holds a 1-1-1 record on the road while Houston is unbeaten at home with a 2-0-3 record at PNC Stadium. How the Dynamo do will be largely up to how Head Coach Paulo Nagamura line’s up his usual 4-3-3.
In goal we should expect to see Steve Clark who has been a rock for the Dynamo between the sticks. Defensively we should expect to see Adam Lundkvist and Griffin Dorsey at left and right full back respectively. Dorsey has slipped a little defensively with his latest being a blunder where he left his man back post during the FC Dallas game that allowed for the game winner, but Nagamura has appeared to have no intention of dropping Dorsey as his contributions on the other side of the ball have been positive. In central defense we should see the return of Teenage Hadebe following his suspension and he will likely partner with Tim Parker who has regained favor with Nagamura.
In the midfield we’re left with one central question as we can accurately predict two of the three starters. Matías Vera should be the deepest playing midfielder with Adalberto “Coco” Carrasquilla ahead of him. The question is does Nagamura decide to start Darwin Cerén and allow Vera to push forward or Memo Rodríguez in a more advanced position. Personally, I think Memo gets the spot given his recent contributions, but could easily see Cerén slotted in given that Darwin Quintero is listed as Questionable.
Up top we should see Sebastián Ferreira starting as the number 9 center forward with Fafà Picault as one of the wingers. Who starts next to him Corey Baird or Tyler Pasher or the newcomer Thiago? I think Pasher has won over some of the confidence of Nagamura so I’d go with him, but it could easily go to Baird.
My Projected Starting XI
These are just the players who I think will start for the Dynamo against Austin FC at PNC Stadium, but we want to know who you think will start or who you think should start this weekend. Vote below and feel free to share your picks in the comments.