Houston Dynamo FC haven’t had it easy the last few games with their last win coming over a month ago when they bested the LA Galaxy to the tune of 3-0. However, three games on the road, which includes a US Open Cup fixture, weren’t kind to Houston which left them on a three game losing streak in all competitions. The Dynamo will look to get back on track in front of their home fans at PNC Stadium as they are set to take on the visiting Chicago Fire.
As previously mentioned, the Dynamo’s form hasn’t been the best this last month, but the visiting Fire have been in dire straits this entire season with just three wins in league play as they sit in last place in the Eastern Conference. Chicago is trying to build a streak with their last match over D.C. United being a victory, but a real problem for the Fire is their lack of…*clears throat*… fire power as they’ve struggled to find the back of the net. Houston aren’t doing a whole lot better sitting in the 10th spot in the Western Conference and are hoping to break their run of poor form with a win at home. How that happens depends a lot on who Head Coach Paulo Nagamura chooses in his starting XI Saturday evening.
In Nagamura’s typical 4-3-3, the easiest prediction to make is who starts in goal and that begins with the veteran and stalwart Steve Clark. In front of Clark in central defense has been relatively consistent with lineup choices with Teenage Hadebe and Tim Parker being the more common starters recently, although Tim Parker left the Orlando City SC game with an apparent injury. Even though Parker does not appear on the injury report, I think he supports as Captain from the bench with either Ethan Bartlow or Daniel Steres getting the nod to partner with Hadebe. Earlier in the season I would’ve said Steres would get it, but this time I’m going to say Bartlow – although it could easily be either of them or even Parker. At the full back positions I’d anticipate Adam Lundkvist on the left and Zeca on the right.
In midfield we should expect to see Matías Vera as the deepest defensive midfielder in his usual position with Adalberto “Coco” Carrasquilla above him as he returns from Health and Safety Protocols. In the attacking-most role I think we see Darwin Quintero play as the “wandering” number 10. Quintero didn’t start against Orlando and he’ll have fresh legs behind him in Carrasquilla to provide cover if needed.
The forward spots are the most difficult to predict as the Dynamo have rotated their winger positions often. The easiest answer is Sebastián Ferreira, who scored the lone goal for Houston last week at Orlando, who will start at center forward. His partners are harder to determine. Fafà Picault has been missing in action lately, not appearing on the team sheet for the Orlando City game or the injury reports as there appears to be some drama behind the scenes brewing so I wouldn’t expect him to start even though he had been a regular starter in Nagamura’s side earlier in the season. Tyler Pasher, Corey Baird, Thiago, Thorleifur Úlfarsson, Memo Rodríguez, Beto Avila, and Griffin Dorsey are all options as well who have all seen time on the wing. You see the problem here with trying to make an accurate prediction here, don’t you? As a shot in the dark I’m going to say Thor starts on the left and Corey Baird on the right. Memo wouldn’t be a poor guess, although his form has dipped recently. Baird hasn’t lit things up with his minutes, but his defensive contributions and runs provide something for Nagamura’s attempt to right the ship.
My Projected Starting XI
These are just the players who I think will start for the Dynamo when they return home to take on the Chicago Fire, but we want to know from you so share your thoughts below.