Houston Dynamo FC are coming off a historic loss last week, a 6-0 defeat on the road against the Philadelphia Union. Houston has been scrambling in recent weeks with results simply not going their way with a 1-5-1 record in the last seven games which has drawn the ire of plenty of Dynamo fans some of whom feel they were promised a stronger showing with a new owner, head coach, and general manager. Regardless of where one stands on that, there’s still work to be done as the Dynamo continue their road trip, this time on the other coast as they head north of the border to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place.
The Dynamo’s struggles have seen them plummet to 12th place in the Western Conference, but their opponents haven’t fared too well either this season with Vancouver sitting one place above Houston in the standings with only a two point advantage. The ‘Caps have a record of 5-3-3 at BC Place and while winning on the road isn’t an easy feat in MLS, Houston have managed 3 wins away from PNC Stadium, something that is a rare bright spot on a frustrating season.
How Houston performs will largely be dependent on who Head Coach Paulo Nagamura lines up in his usual 4-3-3 and that begins with a bit of a question for who starts in goal. Last week veteran and leader Steve Clark was forced to leave the Union match early with a left shoulder injury and remains listed as questionable on the injury report. Personally, I think he comes back – otherwise I think he may have been listed as out, but if it isn’t Clark, it should be Michael Nelson. The only player listed as out is Teenage Hadebe who has a left leg injury. That likely means a pairing in central defense of Daniel Steres and Tim Parker. It’s possible we could see Ethan Bartlow or even Sam Junqua or Zarek Valentin – that’s unlikely, just possible – but the Steres/Parker partnership is likely what we’ll see. At left back Adam Lundkvist should start with Zeca on the right. Griffin Dorsey could start over Zeca, but it’s more likely we’ll see Zeca.
The midfield used to be a little more difficult to predict, but the starting group has largely been formed despite some need for improvement down the line. As the deepest midfielder we should see Matías Vera who will occasionally push forward ahead of the holding midfielder and our Captain, Héctor Herrera. The most attacking midfielder should be Adalberto “Coco” Carrasquilla who will play as the 10, but depending on possession will drop deeper to help win the ball.
Up top has traditionally been more difficult to predict with Paulo Nagamura really changing up his wings game to game and even his target forward on occasion. However, things have relatively begun to come together and Fafà Picault and Thorleifur Úlfarsson should start as the wingers. It is possible Picault sits with Darwin Quintero getting the start, though it seems DQ’s role has been to provide a boost off the bench as a super sub. The number 9 for Nagamura will likely be Sebastián Ferreira.
My Projected Starting XI
This is just my prediction for whom I think will start for the Dynamo against the Whitecaps, but we want to know who you think will or should start for Nagamura, so let us know below your thoughts.