Coach: Wilmer Cabrera
Stadium: BBVA Compass Stadium
Formation: 4-2-3-1 (Last match 4-3-3)
This Saturday the San Jose Earthquakes go on the road to face off against the Houston Dynamo with the Quakes looking to build on the momentum they created last week against Portland Timbers. This week they face a tougher challenge down in Texas facing one of the last remaining MLS teams without a loss this season. I looked at the Dynamo’s first four games to see who might start on Saturday, let’s take a look at what Matias Almeyda and the Quakes might be up against.
Willis has been with Houston since the 2015 season and has been the backup keeper for a lot of that time. After last season’s starter, Tyler Deric got into legal trouble and was sent down to USL side RGV FC Willis has got the call most of this season. So far he has a Goals Against Average of over 1.2 and a 64% save percentage, so there are chances to score against him. Wilmer Cabrera’s system has him sending goals kicks down the wings past his defenders which the Quakes can take advantage of with their man-marking style.
Adam Lundkvist, Maynor Figueroa, Aljaz Struna, A.J. DeLaGarza, have used Kevin Garcia in two matches. They play high up on the pitch Cristian Espinoza can use his speed to get them on their back heels. This can make the Quakes dangerous on the counterattack if they can find ways to dispossess Houston in the middle of the pitch.
Tomas Martinez, Matias Vera, Boniek Garcia
Vera got a red card the first match of the season against RSL which caused the biggest lineup shakeup of the season so far. It’s these guys jobs to feed the powerful forwards in front of them and if they succeed it can be a terrible day for the defense. If the Quakes can find a way to disrupt them, they have a chance of staying in this match. This feels like one those matches that will depend on the play of Anibal Godoy if he can disrupt the Dynamo’s buildup and quickly transition the Quakes they have a good chance of making a statement to the league and making the list of teams with no losses a little shorter.
Mauro Manotas, Memo Rodriguez, Alberth Elis
All these guys are dangerous. Manotas is not having an excellent start to his season so far but he can turn it on at any point and when he does there is little opposing defenders can do. Memo Rodriguez is a homegrown product that is having a tremendous start to the season. The 23-year-old has four goals in four games so far this season and is going to look to keep that streak going on Saturday. They are going to test the Quakes whose defense has been shaky all season up until last weeks clean sheet against Timbers. Daniel Vega, who is better than the stats show so far, is going to get a lot of work as a lot of the Dynamo’s shots come from to top of the 18 and from about 20 - 25 yards out.
This match is not going to be easy as a lot of things have been going right for Houston to start the season, other than the Champions League run, and very little has gone right for the Quakes. What do you think of the breakdown, did I miss any obvious tactical decisions? Let me know in the comments.