Match Preview: Houston Dynamo vs. Atlanta United FC

The Basics

Houston Dynamo vs. Atlanta United FC
Saturday, March 3, 2018, 2:30 p.m. CT
BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas

Broadcast Information

Univision – 2:30 p.m. (CHANNEL LISTINGS; Watch in English)
610 AM/Radio.com app – 2:00 p.m.
Univision Radio 1010 AM – 2:00 p.m.


After exceeding expectations in last year's expansion campaign, Atlanta United won't be able to sneak up on anyone in their sophomore season, especially not a Houston Dynamo side that pulled off their own share of surprises in 2017.

The Five Stripes may have added to their abundance of riches with the signings of Darlington Nagbe and Ezequiel Barco to be considered among the favorites in the Eastern Conference. But the club's inaugural trip to Houston should provide an early litmus test against a Dynamo side that picked up 40 of 51 possible points at home last season.

Atlanta are at least fortunate to pay their visit early, with a forecast calling for clouds and a high near 70 degrees, a far cry from the truly oppressive conditions that can beat down visitors in the summer.

Houston Dynamo

Although the Dynamo made some supplemental offseason transactions, coach Wilmer Cabrera is counting on improving from within in Year 2 of his tenure. With 22-year-olds Mauro Manotas and Alberth Elis coming off respective 10-goal seasons, it's an understandable approach.

  • Suspended: Tomas Martinez (Red Card)
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: AJ DeLaGarza (torn ACL), George Malki (concussion)

Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3, right to left)
GK: Chris Seitz — George Malki, Adolfo Machado, Leonardo, DaMarcus Beasley — Darwin Ceren, Juan David Cabezas, Arturo Alvarez — Alberth Elis, Mauro Manotas, Romell Quioto

Atlanta United

Fans eager to see the 18-year-old Barco's MLS debut will have to wait a bit longer, after Atlanta announced Wednesday he would be missing 4-6 weeks with a quad strain. Good thing the Five Stripes still have Josef Martinez and Miguel Almiron on their roster, who combined for 28 goals and 15 assists last season.

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: Ezequiel Barco (strained right quad)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)

GK: Brad Guzan — Franco Escobar, Michael Parkhurst, Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez, Matt Garza — Jeff Larentowicz, Darlington Nagbe — Hector Villalba, Miguel Almiron, Andrew Carleton — Josef Martinez

All-Time Series

Atlanta won the teams' only previous meeting last season 4-1 at Bobby Dodd Stadium on May 20, 2017.


Referee: Allen Chapman
Assistant Referees: Jeremy Hanson, Andrew Bigelow
Fourth Official: Armando Villarreal
VAR: Edwin Jurisevic