Despite my best efforts, my confidence and optimism about the 2011 Dynamo season was slightly shaken after the loss to the Philadelphia Union last Saturday. Fortunately, with their next match only two days away, there really isn't time to dwell on it...which is usually a good thing.
The Dynamo hit the road for the first time this season and travel to Seattle to face a Sounders team that has twice as many reasons to be concerned as the Dynamo. Sure neither team has scored a goal this season but at least Houston has only failed for 90 minutes as opposed to 180. I know, I know, I'm grasping at straws here, but I'm trying to rebuild my confidence so you'll have to forgive me.
Seattle is a tough place to play in the best conditions, but with temperatures expected to be in the 50's and a 90% of light rain, things will only be more difficult. The rain will turn Qwest Field's already questionable fake turf in to an ice rink like surface that we saw last week in FirstKick against the Galaxy. This increases the pressure on the defense and goalkeeper Tally Hall to be ready for funny bounces and physics defying directional changes by the ball. Plus there's the crowd.
Or maybe I just like complaining about Seattle's pitch to rile up Dave Clark from Sounder at Heart...
Jermaine Taylor is away on international duty thanks to MLS' stubborn refusal to adjust it's schedule to avoid losing players to national team matches while their club team marches on. It's annoying but it's not changing. That means we'll likely see either Andrew Hainault or Eddie Robinson in central defense with Bobby Boswell. I'm inclined to think that E-Rob will get the start with either Hainault or Chabala starting at the left fullback spot. As much as I'd like to see Kofi Sarkodie get his first start, the treacherous ice rink in Seattle is hardly the best place for him to debut (from a defensive standpoint).
In the midfield the usual suspects; Brad Davis, Lovel Palmer and Geoff Cameron, will start. I think Danny Cruz should get the nod on the right considering Corey Ashe was virtually invisible against the Union.
Up front the big question is will Brian Ching be ready. Ching has returned to full training this week so unless he has a setback, it looks like the Dynamo's offensive leader will be available for Kinnear on Friday. Thus the question becomes who will start next to him. Jason Garey seems the front runner but it'll probably come down to how everyone practices this week and who the coaches feel works best with Ching.
- Although the Dynamo lost Saturday's season opener to Philadelphia, statistics confirm the Dynamo dominated the match after the Union's fifth-minute goal. The Dynamo controlled 70 percent of the game's possession, according to new MLS gameday partner Opta, and completed more than twice as many passes (417-187) as Philadelphia. In the final third of the field, however, Houston saw seven of its 14 shots blocked before threatening the goal.
- Houston midfielder Geoff Cameron was one of the most active players on the field on Saturday, drawing a game-high five fouls. That total is tied for the most of any MLS player in a single game this year.
- At 20 years, 3 days, defender Kofi Sarkodie could become the youngest player in Houston history to start an MLS match if he gets the nod on Friday. The current Dynamo record is held by midfielder Danny Cruz, who scored in his first MLS start on May 22, 2010 at the age of 20 years, 139 days.
- MLS SuperDraft pick Will Bruin became the first Houston rookie to start an Opening Day match last weekend, joining teammate Geoff Cameron (sub, 3/29/08) as the only Dynamo rookies to appear in a season opener. Bruin played 61 minutes and had the Dynamo's best shot on goal in the 49th minute.
Dynamo Injury List (as of 3/24)
OUT: FW Calen Carr (concussion); MF Francisco Navas Cobo (R hamstring strain)
DOUBTFUL: MF Colin Clark (L knee)
QUESTIONABLE: FW Brian Ching (R hamstring strain)