Jun 10, 2012; Vancouver, BC, CANADA; Houston Dynamo defenseman Corey Ashe (26) reacts after a hit by the Vancouver Whitecaps during the second half at BC Place Stadium. The Vancouver Whitecaps won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-US PRESSWIRE
Sunday's loss by the Dynamo to the Vancouver Whitecaps sucked. The team didn't play poorly per se, they were just simply out gunned by a talented team on the rise that had all their weapons at their disposal. Meanwhile, Dominic Kinnear was forced to walk in to battle with a severely limited arsenal. Sorry for all the war references.
Here's the point, this is part of dealing with the improving but still broken MLS scheduling system. More than that, this is the painful price for the messed up schedule the Dynamo are playing because of the new stadium. With the opening date pushed back in to May, the Dynamo's schedule was unnaturally compressed. So while the rest of MLS set idle during an international break, Houston played missing four starters due to international duty.
In some leagues, you might be able to survive something like that. In MLS, you're basically doomed. Of course in every other league in the world, you wouldn't have been playing a match during the international break in the first place...but that's another reality of the screwed up nature of this league.
Losing sucks but this loss is more painful for the Dynamo because it's one of those "games in hand" they had piled up early in the season. These are the games the team needs to get points from to be able to close to gap between them and the top of the Eastern Conference. There are still more and there is still plenty of time to catch-up, plus as we all know you can make up a lot of ground in MLS during the summer and run in to the playoffs. Still, this one sucked.
No disrespect to Vancouver of course. Martin Rennie is doing great things with the Whitecaps and they are a legitimate playoff contender in the Western Conference. Going on the road and losing to them is hardly anything to be ashamed of...but it still sucks.
What this match ultimately teaches us is that no matter how hard to try to build depth in your roster, it's basically impossible when your league sells you out during an international break. Yeah, yeah I know the deal, that's something pretty much everyone has to deal with and I'm not complaining, just pointing out a reality about MLS.
The Dynamo are still a good team and they will be far better team by the end of the season. To be a great team, they'll need Oscar Boniek Garcia to adapt quickly when he arrives next week (even though he won't be eligible to play until the end of the month). More importantly, they'll need the very players who were absent on Sunday to be healthy and productive because if you had any doubts as to their importance to this team, you shouldn't now.
So shake off the loss, the Dynamo will move forward. Eventually the league might even do the same when it comes to balancing roster depth and economics realities with international duty.