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Dynamo Go North of the Border to Face Toronto FC

HOUSTON - MAY 04:  Colin Clark #7 of the Houston Dynamo runs downfield after scoring against the Colorado Rapids in the second half at Robertson Stadium on May 4, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON - MAY 04: Colin Clark #7 of the Houston Dynamo runs downfield after scoring against the Colorado Rapids in the second half at Robertson Stadium on May 4, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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Often, short turnarounds between matches are not something that every coach and player enjoys, especially travel is involved. When you lose a lead in the final 20 minutes of a match on Wednesday, you can't get back on the field soon enough, which is exactly the case for the Dynamo.

There simply wasn't time to dwell on the disappointing loss to the Rapids and that's probably a good thing. I'm not going to dwell on it here, but it had to be said.

Enough of the past, time to look forward. Toronto FC provides an interesting test for Houston tomorrow at BMO Field. On paper it's a winnable match against a team with only one victory this season and enough off the field distractions to give a soap opera some workable story lines. New Dutch manager Aron Winter's attempts to transition the team to a new playing style are going slowly, much to the consternation of the fan base that is hungry for a winning team.

I'd be lying if this was anything but a game Houston should win, even on the road. DC United smashed Toronto 3-0 and we all remember what the Dynamo were able to do against them. The only problem is this is MLS and such is the parity in the league that a team run off the pitch one week, can often find a way to turn things completely around the next.

The Dynamo have some things working for them though that should help. Dominic Kinnear should have no trouble motivating his players after Wednesday and it's likely that Geoff Cameron will be back in the lineup, which would be a boost. Let's not forget the Dynamo's trend this season of beating up on the weaker teams in the league and given Toronto's performances so far this season, they are certainly a weaker team.

This is Houston's last "weaker" opponent for awhile. After Toronto, the Dynamo being a four match stretch that includes trips to Real Salt Lake and the Los Angeles Galaxy and home matches against New York Red Bulls and FC Dallas

Tactically, things are fairly simple for Houston. Possess the bail, exploit space in the Toronto defense and stay organized at the back. I'd like to see some increased tenacity in the box about getting on loose balls and clearing danger as well. I also think I could be time for Sergio Koke to be allowed to start a match and see what kind of effect he can have on the offense over an extended period of playing time. We'll have to wait and see if Kinnear's thinking lines up with mine.

The match kicks-off at 6:00pm CT tomorrow evening on KHOU 11.2, DirectKick and MatchDay Live.

Dynamo Notes:

  • Wednesday's loss to Colorado snapped a six-game Dynamo unbeaten streak (3-0-3), the club's longest in MLS play since April-June 2009, when Houston went 11 games without defeat, a club record.
  • The all-time series between the Dynamo and Toronto is tied 2-2-4, with Houston forward Brian Ching leading the club with four goals in seven games against Toronto.
  • Midfielder Brad Davis leads MLS with six assists and is already halfway to his career high in assists: 12. Dating back to Sept. 18, 2010, Davis has 12 assists in his last 15 games. His career regular season total stands at 70 assists, 13th in MLS history and third among active players. Dynamo assistant coach Steve Ralston is the all-time leader with 135 assists.
  • Midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson made his first career start for the Dynamo on Wednesday against Colorado, stepping in after a lower leg contusion forced Geoff Cameron out of the lineup less than one hour before kickoff. Watson, a Jamaican international, set up the Dynamo goal in the 71st minute.
  • Houston midfielder Colin Clark struck for his first goal in almost two years against his old club, Colorado, on Wednesday, firing a low, left-footed shot inside the near post to put Houston in front. Clark had not scored since June 20, 2009, although he missed much of that time due to injury.
  • Houston midfielder Brad Davis has taken 36 corner kicks in the last four games, more than Toronto has taken all season (26) in eight games. Davis took 12 corner kicks against New England (tying a career high set with Dallas in 2004), 10 against Chicago, nine against D.C. United, and five against Colorado.
  • Defender Bobby Boswell and midfielder Lovel Palmer are the only two Houston players to play all 840 minutes of the club's season so far in all competitions, including the team's U.S. Open Cup qualifier.