Because MLS loves to make the schedule interesting, the Dynamo are back in action tonight against the Chicago Fire. I for one think a 72-hour turnaround is absolutely absurd and unfair, but such is life in the always interesting and often strange MLS.
This will be the Dynamo's 17th league match of the season, meaning that Houston will be officially halfway through the 2012 MLS season. Hooray.
Dominic Kinnear apologized for his roster management after a tough week in late June that saw the Dynamo nearly lose at home to Toronto FC and get hammered away by Montreal. Logic dictates that he'll make the necessary changes to ensure he has the best side on the pitch for tonight's game. After all, it's another conference game and those are extra important with the new playoff system this year. I know, I know, I'm a broken record but hey, it's the facts!
The Dynamo will need to bounce back quickly because they need three points again. I'll even open the door for the possibility of a draw being acceptable because of the circumstances but that's as far as I go. Wins at home are essential.
Brian Ching saw limited action on Saturday, though it was an effective bit of limited action, so he should be ready to go for Tuesday. Will Bruin and Macoumba Kandji both worked hard as well, but with Calen Carr out, one will likely get the start. Adam Moffat will be fresh after serving his red card suspension, so that's a bonus as well.
I'm really curious to see what lineup Kinnear uses. Will he stick with the 4-3-3 again, or shift back to his preferred 4-4-2? The health of Je-Vaughn Watson will likely help determine the formation, because his availability likely determines if Cameron stays in the midfield or goes back to the defense. Or so we assume.
If Watson is back, I expect we'd see a 4-4-2 that looks something like this:
Taylor - Cameron - Boswell - Ashe
Boniek - Watson - Davis
Ching - Bruin/Kandji
If Watson isn't ready to go, a 4-3-3 that looks something like this would make sense:
Hainault - Taylor - Boswell - Ashe
Cameron - Moffat - Davis
Boniek - Ching - Kandji
Cameron's shift to a midfield role made sense on several levels against the Union. First, with Moffat, Watson and Carr out, it was either Cameron or Nathan Sturgis for the deeper midfield spot. Obviously, when you have depth in the central defense, it makes more sense to keep Cameron on the field. In addition, if Cameron is to move this summer, the logic is that he will be playing a midfield role for the likes of Stoke City, or whomever signs him. This gave scouts a chance to see him in that role, so it's entirely possible that circumstances allowed Kinnear to give people a look at Cameron in the midfield without sacrificing anything tactically.
Hold on while I stop my head from doing a Linda Blair in the Exorcist special.
Here's the bottom line. This is going to be a tricky match, but I think it's important to see how the team reacts to the short turnaround. This is a chance to prove lessons were learned and that's all we can ask for. We know there are going to be tired legs, but this is an important match. Dynamo fans can do their part by showing up in big numbers and being nice and loud. The players could definitely use the boost from a raucous home crowd to help fight through the inevitable fatigue.