It's that time again. Tomorrow, the Houston Dynamo will host Sporting Kansas City in their first leg of their Eastern Conference Final tie. For the Dynamo, this will be their seventh match in twenty-one days - a figure that includes two regular season matches, one CCL match, and four playoff matches. To say the Dynamo have been playing high-intensity, must-win matches is an understatement. They've been running full speed for three weeks with very little time to rest in between matches. With this kind of a grueling schedule, you'd figure that the Dynamo would be missing a lot of tired players, right? After all, fatigue makes injures more likely.
If you thought that, you'd be wrong. Remarkably, the Dynamo are nearly at full strength. Only two players on their roster will be unavailable Saturday afternoon:
OUT: Jermaine Taylor – Left foot fracture
SUSPENDED: Corey Ashe - Yellow card accumulation
With Corey Ashe out for the first leg, there have been many questions about who coach Dominic Kinnear would use to replace the fiery left back. If Kinnear has an answer, he's keeping it to himself for now - the Dynamo have already said that they won't put together their starting XI until they're in the locker room before the match, leaving all the possibilities out there for speculation.
This is, of course, a shrewd move, as it will force Kansas City to prepare for several potential left back selections. It might not end up being much of an advantage, but in the playoffs, you take what you can get.
If you're going to be attendance for the final home match of the Dynamo's season, the club is requesting that you get there early, so that you can participate in a "card stunt," as they're calling it. They encourage the bringing of streamers for celebration of Dynamo goals, but also remind everyone not to throw items at the people on the pitch. There have been a few regrettable instances of such behavior, and it is uncalled for and not condoned.