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Dynamo set to open CCL play against W Connection

The Houston Dynamo will open CONCACAF Champions League play for the 2013-14 tournament on Tuesday night in Trinidad and Tobago against W Connection.

Rainier Ehrhardt

The Houston Dynamo are in Trinidad and Tobago ahead of their first match of the 2013-2014 CONCACAF Champions League tournament. The two clubs will face off on Tuesday night at 7:00 pm in Manny Ramjohn Stadium.

Unless you follow the TT Pro League, it's hard to know what to expect from W Connection. The league is only 14 years old, but Connection has already made their mark with multiple championships and other accolades to their name.

Connection has been crowned champion of the TT Pro League in 2000, 2001, 2005, and most recently in the 2011-12 season. They qualified to the CCL by winning their group in the 2013 CFU Club Championship - the tournament that determines the three clubs from the Caribbean region who will play in the CCL.

W Connection in Preseason

The TT Pro League is in preseason at the moment, but that doesn't mean that W Connection won't be prepared for their showdown with the orange. The Savonetta Boys (as they are commonly known) spent three weeks training in Columbia to prepare themselves for CCL action.

Connection played a number of friendlies while in Columbia, including a match against America de Cali. The preseason camp gave coach Stuart Charles Fevrier a chance to see the new faces that were brought in the offseason. The club made a couple of high profile signings in Italian striker Mirko Delia and Brazilian right back Joao Ananias Jordao.

Delia, who supposedly has been dubbed "Infant Prodigy" by the Italian press, joins the team after playing with Calcio Catani in Serie A and he's a former player with the Italian U-20 team.

In all, Connection brought in six new foreign players in the offseason, including three young Colombians while on their preseason tour.

The Savonetta Boys will be captained by defender Joevin Jones. Jones finished last season with 10 goals and led Connection is scoring. Andrei Pacheco is another scoring threat the Dynamo will need to look out for as he's combined for 15 goals in the last two seasons with Connection.

CCL Group 1 Results

The Dynamo and W Connection are joined by Panamanian side Arabe Unido in Group 1 of the CCL. In the first match of the group, Arabe Unido beat Connection 3-1 behind a brace from Humberto Ward.

Arabe Unido turned around their recent CCL results after getting their first win in the tournament since 2010. They had lost their previous four matches.

Connection appears to have defensive issues to address as they have leaked three or more goals in their last three CCL matches. They can't afford to continue that trend against a hungry Houston team that knows how important a road win would be this early in the tournament.

Currently, Arabe Unido sit at the top of the group with 3 points (+2 GD). After the Dynamo face Connection on Wednesday, they'll get a chance to welcome Arabe Unido to Houston a week later (August 28).

Dynamo Strength is Depth

The Dynamo announced their travel roster for the game and are sending a team that should be capable of pulling out a road win.

Goalkeepers | Tally Hall, Erich Marcheider

Defenders | Anthony Arena, Bobby Boswell, Eric Brunner, Mike Chabala, Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor

Midfielders | Warren Creavalle, Alex Dixon, Andrew Driver, Boniek Garcia, Alexander Lopez, Adam Moffat, Brian Ownby

Forwards | Giles Barnes, Brian Ching, Jason Johnson, Cam Weaver

Notable absences from the travel roster are starters Brad Davis, Will Bruin, Corey Ashe, and Ricardo Clark. While the first three are probably just being given a breather, Clark's absence is a bit of a concern.

After the Dynamo win over the Sounders on Saturday, Dominic Kinnear told the press that Clark exited the game with dizziness - similar to what he felt a couple weeks ago in a match. He added it was a concern and the team would be looking into it. Hopefully it's nothing serious - maybe just the heat and humidity since both matches he had trouble in were in Houston.

What are your thoughts on the roster, who do you expect to start, and how will the Dynamo fare against W Connection?