The Houston Dynamo last played a competitive match on March 7, losing to Sporting Kansas City 4-0. Now more than four months later, they’re ready to get back to action. The Dynamo open their MLS is Back Tournament Monday night at 7 PM CT against reigning Supporters Shield winners LAFC. You can watch the match on FS1.
All the talk coming in to Major League Soccer’s tournament at the Wide World of Sports complex in Florida has centered around COVID-19. Will the players, staff, and personnel be safe? With FC Dallas and Nashville SC both being removed from the tournament and other matches being moved around, there is rightfully a sense of worry around things in the bubble. “Is there worry? You always worry a little bit, of course,” Dynamo head coach Tab Ramos told reporters at a virtual press conference Saturday. “We feel safe. We feel like we are in a good spot. Our medical group has done an amazing job to keep us safe. I think the players have also done an amazing job in terms of staying away from where they shouldn’t be and being as professional as they can to protect each other and our families. We all owe to each other and they have done a great job with that. We are very happy with where we are and how we are doing things.”
Ramos went on to mention how with Houston currently being one of the hot spots in the United States for COVID-19, the team staff and league staff have done a great job in keeping everyone safe. Ramos praised the league for taking measures to have the teams with multiple personnel affected removed from the tournament. “I think, this was a good decision by the league at this time.”
The Dynamo players have also been taking measures to ensure they stay safe and that they keep everyone safe. “It is crazy, the new norm as we know it. I think we feel safe. The staff and the players have been responsible, we are sanitizing, keeping ourselves clean, maintaining social distance with each other,” midfielder Memo Rodriguez said. “It is a little different, everyone has their own room. We can’t be out a lot. We try to take advantage of the game room a lot (on the Houston Dynamo wing/floor). Obviously, there can only be six people in there. So, a lot of us play video games to pass the time. The days go by fast, sometimes they are long. Overall, the team has done well for each other.” This is like no road trip these players have ever experienced but the players are taking it as well as could be expected.
With all of the protocols and procedures in place, it has been the Dynamo medical staff that has been at the forefront of keeping the team safe while they prepare to play competitive soccer after a four month layoff. “They were key, absolutely key,” midfielder Matias Vera said about the medical team. “It starts with the plan and the work they did back home in Houston, from the time we had to quarantine and work out at home. We each had to make that commitment to the group and look after one another, for the group and our families. That was key in helping the team arrive in Orlando healthy and ready to go.” We all want to see the Dynamo play again but most importantly we want everyone to be safe and healthy. We’re all very grateful for our medical personnel in Houston and around the country, and that includes those with the Dynamo. Thank you.
Things in Orlando are a little uneasy, a Sporting KC player reportedly tested positive and this morning’s DC United vs Toronto FC match was postponed after possible positive tests on each team. (Both players were tested again and received negative tests this morning.) We want to see soccer but first and foremost we hope the Dynamo and all the MLS teams stay safe down in Florida for the next few weeks. We’ll have a preview tomorrow of the game against LAFC, stay tuned.