Houston Dynamo 2 return from their week off for a Wednesday encounter with Real Monarchs. HD2 last played on May 14, a game that ended in a draw 1-1, with Houston losing on penalties. The Monarchs currently sit bottom of the MLS NEXT Pro Western Conference table with 6 losses and 2 draws (2 penalty kick losses) in 8 matches.
Rest or rust
When athletes get time off, whether it be during playoff series or bye weeks, the question always comes up. Does time off give them rest or rust? Is it good to have time off to recuperate or does getting out of rhythm cause teams to lose momentum? Dynamo 2 head coach Kenny Bundy likes to look at it as a positive. “You can look at those as two different things,” Bundy said in his weekly press conference. “You can look at them as a break in rhythm when you start the season with so many games, or you can look at it as a positive and think that there’s an opportunity to grow without the pressure of a game coming up in four or five days. So, it’s a busy time for the club. Obviously, with the first team playing every third day for the last two weeks, you know with Beto (Avila) being moved, with guys coming in. It’s just been a really good opportunity for us to continue to build a culture, to build our identity, and then to improve on a lot of things that I think we need to improve on. So, we look at as a positive. It’s great that we get to play this midweek game and we don’t necessarily have two weeks off so excited to see what we can do tomorrow.”
Can’t take them lightly
As mentioned above, Real Monarchs have yet to win a match this season in MLS NEXT Pro and they currently sit in last place in the West with a negative 14 goal difference. While this might look like a game Dos should win easily, nothing is ever that easy.
With a team full of young players, many playing as professionals for the first time, it might be easy for the team to get complacent in a midweek game against a team they should beat. Bundy knows, his guys will be ready, no matter who the opposition is. “Complacency only comes in when we as a staff, we take our focus off improving every week,” Bundy told the media Thursday. “I think that we have a great group of guys led by Talen (Maples) and Sterling (Penniston-John) and Paulo (Lima) and all of these different older guys that we have, Jacob (Evans). You look at that, and they don’t allow the guys to take a day off. That helps us as a staff to make sure, and we use the word casual all the time, because I think being casual in play, being casual in preparation, that’s the small pieces into a bigger problem of complacency.”
Well, who’s playing?
The senior team also plays tonight, in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, a tournament that has seen several Dynamo 2 players called on for minutes. With both teams playing at the same time, in different states, it’s a question mark on just who will suit up for HD2 tonight. Sounds like that could be a bit of a headache for Bundy when trying to put the team together, but it’s quite the opposite. “It’s exciting for me because, obviously, if that’s the problem that myself and the staff have to deal with, it’s a great thing,” Bundy said. “Because it means that the Dynamo 2 guys or the guys that have been with the first team significantly, are in conversations or contributing significantly to the first team. So, it’s a real positive thing. On top of that, it gives opportunities for other guys that we have that maybe haven’t had the minutes they need to get to prove their point and get to step up and say, ‘okay, you know, this is why I’m on this team.’ It’s an opportunity for everybody. So, I’m just happy with the fact that we do have to have those discussions.”