After matching their best ever Open Cup showing last year by battling to a semifinal loss against the eventual champions, the Houston Dynamo hope to build upon that performance in the 2010 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
“We think we can win the tournament, so that is our goal,” said Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall. “We want to do better than last year. It was a fun ride to get to the semifinals, but disappointing in the end to battle that hard and get a loss.”
“It’s an important game — every game is important,” said defender Adrian Serioux. “Even though it is a team that is a league below us, they usually step up. But we want to win any tournament we are in, and we are definitely going to go out there and try our best to get a result.”
The first step in a hopefully successful run comes at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, as Houston plays host to Miami FC at Robertson Stadium. The USSF Division 2 side features several former MLS players, including Christian Gomez, Cy Falls High School graduate Chris Gbandi, and former Dynamo Abe Thompson.
“They have some ex-MLS players, and they are always looking to show that they are better than the guys we have here,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear. “You know those [ex-MLSers], and you know their tendencies. The other guys you don’t really know about and the way they like to play, so it is important to find out more information. But you do find out more in the first 15 minutes.”
The Dynamo, who feel they can compete with anyone, are getting no favors from MLS schedule-makers. A league game on Thursday against Toronto FC follows the Dynamo’s Tuesday face-off, and it would be naïve to expect Houston to run out all of their starters. However, they have a deep squad and can mix in some young players in the middle — such as Francisco Navas Cobo and Sammy Appiah, both who have shown some impressive flashes in their limited MLS time.
“We have one of the deepest teams in the league,” said Dominic Oduro. “Hopefully, we can show other teams who we are, and hopefully we can prove that tomorrow.”
For players such as Oduro, the game provides not just an opportunity to play, but an opportunity to impress the coaching staff and earn more playing time.
“Every player given the chance will want to prove something,” said Oduro. “You always want to impress in games like this. We want to prove to the coach that we deserve to be in the first team.”