Dynamo look to remedy loss against Chivas

Cruz, Ashe may get more minutes with Mullan moving to forward

HOU_20100401_Musarra_02_Mullan_Beckerman

Photo Credit: 
Joseph Musarra/Houston Dynamo

After the sting of last week’s loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy, Dynamo players were
looking forward to the next game on their schedule. It really didn’t
matter the opponent or the place; they welcomed any opportunity to take out some
of their frustrations at how they played last week

On Saturday against Chivas USA, the Dynamo will have an opportunity to vent a bit at Robertson Stadium.

“It’s a big game coming off a 2-0 loss to LA,” said midfielder Brad Davis. “Guys want to right the ship.”

The
Dynamo have had Chivas USA's number of late, as they are unbeaten in their
last nine games against the Goats. However, the Houston players are
well aware of the quality of their opponents thanks to the preseason
game between the teams.

“We had a good preseason match, and it
was very physical, just like a regular season game,” said Dynamo
midfielder Danny Cruz. “If you look at it, it didn’t feel like a
preseason game, which was good. There are good matchups all over the
field, and I think we’re ready for it.”

While Houston will be
looking to right the ship, the problem is that the ship is taking on a
little bit of water, with numerous injuries depleting the roster. That
has opened up opportunities for some of the other players on the
roster, such as Cruz, who may start his first MLS game if an injury
Corey Ashe picked up at the end of practice on Thursday keeps him out

“Injuries
are never good, but Dom and Spenny do a good job to prepare all of us
to be ready if our number is called,” noted Cruz. “Last year was a
complete stepping stone for me. I learned so much from my teammates and
my coaches. I’m a completely different player. This year, I expect to
continue to progress and do what is necessary to be ready when my
number is called.”

The good news on the injury front appears to
be that defender Andrew Hainault should be fine to play Saturday after
suffering a calf contusion against LA

“[I am] fully mobile and should be fit for the game,” Hainault said

It
looks unlikely that recently reacquired Joseph Ngwenya will have his
paperwork completed in time for Saturday afternoon’s game, however.
That leaves the squad with Dominic Oduro as the team’s lone
forward. As a result, midfielder Brian Mullan -- who looked very sharp
in practice all week -- may again be asked to log some minutes up top.

“It’s
not that big of a stretch,” noted Mullan. “I played forward my first
two years and before that my whole life. It’s tricky switching back and
forth, but I’ll throw my all into it, and hopefully something good will
come out of it.”

Mullan’s Dynamo coaches and teammates know full well that regardless of where he lines up, he’ll give his maximum effort.

“He
does a lot of things people may not appreciate or see,” said coach
Dominic Kinnear. “He’s not a stat-hound or a glory guy. He just shows
up and does his work and the work of others around him, and he makes you
appreciate what he does. In a pinch, you can throw him up top or at
right back, and you know that the effort he is going to bring his 100
percent no matter where he is playing, and he doesn’t question anything.”

Mullan’s
play against LA was one of the few bright spots for the team on a night
that Houston would prefer to forget. Saturday afternoon’s match against
Chivas USA gives the Dynamo their first chance to wash away the
lingering bad taste in their mouth from the previous week’s performance.

“They
have a good team, and it’s going to be a tough one,” noted Hainault. “I
think we have to right our wrong, because last game was very poor.
Hopefully we can go out there and show we can play. It has got to be better
than last week.”

Dwain Capodice covers the Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Send him questions or comments at dwaincapodice@gmail.com.