Houston gets another shot at Donovan, Galaxy

Dynamo looking to avenge Western Conference final flameout

Power
outages and a disallowed goal left the Houston Dynamo wondering what might have
been at the end of the 2009 season, and with a decidedly bad taste in their
mouths provided by the Los Angeles Galaxy.

But the Dynamo
get another go-round this weekend, looking to take the first cathartic step to
moving past last year’s Western Conference finals where things turned so dark
so quickly.

“We have that bitter taste from last year, but
it’s a new year and we have to take care of business at home,” Dynamo
midfielder Geoff Cameron said.
“Hopefully we can use some of that anger for our loss last year [and
focus it] for revenge this year.”

For the
Dynamo to be exact some revenge, the team will have to find a way to slow down
Landon Donovan, the catalyst for the Galaxy attack.

“I don’t
think you can find a weakness in his game,” Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear said. “He has everything for me. He sees the game better than most, he’s
incredibly quick, fast, great balance, can strike the ball well with both feet,
a great finisher and great passer of the ball.
I find it odd that people always try to poke holes in the way he’s played
and prepared himself over the years when all he’s done is been the best player
this country has ever seen.”

The Dynamo
players believe to be successful they will have to play more to their strengths
than focusing in on Donovan or his teammates. 

“I don’t
know if you ever slow down Landon,” said Dynamo goalkeeper Pat Onstad. “He’s certainly the best player in our league. That’s not what you key on. You try to play
to our strengths, to the things that make us successful, pressuring the ball
and making things difficult for them to play.”

Houston
failed to score in three outings against the Galaxy in 2009, a trend the team
is looking to change in a pivotal early season showdown.

“I will give
credit last year, [Galaxy ‘keeper Donovan] Ricketts pulled off one or two
excellent games, so hopefully he will have a bad day,” Kinnear said. “It’s easier said than done, but if we get
our two forwards combining and playing well together, Dominic [Oduro]’s pace
gives most defenses problems and with Luis [Ángel Landín] getting more confident and
healthy, it can be very beneficial to us.”

A regular-season win against the Galaxy won’t exorcise all the team’s demons from 2009,
but it will definitely put the team on the right path to where it wants to be
in 2010. 

“It’s early
in the season, third game, and we are just trying to build for this season and
get on a good run,” noted defender Ryan Cochrane. “The goal is to get to the
MLS Cup final, so I wouldn’t say it’s a revenge game, but it’s definitely one
we want to win.”

Forward Cam
Weaver likely won’t be match fit and
might not be available off the bench on Saturday. Defender Andrew Hainault
broke his hand last week, but should still be available for selection despite
the injury. Eddie Robinson should also
be available as he was not listed on the injury report this week.