Ngwenya hopes to build on Colorado game

Houston striker looking to regain fitness, confidence

HOU_20100626_Thorne_09_Joseph_Ngwenya_Omar_Cummings

Photo Credit: 
Wilf Thorne/Houston Dynamo

On Saturday against the Colorado Rapids, Joseph Ngwenya was
handed his first start of the 2010 MLS season, and while the Dynamo forward
played well and converted the game-tying goal, Ngwenya hopes that he can
improve upon his performance.

“I thought I did OK,” Ngwenya said. “It can be better if I can get my fitness
back.”

During the World Cup break, Ngwenya got significant minutes in friendlies
against the Laredo Heat and CD Aguila. Against Aguila, Ngwenya netted the game’s
opening goal and contributed to the Dynamo attack throughout the first half. His
performance in both games must have caught the eye of head coach Dominic
Kinnear, who rewarded Ngwenya with his first start of the season on
Saturday.

“It’s nice to see him back on the field, and it’s nice to see that he’s been
productive so far,” Kinnear said. “I thought Joe was really menacing in the
first 30 minutes [against Colorado], finding little pockets underneath, and
he took his goal well later on.”

This is Ngwenga's second stint with the club. He played the 2007 season with
Houston, making 25 appearances and scoring seven goals before spending a couple
of seasons in Europe.

With Brian Ching now healthy, Houston will continue to look
for the best option next to the Hawaiian forward. Ngwenya’s combination of both
speed and power seems to be a better fit alongside Ching than Cam Weaver’s
strength, Dominic Oduro’s speed, or Luis Landin’s skill. As the
game against Colorado showed, Ngwenya and Ching make a dangerous partnership.

“It’s good to be back with the guys,” Ngwenya said. “It’s just unfortunate we
didn’t get a win [against Colorado], but it’s better than a loss. We’ll take a
point, I guess.”

If he can continue to finish his opportunities like he did late against
Colorado, that finishing can go a long way in helping Houston make a playoff
push. Brian Mullan set up the forward perfectly near
the penalty spot, but Ngwenya’s first-time effort went into the upper corner of
the net, making it impossible for Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens to stop.

“The ball was a great ball from Brian Mullan,” Ngwenya said. “I got good
contact on it.”

Ngwenya’s teammates were also happy with his performance and to have the
forward back in the starting lineup.

“I thought Joe did well with his first start getting back in with the group,”
Brad Davis
said. “He did a good job finding holes underneath and getting the ball, and he
scored a great goal for us. I thought he was great for us [during his first
stint], he just needs a bit of confidence, to get back in form, and hopefully he
will continue to score some great goals for us.”