Canetti's Corner - May 23, 2011

Dynamo showing improvement through first third of season

HOU_20110521_Thorne_08

Photo Credit: 
Wilf Thorne/Houston Dynamo

Welcome to edition No. 32 of my blog on HoustonDynamo.com.

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Sorry for not keeping my promise of blogging more frequently. Things continue to be very hectic and busy.

We are about one-third of the way through the season. With 11 games under our belt, there are a lot of variables that can be used in making an evaluation. I’ll to try to sum it up in a simple and straightforward manner.

Coming off of last season, it was our top priority to get things headed back in the right direction. This meant changing the makeup of the team and becoming a playoff contender. At this stage of the season, I am confident that we have shown tremendous progress and can safely say that we are on track in these areas.

We currently sit in a playoff position and are just three points from the top of the Eastern Conference. We can match up with any team in the league, and we proved that in the way we played against Salt Lake and New York in the last two weeks. The end to Saturday’s game was difficult to swallow, but after stepping back from the emotion, it’s easy to see the positives that can be taken from the match. We are playing good soccer, and the team – through all of the change – is taking shape and forming an identity.

We want to achieve better results and avoid situations like the New York draw. We know that points are the measurable in our business, but in this year of transition and progress-making, how we play is as important as anything. The team is confident in its ability and challenging itself to take things to the next level. The players and staff have done a great job in maintaining a healthy perspective on things – not getting too high or too low after results. They have been self-critical when necessary and working hard to improve.

As we go forward, there are some key things to consider … Colin Clark is looking very good but still not 100 percent. He still needs some time to come all the way back after such a long hiatus … Koke and Je-Vaughn Watson are looking good but still finding their way. It takes some time before new additions are fully integrated into roles … We have played without Brian Ching all season. We look forward to his healthy return soon. We all know what he means to the team … Jermaine Taylor is fit and ready to contribute when called upon … Danny Cruz returned to training today, and both he and Calen Carr are expected to play roles once healthy.

The arrival of the Gold Cup will mean the loss of Andre Hainault, Jermaine Taylor, and Je-Vaughn Watson for a few weeks. All three players will be with us through the FC Dallas game this Saturday. We will miss these guys during the tournament, but most MLS clubs are in the same boat here.

In addition to the team's progress, there are a lot of great things going on off the field: Brian Ching and Danny Cruz both had major efforts in community service recognized recently with the House that Ching Built and the LLS Man of the Year award, respectively; stadium construction continues, and we had an electric crowd of 25,314 on Saturday. We hope to see you out there this Saturday as well.

Be sure to catch the Dynamo game this Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. when we travel to the Home Depot Center to play the LA Galaxy. It is televised live on KHOU 11.2 and FOX Sports Houston. Then we’ll look to see everybody on Saturday when the Dynamo host FC Dallas. In the meantime, you can follow me on twitter at @ChrisCanetti and email me with any thoughts or comments at ccanetti@houstondynamo.com.