Cruz's return highlights reserve match

Dynamo find positives in Cruz, other young players despite loss

HOU_20110529_Reserves_Thorne_08_Cruz

Photo Credit: 
Wilf Thorne / Houston Dynamo

A day after
a physically and mentally taxing 2-2 draw to FC Dallas, the Dynamo Reserves
fell to the Dallas reserves 3-2 Sunday morning. Despite the
result, there were certainly some positives to come from the game. Houston got a
big lift from midfielder Danny Cruz, who came on at halftime for his first game appearance since April 23 due to a knee injury. Cruz brought his normal energy to the pitch and, as always, was integral in pushing the tempo in his 22 minutes of
action.

“I felt
good,” Cruz said. “The plan was to get 15 or 20 minutes, and it felt good. It’ll
be harder to go hard this week, but we’ll see how it feels.”

MORE: Recap of Sunday's reserve match

Cruz is hoping to be back for the first team in time to make some contributions to a midfield that will be slightly shorthanded in June as Je-Vaughn Watson competes for Jamaica in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

“Danny
always brings energy and it was good to get him minutes,” assistant coach Wade Barrett said. “We
would’ve loved to have gotten him a few more minutes today, but we wanted to cap
his minutes before a hard week of
training.”

Along with Cruz, Dynamo Academy forward Chance Bergen helped push the tempo early in the second half with the Dynamo down 2-0. Houston was rewarded when Bergen and Josue Soto made an SMU
connection – Bergen will join the program in the fall and Soto is an alumnus – to pull one back for the Dynamo.

That goal, the first by a Dynamo Academy player in a reserve match, was part of another
positive: the play of some younger players. Soto (a home-grown
signing), Bergen, and three other Academy players got time on the field and
impressed. Getting meaningful playing time for young players is the focus of the renewed MLS Reserve League, and it is something the Dynamo
plan to take full advantage of going forward.

“If they’re
part of the Academy, they’re part of the club,” Cruz said of his younger
teammates. “We treat them like our own, and while we make fun of them a little,
which is expected when you’re a rookie, I think [the relationship’s] good.”

Darrell
Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at
@Dynamoexaminer.