Containing LaBrocca key against Chivas USA

Dynamo need points on the road, hope to shut down All-Star midfielder

HOU_20110611_Thorne_11_Clark_LaBrocca

Photo Credit: 
Wilf Thorne/Houston Dynamo

After a mid-week match against Bolton Wanderers, the Dynamo
return to MLS play on Saturday against a team in a very similar situation to head
coach Dominic Kinnear’s group.

The Dynamo travel to Los Angeles to face Chivas USA, who - like the Dynamo - are on a four-game unbeaten streak and working their
way into the playoff picture. Houston is currently on 24 points, tied with San Jose for the final two playoff spots one
point ahead of Chivas USA and two other teams entering 
their matchup on Saturday (9:30 p.m., KHOU 11.2, FOX Sports Houston Plus, SportsTalk 790, La Ranchera 850).

“[This game’s] very important,” said Dynamo All-Star midfielder Brad
Davis
. “We’re at a point in the season where we need to start picking up
points for the playoff run.”

To stay on their unbeaten streak, the Dynamo will have to overcome a
Chivas team that has picked up the pace recently under first-year head
coach Robin Fraser. A big part of that has been the outstanding play of
Nick LaBrocca, the All-Star midfielder and engine that drives the Chivas
attack.

“He finds the ball well, especially working off their forwards,” said
Dynamo midfielder and fellow All-Star Geoff Cameron. “You have to be
aware of his movement, because he likes the ball at his feet. We have to
be aware of him on and off the ball, but if we control the game
possession-wise, we’ll do well.”

Kinnear has emphasized winning the possession battle as a key for the Dynamo in the last few weeks.

“Possession is always a key,” Kinnear said. “They have a lot of
mobility, and you have to stay with runners. Our forwards have to be good
at holding the ball up, and sometimes we have to play in behind them and
stretch them.”

The Dynamo will have to execute that game plan without the services of
Brian Ching
and Colin Clark, who will be serving one-game suspensions
stemming from their ejections against Sporting Kansas City last time
out. But while Ching and Clark are out, the club could have the services of
Jermaine Taylor
. After undergoing testing for concussion-like symptoms following a collision
against Kansas City, the defender was back on the training field Thursday
morning and traveled with the club to LA.

Regardless of the personnel, this weekend’s match is another step in
the Dynamo’s march to improve their position for the MLS playoffs.

“We put ourselves in a good position last game, and we’ve been getting
some good results,” Davis said. “We’ve got to make a push and start
getting three points to put ourselves in a good position come playoff
time.”

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