Hainault, Taylor developing partnership

Center back duo has shown it can be productive despite bumpy patches

It has been two games and two tough road draws since Houston Dynamo
head coach Dominic Kinnear made sweeping changes in his lineup.

One of the more notable alterations was inserting offseason signing
Jermaine Taylor at center back to partner defensive stalwart Andre
Hainault
. Three starts into the partnership – the pairing debuted
against FC Dallas May 28 – they have shown they can be productive
despite some bumpy patches.

“Overall, it’s gone pretty well,” Hainault said. “We played together
before in preseason and in training games, so it wasn’t too bad. [Taylor
is] an athletic guy who can cover a lot of space and is good in the
air, so it’s not much different than playing with the other guys on the
team.”

Added Taylor, “Last time we played against Dallas, we did well in terms
of positioning and keeping the ball and staying compact and organized,
so Dom decided to put us together, and I think overall we’ve done well.”

Coming into the season, Taylor was pegged to be a day-one starter next
to Bobby Boswell. The former St. George's SC defender proved the theory
right when he started the first match of the season next to Boswell.
Hainault, meanwhile, started at left back, the position many predicted
him to play.

However, a plantar fasciitis injury Taylor suffered while on Jamaican
national team duty opened the door for Hainault to move inside to his original position in the middle, where
he has put down roots. The injury setback, plus the two
players’ participation in this summer’s Gold Cup – Hainault with Canada
and Taylor with Jamaica – has kept the pair from being in the starting
lineup together for much of the first half of the season.

With both players back with the Dynamo and with a clean bill of health,
Kinnear looks ready to stick with his pair of international defenders
and let them work out the details of their partnership, mainly in the
distribution and organization departments.

“They’re both internationals and are coming off a good Gold Cup where
they showed they’re both strong and physical,” Kinnear said. “I think
they do need to talk more, but I think Jermaine showed some good pace
Saturday, and Andre’s very confident on the ball and plays 100 miles an
hour the whole time, which is good.”

After three draws in three starts for the duo, Kinnear & Co. are
certainly feeling good about the move to put the international starters
together in the middle of the back line. Going forward, the task is to
improve on their play, as the Dynamo’s success for the rest of the
season is likely to hang on how well Hainault and Taylor can solidify
the back line.

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