Dynamo trying to regroup after consecutive losses
You won't find it in Merriam-Webster, but it's a word that perfectly sums up the Dynamo's target this week: bouncebackability.
Popularized by the former manager of England's Crystal Palace club in 2004 and quickly adopted into the UK's soccer lexicon, the definition is simple: the capacity to rebound quickly from the disappointment of defeat.
It's a vital quality for any ambitious team and one the Dynamo are eager to demonstrate this Saturday against Vancouver Whitecaps at BBVA Compass Stadium.
After two wins to start the season, the past week brought two high-profile losses, to Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals last Wednesday and FC Dallas in the Texas Derby last Sunday.
Vancouver have begun the season with a pair of MLS victories and made an eye-catching signing last month in former Premier League midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker. But there are good reasons to expect the Dynamo to bounce back. True, the team will be missing Brad Davis, Boniek Garcia and Jermaine Taylor, who are on World Cup qualifier duty with the United States, Honduras and Jamaica respectively. In addition, strikers Will Bruin and Cam Weaver are nursing injuries they picked up in Frisco.
But the Dynamo have depth and offseason acquisitions Andrew Driver, Omar Cummings and Eric Brunner could play important roles against the Canadian club. Cummings has yet to feature for the first-team after undergoing knee surgery in January but the striker is edging closer to match fitness and has 61 minutes of reserve-team action under his belt.
Aside from the deep bench, statistics are on Houston's side. Dominic Kinnear's men have not lost three matches in a row since September 2010. Then there's the small matter of a home unbeaten streak in all competitions that now stands at 32 games, two behind Real Salt Lake's all-time record.
And the Dynamo proved their powers of recovery in a wild second half against Dallas, coming back from a 2-0 deficit at the break to tie the game through goals from Driver and Brad Davis before Kenny Cooper's disputed late winner settled the contest against the run of play.
"It always hurts to lose to them considering the rivalry we have with them and to lose in the last minute of a game is heartbreaking at times," striker Brian Ching told HoustonDynamo.com after training on Tuesday. "It's something that I thought the team has shaken off pretty well, we look focused to get back on the field.
"It's going to be a difficult game, we're missing some of our key guys, Jermaine and Boniek, and Will going down with an injury - but having said that this team's always gotten on with call-ups and things in the past."
Ching believes the absences are an ideal opportunity for the newcomers to showcase their potential.
"This is a chance for these guys to step in and compete for starting spots. Dom brought them in to play, not to sit on the bench and be back-ups," he said.
"I think Andrew's done a great job of acclimatizing himself already, he's come on and given us great minutes to this point and I think we're all excited to see Omar. We know he's a proven commodity in this league, he's a guy that's gotten along well with us in preseason. We know he's a little frustrated that he got injured in preseason so we know he's got that drive to get out there and hopefully continue the success that he's had so far in the league."