The Houston Dynamo will be without key starters Boniek García and Luis Garrido for their crucial matchup against Toronto FC on Wednesday night and a weekend clash against D.C. United after they were called up by the Honduran national team.
The two players left the club Sunday, a day after a tough 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls put the team eight points back of the playoffs with four games to play. Los Catrachos will take on Mexico on Oct. 10 and the United States on Oct. 14.
Called in by new coach Hernan Medford, the pair chose to join the national team, leaving the Dynamo short during the most important time of the season.
“It took us by surprise,” García told MLSsoccer.com through a translator. “With the new process with Hernan Medford at the helm we didn’t expect to be called up this early in the game. Politically it made sense to accept the call-up and the fact that we’re being called up during a FIFA date. When it’s a FIFA date there’s more of a duty to accept the call-up.”
When asked about the reason for the surprise, Garcia said the nation’s recent rough Centroamericana Cup likely contributed to a more experienced group being called in for the upcoming friendlies. And the Dynamo are not allowed to hold the pair back from a call-up on a FIFA international date.
“When you have a new coach and he calls you up for the first time you want to try and start the relationship on the right foot,” Garcia said. “Turning down a call-up might mean difficulties later in getting a call-up with that coach.”
Dynamo history validates his concern. Former Houston player Andre Hainault turned down a call from Canada to help the Dynamo’s 2011 playoff push, and that ruffled some feathers with his national team. They later cleared the air and Hainault was back in the team soon after.
MLS’s scheduling games during FIFA international dates has been a running debate. While weekend games around FIFA dates sometimes fall under the cost of doing business in MLS, Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear admitted he would welcome a scheduling change in the future.
“We would because it affects us the most,” Kinnear said. “We have a crowded schedule and we’re missing some important players.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.