Today’s weekly notebook focuses on an assortment of topics in advance of Houston’s upcoming game against the Chicago Fire.
The good news on the injury front is that forward Brian Ching continues to push forward with his recovery. Ching has been at practice this week running on the side, but still is unable to join the full team. With Ching joining Cam Weaver and Richard Mulrooney on the injury report, there are no real surprises. However, head coach Dominic Kinnear discussed the status of both Mulrooney and Weaver’s recovery.
“None of the injury guys will be joining us [in Chicago],” Kinnear said. “Brian Ching’s jogging. Cam Weaver’s not improving, which is unfortunate. [As for] Richard, we’re sticking to the timetable we set before two to four weeks.”
“[With Weaver and Mulrooney, the goal is] taking part in activities without feeling discomfort,” Kinnear noted. “We’re going slow with Richard because it’s a re-aggravation of the area that he had operated on before, and with Cam it happened five weeks ago so it’s taking a little while, but you would rather have them miss another week than two to three. So we’re being very cautious with their activity and their reaction to it.”
Landín at forward/Mullan at right mid or Mullan at forward/Ashe at right mid?
With forward Luis Ángel Landín coming off of suspension this week, the Dynamo starting lineup seems to come down to a simple decision between Landín at forward and Brian Mullan at right mid or Mullan at forward and Corey Ashe at right mid. Last week, the offense was at its most potent with Mullan playing at forward and Ashe on the right side of midfield.
Though Kinnear hasn’t made his mind up—and issues can always come up at the team’s final practice this week before the Fire game—Kinnear clearly has a preference.
“Luis comes off suspension,” Kinnear said. “The team played really well and we haven’t completely decided on it, but my mind is leaning towards the guys that played well on Saturday and let’s keep it going.”
Lessons Learned at HBU
Like the last game against Chivas USA, the Dynamo enter their next league game having recently played a scrimmage against their upcoming opponents in the preseason. Against the Fire, the Dynamo squared off at Houston Baptist University for an entertaining friendly that ended 1-1.
While the end result was irrelevant as it was a preseason game, the opportunity to have played their upcoming opponents not much more than a month ago allows both teams to have a better idea what to expect on Saturday night.
“It’s going to be difficult,” goalkeeper Pat Onstad said. “We saw that in preseason, so there won’t be too many surprises.”
Kinnear was quick to praise new Fire 'keeper Andrew Dykstra for his play in the preseason game.
“When we played the preseason game, he was one the positives of that game,” Kinnear said.
“[The advantage is that] you see guys,” Kinnear continued. “We’ve seen Collins John so seeing him on video and live it’s not a huge surprise. I think he’s getting better as the season progresses. It was a competitive game and you kind of understand what their players like individually.”