With a second consecutive home game looming on Saturday, the Dynamo are maintaining their level of intensity in training sessions this week in the hopes of notching back-to-back wins for the first time all season. Saturday's contest against Philadelphia (7:30 p.m.) will kick off a stretch of three games in eight days - Houston's second such stretch already this year - and holds extra significance as the Dynamo's final home contest before the World Cup break.
At Tuesday's training, under typically scorching Houston heat, the Dynamo ran through several six-minute sessions of half-field 11 v. 11 games before wrapping up at the end of a normal 90-minute session. However, when assistant coach John Spencer called several of the younger players over for extra conditioning, the entire squad volunteeerd to stay around to participate.
That meant 15-20 more minutes of short-range sprints for all the field players, with Spencer, head coach Dominic Kinnear, and first-year assistant coach Wade Barrett all yelling encouragement. With a home-field advantage like the Houston heat, Dynamo players intend to be prepared. The regimen also showcased the players' commitment to each other, as most players made a point of slapping hands with each other player once the running had finally come to a halt.
The conditioning had to be an eye-opener for one of the less familiar faces in training, Dynamo Academy midfielder Josue Soto. Currently between his junior and senior years at SMU, Soto was one of the first players to join the Dynamo Academy in early 2007 and is part of the Academy's first class to rise to be college seniors. He and SMU teammate Pana Vasquez (Cy Falls H.S.) have been invited to join first-team training sessions at times this summer, and other Academy players could follow suit. Vasquez is slated to begin training next week.
The left-footed Soto played central midfield for one team - made up mostly of non-starters from Saturday - alongside Sammy Appiah and had two standout moments in the session, once setting up Bobby Boswell for a goal with a well-weighted pass and another time creating space to fire a shot from the top of the box that went just wide.
Canadians Andrew Hainault and Pat Onstad (national team) and Adrian Serioux (personal) remained absent from training, but Hainault and Onstad are expected back for Thursday's practice session. Geoff Cameron was also on hand Tuesday, walking on crutches.
In related news, Dominic Oduro did extra finishing after practice and reports that his shoes are still HOT from Saturday's goal. Vote now for Oduro (or Danny Cruz) for Goal of the Week.
The players also lined up a few media appointments, with Boswell, Mike Chabala, and Craig Waibel slated to appear on FOX 26 tomorrow morning at 7:40 a.m. (told you they had the day off). Two of those guys also have events going at noon, with Waibel kicking field goals with the Texans' Kris Brown and Chabala getting his head shaved by child cancer patients. Remember, Bald is Beautiful!