When head coach Dominic Kinnear revamps the Houston Dynamo during the offseason, he will be faced with several difficult decisions, including who to protect in the upcoming expansion draft. Houston’s last three games of the season are an opportunity for players to make a case for protection. For the last two games, back-line fill-ins Ryan Cochrane and Adrian Serioux have been pleading theirs.
Normal starting center back Bobby Boswell was suspended for the Sept. 25 match with D.C. United, so Kinnear turned to Cochrane and Serioux to fill in on a short-term basis. The Dynamo ran out to a 3-1 win over United at RFK stadium, and Kinnear responded in typical fashion by keeping most of the starting 11 intact. For Cochrane and Serioux, that meant a second straight start, this time against the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park last Saturday.
“I thought as the game wore on they got better,” Kinnear said of the duo’s performance against the Union. “They handled it well, and the goal was a hard goal to defend.”
While Cochrane and Serioux have both played in 11 league games this year, prior to the contest against DC. Cochrane had only started twice in MLS and Serioux four times this season. For two players that have started more often than not over the past four years, the decrease in playing time has required an adjustment.
“It’s one of those things that you just have to wait your turn,” Serioux said. “You want your opportunity to show what you can do, and I’m thankful I’ve been given those opportunities [lately]. Unfortunately, we don’t have hope at reaching the playoffs, but we still have to go out there and ruin other team’s chances.”
Both will be hoping to play their way into Houston’s plans for next year after a disappointing 2010 campaign that has seen them take 27 points from 27 games.
“I think anytime you get a chance to play it’s important,” Cochrane said. “I’ve been with [Kinnear] since 2004, so I don’t think three or four games would sway his opinion one way or the other, but with how things have gone, hopefully I can do my best to take advantage of it.”
“Everyone wants to come back, but at the end of the day, someone is out there trying to take your job,” Serioux added. “These last three games are very important for guys who maybe don’t get to play all that much.”
Dwain Capodice is a contributor to MLSsoccer.com. Questions or Comments can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.