Mother Nature was on Houston’s side this morning, as the Dynamo took the field for the fourth day of preseason under a clear sky and cool temperatures. After two training sessions yesterday, one of which focused on conditioning, head coach Dominic Kinnear and the coaching staff dug into their bag of tricks and devised a series of relay races.
“The races are a lot of fun,” Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell said. “There is hidden ball work involved, and it also serves as a test of our fitness.”
The course was devised with six cones per team spread over 30 yards, with four players on each team. The races varied, but some drills involved dribbling to one or two cones, while others involved weaving through all six. In addition, certain races required players to chip long balls to each other, while others required players to stop the ball on a specific line. After approximately 20 races, the group of Corey Ashe, Alex Dixon, Hunter Freeman, and Will Bruin won the proverbial Supporters’ Shield, having finished first the most number of times. As is custom in American sports, an additional race was held as a playoff, and the veteran group of Brad Davis, Eddie Robinson, Andrew Hainault, and assistant coach Steve Ralston took the crown.
“We are having fun, but at the same time we all want to win, and guys are calling each other out for cheating,” Boswell said. “It’s that old saying, ‘If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying,’ and I am quick to point if guys are cheating. When it comes to games, no one wants to lose, and we carry that same mentality in the races.”
With only seven weeks till opening day, Kinnear is faced with integrating his new players into the mix while preparing the squad to face the Philadelphia Union on March 19. Boswell believes the team has gelled well over the past four days and is excited about the prospects for the coming weeks.
“I think the first week is always tough with everyone at different fitness levels, but our coaches are good at easing into it,” he said. “There is a learning curve for the new guys, because they don’t always know what to expect, but Dom never throws guys right into the grinder. We also have a pretty helpful group of older guys trying to make it better. This year is exciting, because it’s a new group and we are excited to see who can do what.”