With four matches remaining in the MLS season and the hunt for the playoffs in full swing, the Houston Dynamo are going to want all hands on deck, and it looks like they may get their wish.
There is a strong possibility that Brian Ching will return to action this weekend, while Adam Moffat has also been cleared to play. Ching missed the last two matches — a 2-2 draw with the Columbus Crew on Sept. 14 and 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Sept. 17 — with an adductor strain picked up Sept. 10 against Sporting Kansas City.
“It's good,” Ching said of the injury. “I put in a good week of practice this week and feel 100 percent and am just looking forward to getting back out there.”
A veteran of rehabilitation, Ching has hurried to get back to full strength to be ready for the home stretch. After a strong week of training, one of the club’s leading scorers looks primed for a return when the Dynamo face FC Dallas on the road on Saturday.
“[Ching] holds the ball up well and has been a good player for us,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “He’s good in and around the box, and he’s a smart guy, smart player on the field. … It’s good for us to have him available.”
Moffat missed training on Monday and Tuesday due to lingering issues from a blow to the head received late in the win over San Jose. Now cleared to return to full action, the player who has become a rock in Houston’s midfield was back at training Thursday.
“You never know with these injuries,” Kinnear said. “You never know until the doctors feel good about him playing. He’s been a good pick-up. He has a bite in midfield; he’s positionally smart and moves the ball well. We’ll have to see how he feels tomorrow … but we’re optimistic for Saturday.”
While getting Ching and Moffat back could provide immediate dividends this weekend, Houston could get more good news regarding injuries next week. Rookie Alex Dixon, who has been sidelined since suffering a fractured finger in a reserve game on Sept. 1, could return to training next week. His comeback will provide depth and speed to the Dynamo attack.
“I get the pins out tomorrow and get to start working back,” Dixon said after Thursday's training. “I think next week I’ll be back at full training, hopefully. It’s been three weeks of doing nothing, so yeah, I’m excited.”
With the season coming down to the wire and with everything on the line, the Dynamo look to be getting stronger, which bodes well for their playoff chances.
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.