The Dynamo received a wintry welcome to the Philadelphia area as they trained at PPL Park in Chester, Pa., on Saturday, with rain and even some freezing rain pelting the club during its pre-game training session. Despite the conditions, the Dynamo trained for about 90 minutes - relatively long for a pre-game session - and are in good spirits ahead of Sunday's playoff opener.
After flying into Philadelphia Friday night and enjoying a team meal together, the Dynamo reconvened for a 2 p.m. training session on Saturday. Following the St. Louis Cardinals' victory in Game 7 of the Major League Baseball World Series on Friday, St. Louis-area natives Will Bruin, Brad Davis, and Steve Ralston enjoyed bragging rights for the day over Texas native Hunter Freeman.
The blustery conditions -- had players and coaches bundled up in parkas, knit hats, and gloves, but some -- such as Quebec native Andre Hainault, Gig Harbor, Wash.-raised Tally Hall, and proud Bostonian Geoff Cameron - were more at home than others.
"It was a good East Coast welcoming with cold, wet, and rainy conditions," Cameron said with a smile. "It's always good to come back and realize, 'Hey, it's starting to get close to winter.' It reminds you of it being playoff time."
Playoff time is familiar for several Dynamo players - Houston's roster includes seven players who saw action in the 2009 Western Conference final against the LA Galaxy - but the club is the youngest team to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs, so the postseason will be a new environment for a few come Sunday afternoon. Nevertheless, the training session was a familiar Dynamo routine, and Cameron said the conditions should not be a problem.
"Guys were cold, but once you get out there, get warmed up, and you're running around, you don't really feel it and it doesn't bother you," Cameron said. "We're looking forward to the game tomorrow. it's supposed to be a little warmer and less wet and cold, so we'll hopefully be able to move the ball well tomorrow."
While snow has fallen in several Northeastern states, it has not yet begun to accumulate in Pennsylvania. In any case, conditions on Sunday call for sunny skies and temperatures near 41 degrees for the 5 p.m. Eastern Time kickoff. By contrast, temperatures are expected to reach 80 degrees in Houston next week, with likely game-time temperatures in the 60s on Thursday.