HOUSTON – The Houston Dynamo’s defensive woes last week were tough to watch, for one person more than most.
As Houston struggled to keep Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact at bay, normal starting full back Jermaine Taylor was forced to watch as the club gave up seven goals, a franchise high for a two-game stretch. As possibly Houston’s most consistent and trustworthy defender nursed a strained hip flexor, he was forced to watch as the club struggled to plug the holes on the backline.
“It’s always going to be tough,” Taylor said about missing both matches. “As a player on the bench you always want to give yourself a chance to help and on the bench you can’t do much. All I can say is I can get ready and try and make myself available for the lineup so that we can be more solid at the back.”
Taylor looks to return for Saturday’s match as Houston host the Philadelphia Union (7:30 pm CT, watch on FOX Sports Houston and MultiMedios Houston), who have momentum after a 4-0 drubbing of Sporting Kansas City. Having their rock of a defender back will provide some confidence for a wounded defense, particularly against a team that seem to be finding their offensive rhythm.
“We call him ‘Bigs’ because he’s solid rock and a good defensive player,” Geoff Cameron said about his defensive mate. “He’s been a solid player all season. He’ll be good, he doesn’t miss a beat. He’s got great speed and awareness and is a solid player and we’re happy to have him back with the defense.”
While the Dynamo welcome reinforcements for their backline ahead of Saturday’s match, their defenders will be without their usual coverage. A red card suspension will keep holding midfielder Adam Moffat from taking up his post on the weekend, opening up an opportunity for the club’s bench to once again step up.
“There’re a couple guys we’re looking at,” head coach Dominic Kinnear told MLSsoccer.com. “Geoff can step in there with Jermaine in the back, Nate [Sturgis] can step in there and Warren [Creavalle’s] done well there in reserve games so there’s a couple guys we’re looking at.”
Quick start a must
Whoever mans the post in the back, the mission for the entire club will be to keep the Union at bay in the early going as the Dynamo look to reverse a trend of starting slowly.
“I think we’re giving teams too much at the beginning of the game,” Brad Davis told MLSsoccer.com. “We always seem to be crawling back into the games. Let’s see if we can make a team chase us instead of us trying to claw our way back into games. Let’s try and bury a team from the beginning instead of having to claw our back into games. That’s what I’d love to see.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.