For the Houston Dynamo, the playoffs started weeks ago. With the Dynamo in a tight race for playoff position in the Eastern Conference, the club has engaged in some tough battles in the last month, most recently a hard-fought 1-1 draw with the Montreal Impact
Although the intensity is high and the players are eager to get back on the field, they will have to wait another week, as MLS is off this weekend due to a FIFA inspired break. The weekend off gives the players the opportunity to recharge their batteries.
“We’re putting a lot of effort in and everyone’s given everything they have,” said goalkeeper Tally Hall. “These games have been battles for us so we’re going to take advantage of this week, kind of heal up and get everyone back to 100 percent so we can have a little bit more fire within us to get the result and that run that we need.”
Outside of Brad Davis’ calf strain, the Dynamo are a healthy group despite the physical toll of the season being high. With that said, the weekend offers a welcomed mental break for a team with a lot of work left to do.
“I think an off weekend’s gonna be good," said forward Will Bruin. "It gives us more time to mentally prepare and get ready.
"[The season] takes a mental grind on you. I think an off week where you don’t have to be focused is good. We’re not going to have to travel next weekend so I think we’ll be good and come in ready [next game].”
It will not be a completely quiet week for the Dynamo. Houston's quartet of Andre Hainault, Boniek Garcia, Jermaine Taylor and Je-Vaughn Watson are currently with their respective national teams, working to ensure passage to the next round of World Cup qualifying.
“You just wish the international guys would catch a break as well,” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. “It’s 34 games and these internationals and you have CONCACAF so some of these guys are playing 40 or 50 games a year. Every game, you’re trying to get up to play your best, physically and mentally. It can be draining.”
The Dynamo have two reserve games this week (Wednesay at RSL; Saturday home to Chicago) before returning to MLS play October 20 when they host the Philadelphia Union.
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @DarrellLovell.