HOUSTON – Dominic Kinnear had these times in mind when he was perusing a trade for Eric Brunner.
The Houston Dynamo head coach attempted to work a deal multiple times for the 6-foot-4 center back who was toiling away with the Portland Timbers. The reason: Kinnear knows the value of having depth in the middle of his back line.
Now, with Jermaine Taylor set to miss Sunday's match due to last weekend's red card, Brunner is expected to step into the lineup and pick up where the Jamaican international left off when the club takes the field Sunday at home against the Colorado Rapids.
“We knew when we made the trade it was going to be this way,” Kinnear told MLSsoccer.com. “We knew he was going to get to play and we knew from talking to people that he’d fit in the locker room. When he steps out on the field Sunday we know he’s going to be ready.”
“I’ve played enough games to how it is,” Brunner said. “Trainings are tough with a lot of game situations and coming out here and doing what I’ve been doing since the beginning of the season. I’m just going to come in and not overcomplicate things and just play how I play and go from there.”
Taylor has been a standout defender for the Dynamo over the past two seasons. The one-time Reggae Boyz captain has filled in nicely as the foil to Bobby Boswell since Geoff Cameron left for the Potteries of Stoke City.
Taylor’s normal absences come because of international duty, but this time it will come as a result of a red card issued for fouling Robert Earnshaw while both were racing for the ball last Saturday. The merits of the punishment are up for debate, although the reality is not.
“I think Jermaine made the right play,” center back Bobby Boswell said. “If I had done that same play I would’ve felt comfortable with what I did and wouldn’t have expected a foul or a card. Such is life. You’ve got to move on.
“I think [Eric’s] a gamer," Boswell continued. "He gets up for the games and he performs. Eric’s been around and he knows what he’s doing. He’ll be ready just like the rest of us.”
Brunner, a former starter in Portland and with the Columbus Crew, stepped in for Taylor for the final 28 minutes Saturday and helped Houston keep TFC from adding to their lead. He also played 90 minutes in a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps while Taylor was away on national team duty. Those appearances, plus his training work ethic has bred confidence that the Dynamo will not lose a step if he starts on Sunday.
“It’s been great,” Brunner said about his working with Boswell and the other center backs. “I think we all read the game very well and all communicate very well. Being able to mesh and get along with everyone off the field … that’s why I think we’re doing so well.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DarrellLovell.