HOUSTON – In all of 2012, the Houston Dynamo saw just one red card. In a two-game span in 2013, the Dynamo have managed to double that number as both Jermaine Taylor and Brad Davis have seen ejections.
Heading into a tough stretch of three games in eight days, the Dynamo will now have to deal with one more obstacle in their way.
“It happens during the season and you wish it wouldn’t.,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “Last season, we only got one red card during the entire year. It’s easier to play that way and easier to prepare.”
The red cards have led to a bit of a revolving door lineup that, with the help of injuries, has led to a different cast of characters taking the field. Houston had to deal with missing Taylor against Colorado last weekend. Without the Jamaican national team center back in the mix, the Rapids threw numbers forward and tried to pressure the Dynamo backline with some success.
“It’s just a matter of organizing, talking and when all else fails, just working hard,” said Tally Hall. “It’s difficult to be organized and on top of the game every game. That’s the goal. That’s what we work for, but every time we step out on the field it’s different.”
Making matters worse in this case is the fashion in which the club took both suspensions.
Two weeks ago it was Jermaine Taylor who saw red on a controversial foul that looked, on replay, to be shoulder-to-shoulder with Toronto FC forward Robert Earnshaw. However, Taylor was shown red when the forward went down.
Last week, it was Davis, a player that had seen red just three times previously in his 13-year career, who drew the ejection. Already on a yellow card for dissent, Davis slid in on Nathan Sturgis and caught him with his trail leg. The referee reached for his back pocket the moment he blew the whistle.
“If you look at the two incidences, the ball’s there to be won for Brad and for Jermaine and you kind of question the other person’s theatrical skills,” Dynamo forward Giles Barnes said. “But that’s the rub of the green. You’ve just got to carry on.”
While you can make a case that neither red card was deserved, the reality of the situation is the Dynamo will have to move on. While Taylor’s absence came against the Colorado Rapids, a team in flux, the Dynamo will manage their second red card against, arguably, the hottest team in the league, the LA Galaxy.
The good news is that the Dynamo have learned a lot about their depth early in the season.
“We’ve got a squad that’s very strong and it just means someone else has got an opportunity,” said Andrew Driver, who has started the past four games on the right flank. “With any luck I’ll be able to step up. If you’ve got a big squad, a strong squad, it’s no use being that just on paper. You’ve got to go out and prove it.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DarrellLovell.