HOUSTON – The Houston Dynamo's midfield depth will be tested again on Sunday in their MLS Cup 2012 rematch with the LA Galaxy (10 pm CT, ESPN2, live chat on MLSsoccer.com).
With Brad Davis out due to a red-card suspension from his tackle on Nathan Sturgis last weekend, the favorite to take his place at The Home Depot Center is Andrew Driver.
“I think it’s a pretty simple adjustment with Andrew who can play on the left,” head coach Dominic Kinnear told reporters on Saturday. “He’s comfortable out there and it seems pretty logical that may happen.”
Added Driver: “[It] goes without saying what Brad brings to the team. He’s one of our main creative forces. We’ve got a squad that’s very strong and it just means someone else has got an opportunity. Hopefully it’s a chance for me again.”
The newcomer has seen more time than anyone could have imagined due to injuries and international absences. Driver has appeared in seven games, starting five, and has provided a frantic pace of play and one goal and one assist.
His play’s instilled a sense of confidence that has his coach and teammates convinced there will be no drop off.
While Driver is a ready-made replacement for Davis, Houston will do a little give-and-take in the center of the pitch. Adam Moffat returned to training Friday after missing the Colorado Rapids game with a hamstring injury.
“I feel ready to get in the game,” he told MLSsoccer.com. “Hamstring injuries can feel gone and then come back so we’re a little bit cautious. I know we’ve got a busy schedule this week and we’ll see how it feels after this game.”
The in-and-out nature of the Houston midfield lately has the club relying on chemistry and familiarity. But rhythm is something the club is hoping to pick up quick when they play on the expansive field at the HDC.
“You don’t want massive gaps because that’s what they’re looking for,” Moffat said. “I know there’s been guys coming in and coming out. … Maybe there’s a little bit to the rhythm but we know what we’re good at and know our strength. We can get it going.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.