There are times each season when a team's mettle is tested. The Dynamo already went through it once this season when they played three games in eight days in three cities. Although the stretch ended with a home loss to Sporting Kansas City, the Dynamo came away with a more than respectable six out of possible nine points.
Now, the Dynamo are faced with another difficult task that began on Sunday and will continue tomorrow.
After playing to a 1-1 draw against Sporting KC on Sunday afternoon, the Dynamo will host PDL club FC Tucson Wednesday night in the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Houston will then have two days to prepare for a Saturday night match in Ohio against the Columbus Crew. To top it all off, the Dynamo Reserves will play the Crew Reserves Sunday morning to make it four games in eight days for the club.
"It’s funny when you look back at the times when this team in its history has really come together," said goalkeeper Tally Hall. "It hasn’t been when we’ve had all the players available. It’s usually when we need guys to step up."
"Stepping up" is a phrase that will be heard a lot at Dynamo camp this week. For Wednesday's match against Tucson, the Dynamo will be without midfielders Brad Davis and Boniek Garcia due to national team duty. Jermaine Taylor and Corey Ashe are also questionable with respective groin injuries. Ashe was forced out of Sunday's game against Kansas City and withdrew from this week's national team camp. Add those names to an injured list that already features Calen Carr, Omar Cummings and Cam Weaver, and the Dynamo will have to rely on its depth to get through the four-game week.
Dominic Kinnear will call up five Dynamo Academy players to assist the reserves on Sunday, but the Dynamo's entire first team will be asked to "step up" and help Houston advance through the Open Cup as well as continue the team's road unbeaten streak on Saturday.
"In these moments, when your backs are against the wall, you figure out how good of a season you’ll have," Hall added. "We’ve been in this position before and guys have stepped up. We also know that other teams are missing guys to injuries and international duty. Yeah, we’re getting hit a little harder than most, but that’s something we can handle. This team’s success speaks for itself."