For the second time this season the Houston Dynamo are coming off a two week break from MLS play. The trick with prolonged layoffs is to utilize the time off but also stay sharp and focused.
While the break certainly helped the squad from a health standpoint, and minimized the impact of missing key players Brad Davis and Boniek Garcia due to international duty, the club worked to keep fit and sharp over their layoff.
“It’s good and bad. It helps guys who’ve been out and need time, but at the same time, you kind of lose that flow,” said left back Corey Ashe. “It’s been a long two weeks, but it’s been a good two weeks of training though and I think we’ll be good to go.”
Earlier this season Houston had two weeks off from MLS play due to CONCACAF Champions League action. On return the club dropped a heartbreaking 3-2 result to F.C. Dallas. With CCL action staying sharp wasn’t an issue. This time they’ll be looking to avoid any rust that may have crept in.
Houston feels they’ve done the necessary work in the past 18 days to extend that unbeaten mark after a prolonged break. The club has taken advantage of the time off by spending time in 11-v-11 scrimmages and putting on some challenging and spirited training sessions.
They’ve also had two games in that span of time to help keep the rust off. Houston lost to the Charleston Battery in reserve play and dropped a 3-0 loss to FC Dallas in U.S. Open Cup play in the last two weeks. Those two games have helped in two weeks where the club has pushed each other stay sharp to continue their MLS run.
“We’ve done our job in terms of training pretty hard. We’ve had a week or two of training tough and getting after each other,” said center back Bobby Boswell. “I think there'll be a little bit [of rust], but I think we’ve been playing 11-v-11 in practice for that reason. We don’t want any excuses. We know what we have to do and we just have to go out there and take care of business.”
Added head coach Dominic Kinnear: “I think we’ve had a couple of good practices and the guys look sharp. Games are different than practices, but these guys have been preparing to step on the field and win the game.“
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com