All things being equal, the upcoming international break could have been a lot worse for the Houston Dynamo, who stood to lose three or more players to international call-ups smack in the middle of the two legs of the Eastern Conference Championship.
That said, they'll still be holding their breath as key attacker Boniek García – the only player on the squad to receive a national team call – reports for Honduras duty.
“We’ll just see how it goes,” head coach Dominic Kinnear told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Monday. “I hope everyone’s smart enough to realize how important our game is. We all know their games are important. We have a good relationship with [Honduras head coach Luis Fernando] Suárez, and we want to make sure Boniek is available for both teams and can play his best for both teams.”
The good news is that García won't be going far for Honduras' pair of friendlies – vs. Brazil in Miami on Saturday, then against Ecuador on Nov. 19 in the friendly confines of BBVA Compass Stadium. Adding international games to an already crowded playoff slate will be tough for the dynamic midfielder, who has played every minute of the Dynamo’s last five games, which have taken place in just 15 days.
“I thought the guy was ready to play another 90 minutes after the game on Saturday,” Hall told MLSsoccer.com on Monday, two days after a hard-fought 0-0 draw with Sporting KC in the first leg of the Eastern Conference Championship. “A lot of guys can run, and they keep running, but their effectiveness dissipates. He’s the kind of guy that can be tired, but his sharpness on the ball doesn’t really change."
“I mean this in the best way possible, but he’s a freak when it comes to his work rate,” Hall continued. “He’s a guy that, fortunately for us, can handle a little extra workload. He’s going to come back and be 100 percent for the Dynamo.”
The worry, at least in the US media, was mostly centered on Klinsmann’s comments that he would take anyone considering MLS working “hand in hand” with their scheduling decision. Still, Davis – along with Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman and Sporting’s Matt Besler and Graham Zusi – were spared.
“It’s not just playing, it’s traveling,” Kinnear said. “This trip for the US team’s big travel with Scotland and Austria away. ... I think, all in all, Jurgen Klinsmann was very kind by leaving the players behind for this trip.”
Houston will return to work Wednesday as they work towards another do-or-die game to extend their season Nov. 23 when they travel to Sporting Park to settle an even series, 0-0, with SKC.
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.