Life without Brad Davis, however long that may be, has started for the Houston Dynamo.
The US international is in California chasing a World Cup roster berth, and in his place is a big hole in production the club must fill. It is a chance for a number of players to chip in, but the player who will have eyes on him as a possible replacement will be Andrew Driver.
In 10 starts, Driver has been a mainstay for Houston playing mainly on the flanks. Davis has manned a central midfield role in recent weeks, so Driver will not be a like for like replacement if the Dynamo stick with their current three-man front line.
Driver, however, will not carry the whole load in replacing Davis; that will need to be a team effort. But with his experience, he’ll be looked at to be one of the main contributors to help replace the Dynamo’s engine, starting with Saturday's home game against the LA Galaxy (7:30 p.m. CT; TICKETS)
“It’s not about extra individual pressure, its pressure as a whole,” Driver said of replacing Davis. “There’s no extra pressure. We’ve got to perform better as a team to make up for that because he’s obviously a big loss.”
A mainstay with the Dynamo since last season, there’s no questioning Driver’s comfort in the squad.
And even though he’s yet to open his scoring account this season, the good news is he’s found better chances than he did at the end of last year. Against the New York Red Bulls and Philadelphia Union he was in prime spots, but it was not to be.
“You can get down about missing chances, but the positive thing for me personally is that I’m getting into those chances and I just need to start putting them away,” Driver said. “I’ve taken the positives out of it and I’ve just to work on my game to get the reward.”
Driver’s teammates are comfortable with what he brings and confident in his ability.
“We have a great understanding of each other and I love playing with him,” said Driver’s left-side partner Corey Ashe. “It makes my job easier to have a player of his caliber on my side. He’s a dynamic player, he’s quick and gets the ball off his foot. If we can get him the ball in dangerous areas and let him do what he does it will definitely be beneficial for us.”
Said goalkeeper Tally Hall: “There’s some intangibles that he creates that might be difficult to see, but the team sees them. He’s a good player, he’s intense and he’s going to give 90 minutes of 100 percent effort and that goes a long ways. I like him being on the field.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.