Season ending injuries, World Cup call-ups, red card suspensions, long-term injuries -- you name it and the Houston Dynamo have dealt with it in the first three months of the 2014 season.
The club has dressed less than a full 18-man team the past four games and has dipped into their loan roster with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. With the summer transfer window approaching and a roster that is shrinking seemingly by the week, moves may be needed to supplement the roster out of necessity, if nothing else.
While the needs are apparent, the club is not letting them affect their strategy going forward.
“I think when you’re facing challenging times like we are you have to take a step back, put your emotion aside and evaluate the situation in a practical matter and make sure … you make prudent decisions going forward,” club president Chris Canetti told MLSsoccer.com Tuesday.
“We’re in a challenging time right now [and] that’s what we’re doing; we’re trying to assess the situation with practicality and put together a game plan to make sure we can fix it.”
That type of pragmatic approach requires patience.
Houston has games against the Colorado Rapids (Sunday, 8 pm CT; CSN) and Sporting Kansas City before a three-week World Cup break from MLS play. Getting there may provide some respite from their current woes.
If Houston can manage until the break it will provide time for Ricardo Clark, who has been out six games with a concussion, to heal and allow Eric Brunner to further recover from ankle surgery. It will also bring them closer to the return of World Cup-bound Brad Davis and Boniek García.
“They’re all MVP-type players,” Canetti said of the trio of Clark, Davis and García. “To be missing all three of them is obviously a huge challenge. We’re going to try and survive the short-term and get those guys back and see what we can do when we have them.”
It is a sound strategy.
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However, season ending knee injuries to Mark Sherrod and Tony Cascio could point the club towards a move to address those losses. However, bringing someone from outside the club would likely require maneuvering under the salary cap.
Still, Houston has not been shy in making additions. Bringing in new blood could be the shot in the arm the Dynamo need to push back up the standings and that move could come at any time.
“We always try and do one thing and one thing only, that’s if we have a chance to improve the team today or tomorrow then obviously we’ll look at it,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear. “Our eyes are open, our ears are open and if nothing happens that’s the way it goes, if something happens you have to take a look at it.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.