Jonathan Kaplan / HoustonDynamo.com

Kinnear pleased with Arizona trip

After last season’s disappointing campaign, the Houston Dynamo entered this preseason looking to prove that 2010 was an aberration. With four games against MLS competition in the books, head coach Dominic Kinnear is pleased with the state of his club and the attitude his players have shown. 

“I thought the team played great,” Kinnear said of the Dynamo’s week-long trip to Phoenix. “We got some good results out of it, and we scored some good goals. Overall I think it was good for us to get away and play some good competition.”

The Dynamo arrived in Phoenix Monday night, and had little time to get settled before taking on Sporting Kansas City, Tuesday morning. The hour time difference did not affect Houston, as the Dynamo applied consistent pressure on Sporting KC en route to a 3-1 victory over their Eastern Conference foe.

After a training session on Wednesday at Reach 11 Sports Complex, Houston returned to action on Thursday for a match against Columbus. The Dynamo continued to build momentum, as they defeated the Crew 4-2. Although the Dynamo have scored 11 goals in their first four games against MLS competition, only one has been scored by the Dynamo during the run of play; others have been own goals, free kicks, or penalty kicks. While that stat might be alarming to some, it does not concern the Dynamo head coach.

“I don’t care how the goals are scored, as long as the goals are scored,” he said.

On Saturday, the Dynamo made the hour-long trek into the desert to face the Portland Timbers at the Grande Sports World in Casa Grande, Ariz. With winds upward of 50 miles per hour and dirt swirling around the field, the two teams ended the scoreless game in the 83rd minute, neither team able to muster much offense through the blistering winds. Although Kinnear was pleased to exit Arizona with a 2-0-1 record, he is more happy to look at his squad and see as many healthy bodies leaving Arizona as entered.

“As long as we are a healthy crew, that is the most important thing so far,” he said. “I’m happy with the way preseason is set up with all the competitive games we have, and I’m happy with the attitude the players have shown so far. It’s always good to have this attitude, whether it’s during preseason or the regular season.”

The past week also afforded Kinnear the opportunity to see more games against MLS competition from two Jamaican trialists, JeVaughn Watson and Richard Edwards. Watson performed well against Sporting KC and Columbus but was unable to play against Portland after flying home to Jamaica to attend to a sick relative. Edwards will be with the club through the coming week and will have more opportunities to impress Kinnear and the coaching staff.

After returning to Houston Saturday night, the Dynamo will have a day to un-pack their things, do laundry, and re-pack before heading to Orlando tomorrow for the Disney Classic. Houston will first scrimmage Seattle on Tuesday morning. The tournament starts Thursday when Houston takes on Toronto FC, with the winner of that match playing Saturday against the winner of FC Dallas and Orlando City. The two losing squads will also play in a consolation match Saturday afternoon. Thursday’s game against Toronto will kick off at 7 p.m. CT and can be seen live on MLSsoccer.com. Saturday's game can be seen on ESPN3.com.

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