On Thursday, the Houston Dynamo finally got some good news, as they officially received clearance from FIFA for forward Joseph Ngwenya to play for Houston once again. The Dynamo forward had been signed well over a month ago and will now officially be allowed to join Houston and will be available for selection this weekend against D.C. United.
“I’m excited to be back,” Ngwenya said after Thursday's training session. “Hopefully I can come in and help the team.”
“We’re glad to have Joe back,” said Coach Dominic Kinnear. “We think he can help us and contribute to what we hope will be a successful season.”
The former Dynamo forward last played for Houston in the 2007 MLS Cup final, where he scored a goal and helped the Dynamo win their second consecutive championship. After that season, Ngwenya left Houston and spent time in both Germany and Turkey.
When Ngwenya was signed on April 13, the hope was that the forward would be able to step in and contribute immediately. At the time, Houston had already suffered several injuries to its forwards. However, Ngwenya’s former Turkish club Antalyaspor withheld his international transfer certificate, delaying Houston’s ability to register and play the forward.
While forward Brian Ching is still away with the U.S. national team, forward Cam Weaver is on the brink of returning from his injury, and Luis Landin has returned to training. As a result, Kinnear may go from having only one healthy forward - Dominic Oduro - available on the roster to possibly having three or four for Saturday's match.
“[Having too many forwards] would be a nice [problem] to have,” noted Kinnear. “Not only that, but you have guys getting beat up and logging a lot of miles on the field. So to know you have guys available and you can look left or right at any particular moment and put guys in, it makes it more comforting.”
Since his signing, Ngwenya has been practicing regularly with the team. The month of practice has been good for the forward, as he has gotten some of the rust off. However, it was frustrating for Ngwenya to prepare each week knowing he could not help his team.
“It’s been frustrating,” said Ngwenya. “The Dynamo have been very patient with me.”
Now that he is officially able to return to the team, one might think there would be pressure on Ngwenya to perform, as the other forward options return to health, but he said just getting to play is excitement enough.
“There is no pressure,” explained Ngwenya. “Whenever you step on the field there is an expectation, but I am just looking forward to getting out there again.”
Dwain Capodice is a contributor to MLSsoccer.com. Questions or Comments can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.