Mike Chabala has become a mainstay for the Dynamo at left back.
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Houston without its "good-looking" back

The struggling Houston Dynamo defense will be shorthanded this weekend, as starting left back Mike Chabala serves a suspension for yellow card accumulation. But center back Bobby Boswell does not sound all that worried, joking that the impact of Chabala’s loss will be less athletic than aesthetic.

“Chewy is the good looking one in the back,” Boswell deadpanned. “Having a guy out that looks that good will just make us more rugged. Seriously though, he’s been good for us, but suspensions happen. There is no real way to replace him, as it is just getting someone else on the field that can get the job done. It is unfortunate that he won’t be there, but such is life in soccer.”

Further complicating Chabala’s suspension heading into Saturday's match at the New England Revolution are injuries that have affected the team’s defensive depth. Adrian Serioux is still hindered by the hamstring strain he suffered in SuperLiga, and Ryan Cochrane continues to have issues with his adductor.

As a result, head coach Dominic Kinnear is scrambling a bit more than normal this week. The team played without Chabala against both the Red Bulls and Galaxy, both losses earlier in the year. Despite those results, Kinnear feels that the rest of the team will step in adequately.

“Andrew [Hainault] has played there before,” Kinnear noted. “Corey [Ashe] has also been back there as well against New York, so we have options.”

If Houston maintains its traditional four-man backline and Serioux and Cochrane are unavailable, it seems likely that Ashe, Brian Mullan, or Richard Mulrooney would fill in as one of the outside backs with Hainault taking up the other spot. However, the Dynamo have also had some success this year with a three-man backline, using it occasionally late in games.

Regardless of how Kinnear adjusts the side to deal with Chabala’s absence, there is no easy fix.

“[Chabala’s] service into the box and attacking mindset is huge for us on the backline,” said goalkeeper Tally Hall. “Defensively he is solid and knows his position, so it is going to be tough. He’ll be missed, but we're not going to put too much energy into thinking about it.”

Dwain Capodice is a contributor to MLSsoccer.com. Questions or Comments can be sent via email to dwaincapodice@gmail.com.