Wilf Thorne / Houston Dynamo

Combine Day 4: Small squad closes sessions

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With the University of Houston marching band's morning warm-up providing some unusual background noise, the Dynamo potential player combine came to an end Saturday morning with a series of small-sided games. Afterward, head coach Dominic Kinnear thanked the players for their efforts and said the Dynamo would be in touch with their representatives in the coming days. The players will fly home either tomorrow or Monday.

With the group's numbers reduced by the absence of the three Dynamo Academy players (in Colorado for U-18 games) and Geoff Cameron and Mike Chabala (who left on pre-arranged vacations), only 12 field players remained for Saturday morning's training session. Players donned jackets in the cold temperatures and, after warming up with some one-touch passing, moved into small-sided games.

The first set was a drill commonly run by John Spencer with the Dynamo Reserves over the years, with players battling 3 v. 3 to goal in the penalty area, with the defensive team trying to clear the ball. Sometimes a seventh player, to be used for one touch by either team, was introduced as well.

Then the players went into a full 6 v. 6 game to goal, confined to roughly one quarter of the field, playing to the halfway line and running widthwise from one sideline to the middle of the field. It was during this matchup that the musical entertainment began, as UH students began assembling and rehearsing with their instruments, providing a dramatic soundtrack to the conclusion of the combine.

Kinnear finally called "all-in" for a final seven-minute, 30-second period and encouraged the players to shoot early and often, yielding a few impressive long-range efforts. Finally, though, he called the session to a halt and thanked the players for their efforts.

On Friday, Kinnear told HoustonDynamo.com he would sit down with his coaching staff and discuss players seen on his trip to Brazil, Wade Barrett and Steve Ralston's trip to Colombia, and at the combine. Remaining foreign trips include Martinique for the Caribbean Cup, Ghana, a potential return trip to Brazil, and a possible excursion to Costa Rica. The coaches are also hard at work scouting college talent, both potential draft picks and potential Dynamo Academy prospects.