Jonathan Yardley/HoustonDynamo.com

Houston hits the road to face MLS foes

For Houston Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear, the coming weeks offer an opportunity to evaluate his team against league competition. The Dynamo will head to Phoenix this week for scrimmages against Sporting Kansas City, the Columbus Crew. and the Portland Timbers before traveling to Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 24 to participate in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic.

“With six games against MLS teams in the next two weeks, it’s going to give guys a lot more playing time to get ready for the season, and obviously we’ll see more of the trialists,” said Kinnear about the matches in Phoenix and Orlando.

The Dynamo will have an additional midfielder in Phoenix. JeVaughn Watson was the only one of the first four trialists to have his trial extended.

“After the game on Saturday I was supposed to go with the rest of the guys, but the coach told me he wanted to me to stay because I have great potential and he thinks I can help the team,” said Watson, who was offered a contract by England's Birmingham City last November but failed to secure a European work permit.

“He is going to join us for another week," Kinnear said. "We need to see him against more MLS teams."

Watson hopes to use his time in Phoenix to show that he can play the holding midfield role for Houston despite being more of an attacking player by nature.

“[Playing holding midfielder] was a transition," Watson said. "Against FC Dallas it was just me and Geoff [Cameron] in the midfield, so I tried to help him going forward and do the defensive work, but it’s no problem because I am used to working hard.”

Also traveling with the team will be midfielder Colin Clark, who had a limited role in Monday training. Clark, who joined the Dynamo in a trade with Colorado that sent Brian Mullan to the Rapids, is still rehabbing his knee but was on the field today for fitness and ball work training. There is still no firm timetable on when Clark will be cleared to join the team for full training.

Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.