The Houston Dynamo have had their share of success in the MLS Cup, but they’ve yet to solve the U.S. Open Cup.
The two-time MLS champions will get their latest chance at USOC glory on Wednesday, when they open tournament play against Sporting Kansas City in College Station, Texas, in a qualifying match (7 p.m. CT, radio on SportsTalk 790, video stream on HoustonDynamo.com and audio stream on Sports790.com).
“I’ve been in this league 11 seasons, and I’ve yet to win a U.S. Open Cup,” veteran defender Eddie Robinson said. “Heck, I’ve never even played in the final. It’s definitely a tournament we want to win, and it’s also a chance for guys who want to play to show the coaches that they can perform in a meaningful game.”
The Dynamo come into the midweek matchup on the heels of two very encouraging road draws against Seattle and New York, but it is unclear just how they will shape their lineup against Kansas City with a home match against the Vancouver Whitecaps looming on Sunday.
“The Open Cup’s a trophy many of the guys haven’t won,” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. “We have to be mindful of playing three games in eight days, so it may not be the same lineup that played against New York, but we’ll get some guys time and work hard to get the win.”
One player who’s ready to play is midfielder Colin Clark, who after an eight-month recovery from ACL surgery is finally back to full strength. Clark, who was acquired by the Dynamo last season from Colorado in exchange for veteran Brian Mullan, hopes to make his club debut Wednesday night.
“I’m feeling good, and it’s been a good couple of weeks training with the guys,” Clark said. “It’ll feel great to get a run out with the team in such an important tournament game.”
Waiting for Houston in the first round is Sporting KC, which boasts a dangerous attack headed by the forward trio of Teal Bunbury, Omar Bravo, and former Dynamo striker Kei Kamara.
“I think Kansas City’s done a good job of building their team over the years,” Kinnear said. “They’ve got a lot of strength and a lot of speed, so it’s going to be a difficult test,” Kinnear said.
ALL-TIME (10 meetings): Dynamo 6 wins, 19 goals ... Kansas City 2 wins, 11 goals ... Ties 3
LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/1: HOU 3, KC 0 (Landin 24, Mullan 52, Appiah 88)
9/22: KC 4, HOU 3 (Kamara 35, Bunbury 60, Smith 71, Wolff 96+ - Weaver 13, Oduro 34, Serioux 37)
INJURY REPORT: HOUSTON DYNAMO - OUT: FW Calen Carr (concussion); DF Jermaine Taylor (R foot sprain); FW Brian Ching (L rib separation); DOUBTFUL: MF Brad Davis (L hamstring strain); PROBABLE: MF Colin Clark (L knee ACL surgery) ... SPORTING KANSAS CITY - OUT: MF Ryan Smith (L knee inflamation); FW Konrad Warzycha (R knee surgery); MF Stephane Auvray (illness); MF Graham Zusi (R knee sprain); DF Chance Myers (L adductor strain); DOUBTFUL: DF Julio Cesar (R hamstring strain); PROBABLE: MF Luke Sassano (R ankle sprain); GK Jon Kempin (R quadricep strain)
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.