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Carr adjusting to life out on the wing for Houston

"Opportunistic" can be added to the list of traits used to describe Calen Carr.

CROSS: Carr’s wing play

With the Houston Dynamo looking to their depth chart to help navigate a tough stretch of four games in 11 days, Carr has made the most of his chance by impressing in the unfamiliar role of right midfielder. Now he’s forced his way back into the club’s starting XI.

“Since he’s been back he’s been knocking on the doorstep of getting playing time,” Brad Davis said of his new wing partner. “We have a pretty good depth chart on this team so it’s a matter of being a tough team to crack. I think he’s made the most of his [opportunity] and has played great since coming on for us.”

Carr, who started the final eight matches of 2011 at forward for Houston, got his most recent opportunity May 9 against the New York Red Bulls.

In the 1-0 loss the speedy Carr showed a diverse set of skills. He stretched the RBNY backline and showed that he can create and put in the defensive work. Since then, the former Chicago Fire forward has been a staple in the Dynamo lineup averaging 81 minutes in the last four matches.

“That was a big chance,” Carr said of his start against New York. “We had a busy stretch of games, and I was hoping to get my opportunity – and I did. I’ve tried to show my teammates and the coaching staff that I can help. That’s my goal and I’m feeling more comfortable out there with each game and am hoping to continue.”

While Carr looks to be the current answer at right midfield, he admitted there are some areas where he needs to sharpen if the job is to remain his. Carr knows that his ability to adapt to the requirements of playing in midfield, that includes playing more possession soccer away from goal and becoming a box-to-box defender on the flank, will determine his long-term fate at the position.

From early observations, it looks as if he is picking up on the finer points of the position.

Carr has shown he can play both provider and speed merchant, offering the Dynamo a different type of attacking weapon on the flank. Also, his pace and work ethic, and ability to combine with the right back – usually, Jermaine Taylor – has dispelled early concerns of any defensive weaknesses.

“[Calen is] a smart player and he’s figured out the wide position pretty well,” Dynamo boss Dominic Kinnear said. “I think slowly but surely he’s figured it out and is a smart player and is getting better with every game.”

Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.