HOUSTON – The happiest person inside Houston city limits Sunday afternoon was Calen Carr.
After getting off to a blazing start in his first two playoff games, the Dynamo attacker was forced to stay at home and watch his team’s decisive second leg of the Eastern Conference Championship in D.C. while nursing a hamstring injury.
But that didn’t stop him from getting a little physical activity in on game day.
“I was jumping up and down [when Boniek García scored the goal],” Carr said Tuesday. “It was tough to sit and watch the game, but to see them jumping up and down on the podium and knowing they were coming back the next day and that I was going to be involved with everybody and have a chance to go back to LA for MLS Cup is awesome.”
Carr was back on the field when the Dynamo returned to practice on Tuesday morning, but was limited to some running and work with the team trainers on the side. He was optimistic that he would be ready to play Sunday, but he knew his goals were on the ambitious side.
Now he’s taking a cautious approach to his recovery ahead of MLS Cup, with the help of his teammates.
“He’s got a very good opportunity to be back and be 100 percent healthy,” midfielder Brad Davis said. “I told him, ‘Don’t put yourself in a position to miss the [MLS Cup], because you’ll regret it.’”
Davis knows what it is like to have to sit and watch. The left midfielder was forced to watch from the side when a quad injury forced him out on last year’s title match, a 1-0 loss to the Galaxy.
“I know it’s tough because you want to get back on the field, but part of being a professional is being honest with yourself, your coach and your teammates,” Davis said. “He’s a very important piece to the puzzle and I think if he does it the right way he should be healthy and good to go.”
Carr is now motivated like never before and, along with his trainers, is, optimistic he will have another chance to help the club.
“He’s a good player and was playing great for us in the playoffs before he got hurt,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “He’s a valuable piece of the team. It would be good to have him available in some way. We’ve missed him but we’ve been successful without him. I think we’re a better team with him.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.