Wilf Thorne/Houston Dynamo

Dynamo ready for stiff competition in Charleston

It’s been a busy few weeks for the Houston Dynamo. After experiencing their shortest offseason to date, the Dynamo have trained and played a series of scrimmages in Houston, spent a week playing MLS squads in Tucson and now round out their preseason campaign with the Carolina Challenge Cup in Charleston. Houston arrived in Charleston Friday afternoon and will open the round-robin tournament against the Chicago Fire on Saturday at 4 p.m. CT at Blackbaud Stadium (watch here).

Despite the packed schedule, the Dynamo are confident in where the squad is at and are feeling ready to open their 2013 campaign.

“We’ve been training hard over the last four weeks,” Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell said. “Because of the shorter preseason, we have been working a little harder than in year’s past. Hopefully we can get more guys back to full healty and I think the next 7-10 days will be a good test for us.”

The Dynamo head to Charleston missing only two players. Calen Carr is still recovering from the knee injury he suffered in last year’s MLS Cup final and Omar Cummings is recovering from an injury he sustained in a recent stint with the Jamaican national team. Corey Ashe, who has yet to see the field this preseason due to injury, hopes to play in Charleston and be ready for the season opener.

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With two of the three games in South Carolina against MLS competition, the Dynamo know they will need to a strong effort from the entire group to pull out the necessary results.

“I think the teams we are playing are pretty good,” Boswell said. “Chicago gave us a lot of tough games last year and they have done nothing but improve this offseason. Vancouver is a team we just played and they are one of the tougher preseason teams. And any time you plan a non-MLS team it’s a different look. I’m sure Charleston will be eager to show well.”

Following the three-game tournament in Charleston, the Dynamo will return to Houston for a week of training before opening their season against D.C. United. Despite the grind of preseason, Boswell insists the team can still learn from the games ahead to help prepare them for the coming year.

“Obviously, we want to play games that mean something, but these games are great for preparation and we have to use them for that,” he said. “We know when the first kick comes so we’ll be ready to go when it’s here.”