Last week, Houston Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said his depth would be tested with three games in a week. When his crew faces the New York Red Bulls Wednesday night (6:30 pm CT; CSN Houston), there will be one change Kinnear is forced to make as Kofi Sarkodie is suspended for the game.
The standout right back received two yellow cards against the Philadelphia Union, the first for a tackle at midfield and the second in somewhat controversial fashion for time-wasting.
“I think he’s gotten off to a good start to the season, and it’s a bummer the red card, but that’s the way it is,” Kinnear told MLSsoccer.com in a phone interview on Tuesday from New York. “I think we can put together a good back four.”
The suspension will cost Sarkodie the game and mean Houston have a decision to make regarding who will take his place.
“Warren [Creavalle] has played right back in the past for us, so we know he can do the job back for us back there,” Kinnear said. “With Jermaine [Taylor] being the flexible player he is, we can move him around like we’ve done in the past. Whatever decision we make I think we have confidence because we’ve done it before and it’s worked out fine.”
Creavalle has spent the early part of 2014 working his way back from offseason knee surgeries but has found his stride, making appearances in back-to-back games.
However, he is not the only player with right-back experience.
Taylor, normally a center back, has logged time on the flanks for the Dynamo as well. Pushing the versatile defender out wide would mean inserting the rookie AJ Cochran, who Kinnear praised after his first start for not being overawed by the moment. That confidence would make moving Taylor out wide easier for the experience skipper.
Whoever takes Sarkodie’s place will have big boots to fill, as the right back is integral to pushing Houston’s attack up the flanks and adds an element of pace to the backline.
“You miss the attacking presence that he brings,” left back Corey Ashe told MLSoccer.com. ”The guy gets up and down the field more than a lot of the right backs in the league. I think the understanding that he and [center back David Horst] have, the relationship they’ve picked up, you lose some of that.”
“Before the season started we spoke to the some of the younger guys and told them you never know when you’re going to be called upon and you always have to be ready,” Ashe said. “At any point guys knows their number can be called and when it’s called it’s up to them to step up and perform.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.