Anthony Vasser/Houston Dynamo

Houston Dynamo travel to San Jose depleted, but not making excuses: "We’ve got a job to do"

The Dynamo are traveling light for their road game against the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday night (9:30 p.m. CT, CSN) after their already-depleted ranks were reduced again in Washington on Wednesday.

Rookie striker Mark Sherrod came off early with a knee injury diagnosed by Houston Methodist medical staff as a torn left anterior cruciate ligament. The 23-year-old is the second Dynamo player within a couple of weeks to be ruled out for the long term with a torn ACL.

Winger Tony Cascio underwent surgery on April 30. No date has yet been set for Sherrod’s procedure but he is expected to miss the rest of the season.

The news is a cruel blow, especially coming in only Sherrod’s third MLS start and after he had made such a positive impression. He scored twice against Real Salt Lake then set up Giles Barnes’ winner against the Los Angeles Galaxy last Saturday, winning the ball with the energy and enthusiasm that had already become hallmarks of his play.

“We’ve all been around the game long enough to know that injuries are going to happen and it seems like they happen to everybody. Mark’s come on and done so, so well. The personal side, for 90 minutes it doesn’t [take effect] - and then afterwards you’re completely gutted for him.” goalkeeper Tally Hall told HoustonDynamo.com.

“It’s terrible, not having him in the game hurts us because he’s done so well,” said Hall, who spoke before the full extent of Sherrod’s injury was confirmed.

The Dynamo head for Silicon Valley with as few as 15 available outfield players. Sherrod’s replacement in the 2-0 defeat to D.C. United, Brian Ownby, is suspended after he was shown a red card late on. Defender Eric Brunner is yet to feature this year after ankle surgery, midfielder Ricardo Clark suffered a concussion against the New York Red Bulls and has missed the past six matches, while Brad Davis and Boniek García are with their World Cup squads.

Revealed by U.S. Soccer on Thursday, Brad Davis’s selection for Jurgen Klinsmann’s 23-man roster brought some sunshine into the Dynamo’s week. It will mean that the captain is absent for several more games but is a great honor for the midfielder and his club and a reward for his stellar performances and late-career development under Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear.

The Dynamo were unable to build on the momentum from their victory over the Galaxy on a wet night at RFK Stadium. D.C. confirmed that their miserable 2013 campaign was a distant memory with a strong team display headlined by goals from two of their new acquisitions, strikers Chris Rolfe and Fabian Espindola.

“It was extremely frustrating, the whole 90 minutes I felt like we never really got too much momentum going our way and that is difficult, especially as a goalkeeper. Sometimes you see your team needs a boost and the only thing that I really did is get scored on, so it’s extremely frustrating from my standpoint. I know the team needed a bit of help and I wish I could have done more,” said Hall.

“Just to say that we had a bad game takes away some credit from D.C. that frankly they deserve, I think they looked very good and we weren’t at our best. When you’re not at your best and playing against a team that’s at their best it’s going to be a hard night.”

The Dynamo’s disappointment was compounded a couple of minutes before the final whistle when Ownby was ejected. But Hall said the team will enter Buck Shaw Stadium looking to make headway, not make excuses.

“It’s unfortunate that we’re down another man, Ownby was good for us and I think would have been a part of San Jose, so it is what it is. We’ve got a job to do, a game to win, and we have enough players to do that,” he said. “San Jose is known for their effort and their intensity and we’re going to have to match that.”

The Earthquakes’ form in May has been mixed, with one win, two losses and a tie. They should be fresh, having not played since a 1-0 defeat to the Seattle Sounders on May 17—but will be without their prolific forward, Chris Wondolowski. He is joining Davis on the plane to Brazil.

It’s the second of three road games in a row for the Dynamo, who next face the Colorado Rapids on June 1 before returning to BBVA Compass Stadium to host old foes Sporting Kansas City on June 6.