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Nigel Brooks

Houston Dynamo using bye week to get roster to full strength

The Dynamo returned to the training ground on Tuesday morning for the first of three sessions before entering the first bye week of the 2016 season, and the weekend off could not have come at a more opportune time.

Houston has faced several notable injuries early on this season, with projected starting goalkeeper Tyler Deric sidelined for the last month due to an abdominal strain and right back Sheanon Williams out with a hamstring strain, both of which were suffered during preseason training. In the Dynamo’s blowout win over FC Dallas in Week 2, midfielder Cristian “Chaco” Maidana took a hard hit and suffered a concussion, and captain Giles Barnes went down early in the match with a hamstring injury of his own.

Additionally, midfielder Collen Warner, signed by the Dynamo on March 1, has been sidelined by a hamstring injury that he suffered in preseason while with Toronto FC. Warner made his first appearance on the field with the full squad on Tuesday, and it was a welcome sight for Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle.

“It was great to have Collen in with the group today,” Coyle said. “What we did was use him as a spare player, to give him the freedom to know there wouldn’t be close contact from other players and he’d have space. And that’s the way we do it, we integrate him into the group, and then day by day we’ll look to build that up, and take it from there.”

Similarly, Barnes returned to training with the first team, albeit on a limited basis, as he works back to full fitness from his hamstring injury. Coyle indicated that the approaches with the two players are different, but the impact on the team of having both men on the pitch has been very positive.

“It was the same with Giles, today he was a free player, and we’ll look to build him up so he’s ready for Seattle (on April 10),” Coyle said. “Collen is different, because he has been out for a period of time, so we have to slowly maneuver that, and build him up. But he’s moving in the right direction and he’s already shown glimpses of his quality on the ball, so that’s pleasing moving forward. That is pleasing, bit by bit we are starting to get the group healthy again.”

While Barnes and Warner joined in with the first team, Deric took strides toward the same goal as he worked on the side with goalkeepers coach Paul Rogers and fitness coach Paul Caffrey, as noted by Houston Chronicle reporter Corey Roepken on Twitter this afternoon.

If all goes well for the recovering contingent, Coyle could have his pick of a full roster for the first time in 2016 when the team returns to BBVA Compass Stadium on April 10.