Brad Davis hopes to return to action to help Houston Dynamo pull out of tailspin

HOUSTON – A minute after suffering what would be later diagnosed a right ankle sprain, Brad Davis served up a pinpoint set piece that Ricardo Clark headed home to level a game with FC Dallas at 1-1.

That was 319 minutes ago.

Since then, Houston Dynamo have gone cold, failing to score since their captain’s leave of absence that nowsits at three and a half games. As the team returned to training Friday from an unsuccessful road trip that saw them stretch their winless streak to five games after a 4-0 loss Wednesday to the New York Red Bulls, Davis was back on the training pitch and hoping to see the field sooner rather than later to help stop the bleeding.

“I’ve had eyes on each game to try and play to be totally honest,” Davis said Friday. “It’s been tough. You never want to watch from the sidelines, especially in these times. You want to be in the trenches with your teammates helping to try and get us out.”

Davis reported no ill effects after the session but chose not to put a timeline on his return date. However, it’s easy to see the Dynamo captain is itching to get back on the field and help a team in need as they play host to the Portland Timbers on Sunday (3 pm ET; UniMas).

Houston’s attack has fallen on barren times in the past three games. They're still generating chances – in fact, they lead the league with 103 shots this season – but the clinical finishing has been absent with just seven goals on the year.

As the offense has struggled, the defense has become bipolar. In seven games, the Dynamo have logged three shutouts, in the remaining four they have given up goals in bunches, conceding 12, with leaky spots across the backline.

The subpar run of form has left the Dynamo, who have not only played without Davis but also Clark and Kofi Sarkodie at times, with little left to do but accept the blame and move on.

“We had a long talk after the game in New York, and a lot of guys stood up and raised their hand and said, ‘I screwed up,’” said center back David Horst. “That’s the sign of a successful team when guys can do that.”

Andrew Driver echoed those sentiments.

“You’ve got to have harsh words for yourself and be accountable,” he said. “I’ve got to be accountable for missing those chances … we need to make sure we cut out these little mistakes that cost the team. … There’s no hiding place now, and we need to produce this weekend.”

If Davis can strap his boots on Sunday, that could go a long ways toward figuring out Houston’s woes.

“A lot of good stuff can be played through him,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear. “It’s just a good player to have on the field. … You don’t want him out for an extended period of time, and I think we’ve missed him.”

It may be too early in the season for the experienced club to use the word desperation, but the urgency and desire to get better is there.

“A great thing Dom said this morning is that when these times come you can either hide or you can stand up and go fight,” Davis said. “That’s what this team’s always done, and that’s what we’re going to get back to doing.”

Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.