HOUSTON – The Dynamo lineup that will take the field against Sporting Kansas City in the Eastern Conference Championship is set.
At least in Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear’s mind.
“We’ve discussed it,” Kinnear said after the team’s final practice on Saturday before their flight to Kansas City. “We’re going to have a quick little meeting when we get back at the hotel to discuss how we’re going to play. It’s easier said than done because they’re a good team. But we’re pretty confident how we’re going to approach things.”
The one doubt that still exists before Sunday night’s match (5:30 p.m. ET; FOX Soccer, FOX Deportes, live chat on MLSsoccer.com) is the availability of right winger Danny Cruz, who took a knock to his right leg during the second leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Philadelphia Union before getting subbed out in the 57th minute.
He missed practice for the second consecutive day on Saturday. The good news is that Colin Clark, who was absent on Friday and was not in the 18-man roster against Philly, returned to action during the light 90-minute session.
“Danny Cruz is taking it easy,” Kinnear told MLSsoccer.com. “He should be fine. He should be ready to go. We’re going to give him a little more time. Because of the quick turnaround a couple of guys are taking it light and he’s one of them.”
If Cruz isn’t available to go, Kinnear could opt for Jamaican Je-Vaughn Watson at right wing or he could even select Clark if he is judged to be physically fit to contribute.
Watson’s 6-foot-1 frame – five inches taller than Cruz – would add to the Dynamo’s set-piece firepower, and the Jamaican’s pace would also help make up for Cruz’s absence.
Kinnear, his squad and the general practice session on Saturday can only be described as quietly confident.
“The guys are looking forward to it,” Kinnear said. “The guys understand where we’re at. And they understand it’s an important game and a difficult game on Sunday.
“You always want to win it when you’re in it. I’m proud of the team the way we’ve turned things around especially in the last three months. The team has performed pretty well. You’re always satisfied if you win it and if you don’t, you’re unfulfilled. We’ll see how it goes.”