HOUSTON – Pick your poison, MLS, because the 2012 Houston Dynamo’s striker corps can create problems for you in all kinds of ways.
And after a preseason that saw the Orange score 21 goals in 12 games, confidence is high in Houston.
“We have a lot of forwards who can attack the ball in the box with Brian [Ching], Cam [Weaver], Will [Bruin] and then Calen [Carr], who makes good runs off the ball, and Mac [Kandji] has a combination of all those things,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “I think it’s a group that, on its day, can cause some problems.”
Bruin, in particular, has received praise for his improved confidence and ability to get into dangerous spots, resulting in five goals this preseason. While big things are expected of the former Indiana man this year, he is just one piece in an exciting group of attacking options.
“We’re going to be dangerous,” said Bruin. “When we whip the ball in, we’ll be dangerous because we have some big guys up top and we’ll be able to stretch the field as well. People think we’re all just target forwards, but that’s not true. We know we’re going to put the ball in the back of the net.”
While everyone around the team believes in the group’s ability, the club’s performance in the final week of the preseason at the Disney Pro Soccer Classic could be a cause for concern.
Houston entered the week looking to fine tune ahead of the regular season. But with established core players like Brad Davis, Carr and Luiz Camargo looking to build game fitness and lineups made largely of trialists and reserves, Houston’s attack struggled, producing one goal in four games.
But as is customary at this time of year, no one lost much sleep over it.
“It’s not the kind of form we want to have going into the season, but it’s not something I’m concerned with at this point,” Ching said. “If four games into the season we’ve only scored one goal, then yeah it’s cause for alarm. At this point, I’m pretty confident heading into the season.”
Ching’s sentiments are representative of a team that knows it has an attack that has produced time and again despite lacking a go-to forward. With a returning core in defense and midfield predicated on providing service, Houston's strikers will be hungry to take advantage of those opportunities.
“We’re ready to show we’re confident in our attack,” Bruin said. “We’re looking forward to getting out there and putting some goals on the board.”
Darrell Lovell can be reached for comment at Darrell.A.Lovell@gmail.com.