HOUSTON – After weeks spent talking about losing players, the Houston Dynamo finally get a chance to plug someone back into the lineup.
Central midfielder and former Crew player Adam Moffat will return to the team on Saturday at Columbus (7:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online) after serving a one-game suspension for a tackle on Seattle’s Osvaldo Alonso in Week 3. Getting the Glasgow native back in the lineup means a return of the bite in midfield that helped spur the Dynamo on their late season run in 2011.
“I think last year it was much needed for us,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said about Moffat’s Moffat toughness. “He breaks up a lot of plays, and he’s not shy about getting into a tackle. That’s an important piece for any team’s game, guys who win balls in midfield and distribute. So he’s been a big part of our team.”
WATCH: Moffat takes down Alonso
History substantiates Kinnear’s claim. Since coming to Houston last July, the Dynamo are an impressive 12-4-5 when Moffat starts. With Houston looking to get back in the win column at Crew Stadium, having Moffat in the midfield will certainly help against a club that likes to play a tough brand of soccer.
Thanks to the one-game suspension and Houston’s quirky schedule to start 2012, Moffat hasn’t played since the matchup in Seattle on March 23.
“I’ve had 29 days or so, and that’s a long time without having an injury or something,” he told MLSsoccer.com. “You want to be out there helping any way you can, and sitting in the stands isn’t really helping. It was disappointing but I’ve been working hard during this break.”
While the absence was tough on Moffat, his teammates have little concern that the tough-minded midfielder will be ready to help lock down the midfield against the Crew Saturday night.
“He still looks sharp and looks good to go. He’s one of the fitter players on the team, and that won’t be an issue,” goalkeeper Tally Hall said. “He’s a lot of what the Dynamo’s about. Here it’s about getting stuck in, winning your individual battles and, at the same time, he can attack and get forward. Getting him back is a positive and we look forward to having him out there.”
Davis still out but encouraged
Despite participating in crossing drills on Friday, Kinnear and Brad Davis confirmed that the injured left midfielder will not travel with the club to Columbus to take on the Crew.
“It’s been getting better each day and I’m getting more and more confident,” Davis said after Friday’s training. “It’s a lot different being out here in a controlled environment than being in a game. I’m disappointed I’m missing another game but the professional thing is to be smart about it ,and I plan to be 100 percent going into that D.C. [United] game [on April 28].”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.