VANCOUVER, B.C. -- With only four points separating the second- through seventh-place teams in the Western Conference after Saturday, there is little margin for error.


Given that, Houston Dynamo coach Wilmer Cabrera raised eyebrows with his decision to leave leading scorer Erick "Cubo" Torres, midfielder Ricardo Clark and forward Vicente Sanchez in Texas for what finished a 2-1 road loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps.


But the Dynamo head coach believes his squad will be better served by managing minutes ahead of the stretch run.


"It’s just a process to continue growing and resting some players that have been hurting and playing a lot of minutes," Cabrera said after Saturday's game. "We have three really tough games in front of us, so they’re ready to play on Wednesday. Despite what happened [against Vancouver], we played very solid and a very good game, so we’re going to continue doing that."


There's certainly no let up for Houston, which saw its six-game unbeaten run ended. Next up is an MLS Heineken Rivalry Week clash on Wednesday at FC Dallas, which sits two points behind Houston. Then follows a home encounter against conference leaders Sporting Kansas City next Saturday.


In Dallas, the Dynamo will face a team that remains the defending Supporters' Shield winners, but one that may be desperate to reverse course after going 0-3-1 in their last four matches.


“It’s not an easy game," Cabrera stated. "They’re going to be at home, and they’re going to try to get out of that situation, so tough game. Tough game no matter what for us, but we are ready and we are playing well, so that’s the key.


And Houston will be withoutd defender AJ DeLaGarza and midfielder Juan David Cabezas, who will each serve yellow card accumulation suspensions.


Both are key players for the Dynamo. Then again, that's exactly why Cabrera feels rotating players is vital to the team's success.


"It's been solid for us," Cabrera said. "It's been good. We've been having a lot of players [play]. Everyone on our roster has played and everyone is confident and everyone pushes every week. Right now, it's their opportunity.


"All this is important for us as a team because right now it's the last eight, nine games that we have in front of us. We need to be a solid team and every game has to be at our top level."



Cabrera stands by decision to rotate squad, leave Torres and Clark at home - https://league-mp7static.mlsdigital.net/images/extratime-640x395.png

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