It went from bad to worse for the Houston Dynamo on Monday. The club got word that midfielder Geoff Cameron will miss the remainder of the season to undergo surgery to repair a torn PCL.
Cameron -- who had just started to begin to look comfortable as the team’s attacking midfielder -- was expected to log heavy minutes for the Dynamo this year. Now, several players will likely be asked to step up in his absence.
While the team has already indicated it will search for a midfielder to add to the roster, the obvious short-term solution would mean more time in central midfield for Brad Davis. Last year, Davis showed he was more than capable playing centrally when he filled in for Stuart Holden. However, Davis’ service on the left will be sorely missed if he is forced centrally.
If Davis does shift inside, Corey Ashe seems the obvious replacement on the left. Ashe has been filling in for Brian Mullan on the right side of the Dynamo midfield as Mullan has started at forward.
As a result, it seems likely that Cameron’s injury will immediately open the door for the return of Luis Ángel Landín to the starting lineup. Houston’s designated player has struggled since his acquisition, though, and failed to contribute offensively as a substitute in the team’s last game against the Fire.
If Richard Mulrooney returns from injury, he or Adrian Serioux may provide the Dynamo a less preferred, but more defensive option to Davis. While Serioux struggled in his first extended minutes in midfield this year, he has shown himself capable in MLS play, unlike Sammy Appiah and Francisco Navas Cobo.
Navas Cobo has improved tremendously over his first two months as a professional, as evidenced by coach Dominic Kinnear’s recently rewarding the youngster with his MLS debut. But to expect the Dynamo academy product to contribute as a starter at this time may put too much pressure on the young midfielder.
Still, significant minutes off the bench seem much more likely for Navas Cobo, Danny Cruz and Serioux.
For a Dynamo team already reeling from a list of walking wounded that includes Mulrooney, Cam Weaver and Brian Ching, losing Cameron for the year further exasperates Houston’s already lengthy injury woes. Houston have continued to field a competitive team week after week despite these injuries and other injuries in years prior.
The good news for Houston is the 2010 roster might be their deepest ever and the club has some flexibility to add additional players or trade some of its depth in other positions for a midfielder. The bad news is the team’s depth is at its thinnest in midfield. Cameron’s injury may just expose that fact until reinforcements arrive.
Dwain Capodice is a contributor to MLSsoccer.com. Questions or Comments can be sent via email to email@example.com.