HOUSTON – As the Houston Dynamo prepare to end a full May with a clash against Spanish giants Valencia in the BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup on Thursday night, the club is not showing any signs of slowing down.
A major reason for that is the prospect of playing a big-time club in a match that will benefit the Junior Achievement organization and the Houston Food Bank at home in their new stadium digs. Those motivations are enough to put any effect of tired legs out of their mind, according to captain Brian Ching.
WATCH: Valencia press conference
“I haven’t heard many guys, besides myself, grumbling about these types of stretches,” the captain told MLSsoccer.com with a laugh after Tuesday’s press conference. “Guys have come up to me and said, ‘This is gonna be pretty fun.’ Anytime you bring a big team in, even if there’s short rest, guys are ready and want the opportunity.”
The fun for many of the players comes from the chance to test themselves against an opponent that has a stellar pedigree in both the Spanish league and European play, regardless of whether they are seasoned hands like Ching who have proven themselves on the international stage or those in the beginning of their careers.
But coming off six games in under three weeks, including Tuesday’s 1-0 loss in the US Open Cup, it is understandable, even expected, that Houston would be tired. However, the carrot of squaring off against Valencia and some due diligence in preparation has Ching believing the club is ready to put forth maximum effort come game time.
“For as busy as we’ve been, the guys have been pretty good about being focused and excited about playing,” he said. “I think in the past when we’ve had so many games back to back, it’s tended to help fuel us and motivate us to play and this month was no different.”
The fuel must be working. Ching told MLSsoccer.com he believes the club is playing “some of our best stuff” in recent weeks and that they have the chance to play Los Che on top form is a one he and the club relishes.
That, plus the showcase potential of the match, should take care of any lingering doubts concerning fatigue as a busy May comes to an end.
“It’s a chance to test yourself when there’s not a lot of pressure on you,” Ching said. “Games like this, where guys are out there having a good time, make for more attractive soccer. I think that’s what we’ll see on Thursday.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.