HOUSTON – The Houston Dynamo’s seven-game winless streak may not have been too damning in the standings, but if they are to finally put an end to the skid this weekend, they'll have to do so without several of their top players.
Houston head into their Saturday match against the Philadelphia Union (9 pm ET, MLS LIVE) once again needing to reshuffle their lineup. The Dynamo will be missing three starters, as Corey Ashe and Will Bruin are with the US men's national team and right back Kofi Sarkodie is suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Meanwhile, another, Brad Davis, is a "long shot" because of injury.
However, Houston could be primed to have one playmaker back in Boniek Garcia. The Honduran international picked up a hamstring injury while on national team duty, but he might be available to suit up against the Union.
“He’s been building up as the week’s gone on and he says he feels fine, so our fingers are crossed for Saturday,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “To see him participate in a full practice on a Thursday is a good thing to see.”
Garcia could provide a creative element to the Dynamo attack as they look to break out of their doldrums. But with positions to fill and an urgency to win now, several players will need to step up, including Warren Creavalle, Mike Chabala or Eric Brunner in defense and forwards like Cam Weaver and Omar Cummings.
Cummings is one of the most interesting options, as the big-time offseason acquisition has yet to start a game but appeared in the last three games as a substitute up top and on the right wing.
“I feel like the game sharpness is coming back,” Cummings said. “Hopefully this weekend I will be up front in a more familiar role for me, and I can get into the swing of things as quick as possible.”
As the Eastern Conference beats up on itself, Houston have fallen from second place but remain in playoff position. Still, it’s been nearly two months since they’ve won at home and that's left the club with a keen sense of urgency to pick up three points from their upcoming Eastern Conference clash.
“You look at the results [Wednesday] and the results went in our favor," said Kinnear. "But we have to stop relying on scoreboard watching 18 games into a 34-game season."