The Dynamo are in action tonight on Cinco de Mayo to take on their in-state nemesis, FC Dallas. In the season opener for both clubs this year, they drew 1-1 at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco. At the Rob, the Dynamo have owned the Hoops with a 7-0-2 record, including the playoffs.
The game will be a quick turnaround for both clubs who played last weekend. The Dynamo cruised to an easy 3-0 win against Kansas City last week. FC Dallas came away with a draw against New England on the road.
Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear knows that games against FC Dallas tend to have a lot of momentum swings. In their draw on March 27, Houston controlled the game and punched in their goal early, only to have the Hoops equalize in a couple of minutes.
"As far as our game plan goes, it is something we talk about in the locker room; we know they have some dangerous attacking players who can put themselves in dangerous positions," Kinnear told Hair Balls, trying not to give too much away.
"We have to be very sure to isolate them and not let them get time on the ball. They have guys that can pass the ball well, and guys that can run with the ball well."
The Dynamo will still be without forward Brian Ching, who suffered a hamstring injury against the Galaxy earlier this season. The forward started practicing again on Monday.
"He's out in the field; he's knocking the ball around," Kinnear said of his star forward. "The good thing is he's having no ill effects. I think he's getting better as the days go on, so that's nice to see."
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Even with the progress, Kinnear doesn't want to put Ching out on the field with only limited practice under his belt. Ching is more likely to return for Saturday's road game against Chivas USA.
"I don't think playing for 20 minutes is worth risking being injured," Ching told Hair Balls. "Today was progress from yesterday, and tomorrow I want to make a little more progress, and then Thursday more progress, and then Friday and Saturday hopefully get ready for the game."
Ching would like to get a couple of games in to build up some fitness for a possible run at this summer's World Cup. The emergence of Edson Buddle with Galaxy this season, and the play of Connor Casey with the Rapids will make stiff competition for the Dynamo forward, but he's more than ready to make a run at it.
"I think a lot is going to come down to those two weeks at the end of May when Bob [Bradley, USA head coach] is going to have everyone in camp, and he's going to have to take a look and make a decision. For me personally, I just want to be fit and be close to playing my best soccer at that point."