Dynamo's depth shows in win over Vancouver
With three starters playing with their national teams on World Cup qualifying duty, the depth of the Houston Dynamo was tested Saturday night, and it was that depth that helped propel them to a come-from-behind 2-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Defender Eric Brunner and forward Andrew Driver were impressive in their first starts in a Dynamo uniform as they filled in for Jermaine Taylor (Jamaica) and Brad Davis (U.S.). Warren Creavalle got a rare start in place of Boniek Garcia (Honduras) and scored the game-winner, which was his first career goal, in the 62nd minute.
“This is one of those good signs when you have guys missing and guys fill in and do a good job,” defender Bobby Boswell said. “We've got good players. Dom's done a good job of bringing some guys in for these situations, and tonight it showed that. It speaks volumes about our depth that we can have some of our key guys out and we can still go out there and get good results against a pretty damn good team, so we're happy with it. We'll take it. Credit to the guys who played tonight.”
But Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear doesn't like to refer to players as "fill-ins."
"They're not filling in," Kinnear said. "They're playing. We always say that. These guys, they're not here to replace somebody. They're here to keep us winning, hopefully. There's no mention of the guys who are not here because we cannot do anything about that.
"The words and the focus is on the guys who are playing and the guys who are in the locker room. But that's expected. We knew the season was going to be challenging. There was going to be some movement in the lineup from Saturday to Saturday.
“We don't talk about fill-ins. We talk about players and victories. When these guys step on the field, whoever it is, they know the expectations are to try and win the game and those guys did that tonight.”
One man's absence is another man's opportunity
And those guys who played in place of Davis, Garcia and Thompson knew it was the perfect chance to show what they can do.
“You kind of take these opportunities and do what you can do and hopefully...Dom said you don't want to fill in but contribute and show that the team doesn't need to miss a beat when players are out," Creavalle said.
"On the whole, I’m quite pleased,” Driver said. “I think there's a lot more to come from me, but that comes from playing games and getting used to being on a new club.”
“I think anybody that can come in and step in and play a role on this team...that's what Dom brought us here for, and I think that's what we need to do and I think we did that," Brunner said.
Barnes scores first MLS goal
It was also a good night for forward Giles Barnes who scored the equalizing goal in the 55th minute.
"It was great," Barnes said. "I think I've had a chance to score every game that we've played, so I knew I was due one. I scored a few in preseason as well, so it was good to finally get off the mark and it was that we got the win as well."
Keeping the streak alive
With the win, the Dynamo snapped their two-game losing streak while extending their impressive home unbeaten streak to 33 games in all competitions and 27 in MLS play dating to June 18, 2011. This is the second longest streak in league history, trailing Real Salt Lake.
"That was important," Barnes said. "Our home is a fortress, so we always have an extra lift from our fans -- kind of like a 12th man. So, we thought we could come here and get the two losses out of our system."
Houston will have a chance to tie RSL's record when it hosts San Jose next Saturday at 7:30 p.m.