Coach Dominic Kinnear’s Dynamo will play El Salvador’s Luis Angel Firpo in a CONCACAF Champions League game.
By Beau Dure, USA TODAY
After the Houston Dynamo’s surprise loss to the New York Red Bulls ended their quest for a third consecutive Major League Soccer title, coach Dominic Kinnear gave the team a week off.
Then the team went right back into training. The schedule had one more game left — a makeup home date in the CONCACAF Champions League against El Salvador’s Luis Angel Firpo (8 p.m. ET Wednesday, Fox Soccer Channel). The game was postponed in September because of Hurricane Ike.
Kinnear says returning to practice was difficult but that the team’s attitude has been good. He doesn’t mind the extra games, which MLS will curtail next season by keeping CONCACAF Champions League teams out of the SuperLiga, which features MLS and Mexican teams.
«I like both tournaments,» Kinnear says. «At least we’re still involved in one.»
Houston is the only MLS team still involved in CONCACAF play. Chivas USA and the New England Revolution didn’t get past the preliminary round. D.C. United managed one tie and five losses in group play.
The Dynamo would advance to the quarterfinals with a win, joining four Mexican teams, Marathon (Honduras) and two USL teams — Impact de Montreal and the Puerto Rico Islanders.
Houston will face one distraction: Earlier in the afternoon, Seattle will have a chance to take away one of its players in the league’s expansion draft.
And the Dynamo would rather come into the CONCACAF game without the weeks off, perhaps with a trophy from the weekend’s MLS Cup final in hand.
«The guys would rather have been playing last Sunday,» Kinnear says.
Seattle will stock its roster in a 10-round draft Wednesday (1 p.m. ET). The 14 existing teams were allowed to protect 11 players each.
With Kasey Keller already signed to play for the expansion Sounders next year, several teams left their starting goalkeepers exposed.
MLS Cup starters left unprotected include the Columbus Crew’s Brad Evans and Eddie Gaven, plus the New York Red Bulls’ Diego Jimenez, Chris Leitch, Carlos Mendes and John Wolyniec.