Wednesday’s win over FC Tucson was more than just a move into the fourth round for a rematch against FC Dallas in the Lamar Hunt Us Open Tournament. It was a moment to revel in the depth of the Dynamo line-up and realize that every player on the roster has been prepared for their moment.
First there was almost high school graduate Bryan Salazar making his professional debut and in 60 minutes on the pitch demonstrating that the hard work over these last few months by the Dynamo coaching staff proved invaluable in his early education.
Fellow rookie forward Jason Johnson who has seen limited action showed why the Dynamo selected him. It was Johnson’s pass to veteran Mike Chabala that led to the game winner by Atascocita native Alex Dixon.
Dixon who doesn’t see a lot of action with the first team was ready for his moment once more. Remember it was Dixon’s goal in August of 2011 against Real Salt Lake in the closing seconds of stoppage time that delivered a memorable Dynamo win and then Wednesday night Dixon scored the game winner from six yards out.
Veteran defender Mike Chabala, a significant pick-up by Dominic Kinnear and who will probably see more action with the injury to left back Corey Ashe was right in the middle of protecting the Houston goal and instrumental in the Dixon’s goal.
Rookie Anthony Arena (that’s three if you’re counting) played centerback for 90 minutes helping to anchor the Houston defense.
Goalkeeper Tyler Deric who posted a clean sheet in an injury plagued season praised the team’s effort.
“I can guarantee you that whenever you’re putting on a Houston Dynamo jersey we’re taking the game extremely seriously.”
Add in the some of the regulars like Giles Barnes coming off the bench for his team leading fifth goal to make it 2-0 late in the second half and one can only marvel at the work the Houston management has put in finding these players and the planning and preparation by Kinnear and his staff to have everyone ready when their name is called.
“Our squad is maybe a little bit thin right now but I think it speaks well of those guys that when they get those minutes they do well and that gives them confidence,” he said.