CALVIN MILLER - Friday, May 3, 2013
Without midfielder Brad Davis, the Houston Dynamo will rely on forwards Will Bruin and Giles Barnes to handle the load offensively against the Galaxy on Sunday in Los Angeles.
Davis received a straight red in the fifth minute of stoppage time in the second half of a 1-1 draw against the Colorado Rapids.
The Dynamo will miss the team captain, especially offensively, where he has combined for two goals and two assists so far this season.
"Yeah, Brad's a big part of what we do here; you know his set piece delivery and his leadership as a captain," Barnes said about missing Davis against the Galaxy. "But I also said there are people waiting in the wings waiting for a chance, so they will be hungry and eager to snap it up as well."
Bruin echoed Barnes' statement at practice and showed they are on the same page this season.
"Yeah obviously he is one of the more dangerous players on the team and best play-makers, but we're confident in guys that we have that can fill the hole."
So far, the duo up front has combined for five goals and one assist in eight games for the Dynamo. They continue to show that they can work well with one another on the field during games and at practice.
"Yeah I think we're starting to click," Bruin said on the partnership with Barnes. "Even at training we're starting to play well and combine."
"It's still early in the season and we're getting better each game as our partnership progresses and I think it's only going to get better," Bruin continued. "So, if people want to mark me around the box Giles is more than capable of scoring which he's already proven and that just makes our whole offensive threat even better."
Barnes scored a crucial goal in the 66th minute of the game at home against the Colorado Rapids, but admitted that he is more concerned about winning the games.
"It is good to score goals, but to be honest with you I'm not really interested if it's just me who is scoring," admitted Barnes. "As long as the team is winning, playing well and collecting those points; that's all that matters to me to be honest."
The duo will face one of the top center backs in MLS, Omar Gonzalez, who will represent a major challenge to the Dynamo forwards in LA on Sunday.
Gonzalez and Bruin teamed up at training camp in January for the US Men's National Team.
"Yeah, we did January camp together and I got to know him a little more there and obviously see how he plays," Bruin remembered.
"But like I said, he's a big guy, he's good [and] he's quick," Bruin added. "There's not much that he does that can be exploited so I have to be on point on my game to be able to get my chances."
The Dynamo did not change their weekly training for the brutal road trip against the Galaxy, DC United, and Sporting Kansas City.
They will travel over five thousand miles, and play three games in eight days during a tough stretch in the schedule.
"That's the way the schedules landed on us," Barnes explained. "You know it's never ideal for plane rides over a few hours. Your legs get a little bit heavier, takes a little bit longer, but we're a hard working team and we're not looking for any excuses."