HOUSTON – The Houston Dynamo face Liga MX’s Club America in the inaugural Leagues Cup Wednesday night at BBVA Stadium, but the Dynamo made it clear their focus is elsewhere.
Dynamo coach Wilmer Cabrera was very open about having to be strategic about his priorities, and the MLS Cup is first on the Dynamo’s list, but that doesn’t mean that the Leagues Cup isn’t on the team’s radar.
“We’re going to try to do the best while understanding that we have priorities, but also, we want to do well,” Cabrera said Tuesday. “We have the Houston Dynamo versus Club America, and whoever is playing is representing those clubs, and you have that responsibly and you have to do well.”
The Dynamo announced a 23-player roster that includes 20 players from the first team, including some who do not get regular playing time in the MLS season. It also includes three players from Rio Grande Valley FC — the Dynamo’s affiliate in the second tier USL Championship — while regulars Mauro Manotas, Tommy McNamara, Tomas Martinez, Kiki Struna and Maynor Figueroa were left off completely.
“It would have been ideal to play this game another time. But since it doesn’t show up like that, what we do is try to balance it so that the boys who need minutes or are looking to get into the regular XI, take advantage of this game,” Cabrera said. “And some RGV (FC) boys who have shown a good level and have been instrumental in the level they have shown with the RGV.”
Cabrera added his team is “overloaded” with physical and mental wear, because of a fixture congestion that has the Dynamo playing 12 games in less than a month.
For Dynamo midfielder Juan David Cabezas, who is slowly coming back from an injury, he sees the Leagues Cup match against America as an opportunity to get back on the pitch, since he’s struggled for minutes this season.
“The whole atmosphere, everything that America handles not only on the pitch but outside – with journalists, with fans — then it will surely be a nice, beautiful opportunity for us to measure ourselves and to see how we are and in what conditions we are when faced with a large Latin American team,” Cabezas said.