Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Davis ready for Cup, even if he won't play
By Scott French
Brad Davis returned to Houston Dynamo training Tuesday, but he was just watching. Major League Soccer's MVP favorite is out of Sunday's MLS Cup final against the Galaxy at Home Depot Center -- it's official now -- but says he's anxious for the battle to begin.
“It's going to be a tough match, but the way we're playing of late, I have full confidence that it's going to be a good game, and I know we can beat this team ...,” Davis told Major League Soccer's website. “As hard as it is to know I'm not going to be able to play, I still have the anxiousness from when we've been there a couple of times.
“I'm excited, and I know these guys are looking forward to it. These are the last few days, and they seem to take forever.”
Davis, a playmaking winger who won MLS Best XI acclaim and is expected to collect the league's MVP honor Friday, suffered a torn quadriceps muscle in the Dynamo's victory at Sporting Kansas City in the Nov. 6 Eastern Conference final.
“I don't need surgery,” he said, “but it's going to take a little while longer than expected. It's a little bit of misfortune, but this is our last game, so I'll have plenty of time to recover.”
POWER SURGE: The last time the Galaxy and Houston met in a winner-take-all match, power outages in the area around Home Depot Center forced delays of nearly 20 minutes in each half and a would-be winner by Dynamo defender Andre Hainault was waved off.
L.A. pulled out a 2-0 overtime victory in the 2009 Western Conference final, and the Dynamo felt like they'd been robbed.
Some feelings linger.
“We had a good team,” captain Brian Ching told The Houston Chronicle. “We definitely felt like we could have won it all that year. We had the confidence. We kind of got a bad call there, and it kind of changed the game in a bad way for us. It is tough. To get so close, and then you've got a whole year to think about it.”
The Dynamo had won MLS Cup titles in 2006 and 2007 and was a favorite after winning the West in 2008, when they were upset by New York in the first round of the playoffs. 2009 was a chance to get back on top.
“When the first blackout hit, we were playing real well,” defender Geoff Cameron told The Chronicle. “We had some great chances, and then -- boom. It kind of took the wind out of our sails a little bit. Then we're getting going again, and we hit the crossbar right before that, and the lights went out again.
“It knocked us back a little bit. But when we scored a goal and they called it back for a foul on Ching, it was kind of a bitter taste. We left the game very disappointed and kind of bummed.”
DYNAMO'S BIGGEST FAN?: Among those who will be rooting for Houston on Sunday: East L.A.'s Oscar De La Hoya, who owns a quarter-share of the Dynamo.
“I am from L.A., and I always love to see the L.A. teams do well,” he told Yahoo! Sports. “It is love my home, and I love the city, but on Sunday my heart will bleed Dynamo orange. If you see a guy out there in the stands with his face pained orange and jumping around with the fans, that is probably me. ... I will be cheering them on as loud as anybody, and if we win, I will be back in the locker room drinking milk out of the MLS Cup.”
WORTH NOTING: Midfielder Chris Birchall returned to training Tuesday with the Galaxy after he received an early release from Trinidad & Tobago's national team. The Soca Warriors were eliminated from 2014 World Cup qualifying in Friday's 2-1 loss at Guyana. Birchall missed Tuesday's 2-0 win in Port of Spain over Guyana, which won the second-round qualifying group by a point. ... Landon Donovan was back in practice Tuesday. ... The Galaxy has Wednesday off. Houston arrives in Southern California on Thursday.