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It’s Quakes vs. Quakes in Game 2

Posted on 26 March 2009 by dbuckholt

The Houston Dynamo head to San Jose to play the Earthquakes on Saturday night, leaving behind confusing new developments in their struggle to build a new downtown stadium, and possibly looking to add a new forward before the second game of this road trip, against DC United on April 4.

Tuesday, Dynamo president Oliver Luck announced the team had secured a $20 million bank loan as an advance on the future contributions of the city of Houston and Harris County toward the new stadium, which will be paid from a tax increment district covering the stadium site. But by that evening, the two members of Harris County Commissioners Court whose districts include the stadium site said they were nowhere near placing the tax district on the agenda of Commissioners Court. (See the ASN Dynamo Twitter feed for links to articles on this week’s developments.)

Meanwhile, chief operating officer Chris Canetti confirmed rumors initially posted on English sites last week that Houston was interested in veteran Nigerian forward Adi Akinbiyi, most recently of Burnley in the English Coca-Cola Championship. The 34-year-old Akinbayi will be taking a physical in Houston on Friday while the team flies to San Jose.

Houston has had Swedish striker John Pelu, currently of Norway’s Rosenborg, on a 10-day trial since last week, and coach Dominic Kinnear said a decision on signing Pelu is coming in the next day or so.

Defender Andre Hainault, who trained with the Dynamo in the preseason, has reportedly been signed, but is not yet on the roster because of paperwork issues in his transfer from his former club in the Czech Republic. He would be the 19th senior player on the roster, meaning that the Dynamo could not sign both Akinbiyi and Pelu without waiving a player.

The situation facing Houston in Saturday’s game shows why the Dynamo have been looking for help at forward. Brian Ching is gone with the US national team, and Kei Kamara is serving the last game of a two-game suspension, leaving Chris Wondolowski as the only true forward available against the Quakes. Right midfielder Brian Mullan has done spot duty at forward in the past, and seems likely to start next to Wondolowski, though he wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about the prospect.

“Not my favorite place, but whatever I can do to help the team,” Mullan said.

This will lead to shuffling in midfield and defense, as Geoff Cameron would probably fill Mullan’s spot at right midfield, and Julius James could get the start at central defense, where Cameron played in the season opener against Columbus.

Houston lost once and drew once at Buck Shaw Stadium last year, in a return to San Jose for many Dynamo players who were members of the previous iteration of the Earthquakes. There should not be the same emotional impact for the players this season, and the Dynamo have a more pressing concern this game – where will the goals come from?

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