Dykstra’s roommate at Virginia Commonwealth University was a chemistry major who experimented with home brewing. “I always thought it would be something cool to do away from the soccer field,” said Dykstra, 29, who picked up the hobby in earnest last winter when his wife bought him a kit. He added the accessories. She handled the artwork.
Beverages aside, Dykstra’s primary focus the past two months has been returning from the injury suffered last summer in a friendly against Fulham in Jacksonville.
Both he and first-choice Bill Hamid are recovering from injuries; Hamid fought a shoulder ailment during the offseason, then a back problem at the start of training camp. Neither played in any of the three friendlies in Florida but both seem likely to see time during the ATX Pro Challenge here in Austin on Friday and Sunday. The final tuneup before the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals is Feb. 20 at FC Dallas.
Toward the end of the Florida phase, Dykstra was fully involved in training.
“I just wasn’t used to the training load after six months of not doing much,” said Dykstra, an Osbourne Park High grad from Woodbridge who started four MLS regular season matches last season. “I was playing catch-up physically but the pain is gone.
“We’ll see when I get out there. I’ve got confidence in that I have a lot of games underneath me the past few years, so in terms of a rhythm and being comfortable, I feel like I am there. I do need to break the seal and get out there and prove myself, but I don’t have too many worries.”
[Much more on Hamid and Dykstra online tonight and in print Friday]
Midfielder Miguel Aguilar, the first-round draft pick from the University of San Francisco, has signed a contract. Unclear when the club will formally announce the news; league processing usually delays such announcements.
Midfielder Michael Farfan, acquired through the MLS allocation order Tuesday, arrived in Austin late Wednesday and will participate in his first workout Thursday afternoon. Perry Kitchen is also due to arrive in time for the session. The club will train on the artificial turf inside the 100,000-seat football stadium this afternoon. (Scheduling conflicts prevented a workout at the adjacent soccer venue, site of the ATX Pro Challenge.)
United’s website will provide live streams of the club’s tournament matches: 9 p.m. ET on Friday against the Austin Aztex, 2 or 4:15 on Sunday against FC Dallas or the Columbus Crew.
Kurt Morsink, United’s scouting coordinator, is headed to Costa Rica to evaluate Alajuelense, DCU’s Champions League opponent Feb. 26 and March 4. Alajuelense has 16 points through seven league matches and will play three games before hosting United. Morsink, a former James Madison University and MLS midfielder, is from Costa Rica.
If you have lost track of United’s preseason roster entering the Austin tournament …
Goalkeepers (4): Bill Hamid, Andrew Dykstra, Travis Worra*, Scott Goodwin*.
Defenders (9): Taylor Kemp, Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, Kofi Opare, Chris Korb, Jalen Robinson, Rauwshan McKenzie*, Luke Mishu*.
Midfielders (10): Perry Kitchen, Davy Arnaud, Markus Halsti, Nick DeLeon, Chris Rolfe, Michael Farfan, Jared Jeffrey, Collin Martin, Miguel Aguilar, Dan Metzger.
Forwards (8): Fabian Espindola, Chris Pontius, Eddie Johnson, Luis Silva, Jairo Arrieta, Conor Doyle, Michael Seaton, David Estrada*.
Further cuts and signings are likely by next week. Four players are slated for assignment with USL affiliate Richmond next month. A group of about 20 will travel to Costa Rica on the night of Feb. 23, three days before the first leg.