HOUSTON – For the first time this season, the Houston Dynamo got their work done early.
The game plan is always to score whenever possible, of course. But against a San Jose Earthquakes team known for late dramatics, putting a cushion up early is practically a necessity.
“I think it puts them under pressure and it rewards the guys for their hard work,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said of his team's good first half. “I think every game we step on the field, home or away, I’d like to see the guys impose their will on the other team. It gives you confidence, a boost of energy, when you get the first goal. Then the second goal right before half time was a really good one for us.
“To go in the locker room [with a lead], guys were full of confidence in the second half. Not only getting the goals, but I thought we played well in the first half. That was the satisfying thing as well.”
Houston played with that confidence throughout the night. The Dynamo controlled the ball from the opening whistle and, as they have become known to do, controlled the possession column in the game.
But the best parts were Bruin and Barnes’ goals.
While Houston have not scored in the first half this season, they have enjoyed opening stanzas where they were the better team. The difference tonight was the goals and the way they happened. Each goal capped smart, well-executed plays, especially Barnes’ strike, which was the result of a perfectly executed connection with Brad Davis.
CHALKBOARD: Relentless Dynamo pressure tortures Earthquakes
“Everyone knows what an ability Brad has in his left foot,” Barnes said. “We just locked eyes and looked at each other. He knew where I wanted it and I just tried to get on the end of it.
“I thought we started off really well,” Barnes continued. “We knew as soon as we got the first goal we could carry on pressing. As we came on at halftime, we knew we just had to keep on pressing and we could keep them out.”
Houston did just that, as the attacking flow bolstered a defense that corralled a mostly quiet Chris Wondolowski and the rest of the Earthquakes' attack all evening.
The early push and ability to sustain it made for the most complete Dynamo performance of the early 2013 season.
“We’re outplaying teams, we’re looking dangerous and scoring goals,” said goalkeeper Tally Hall. “We build off each other, defensive players and attacking players, and we’re all playing well.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.