Houston hopes to avoid the slow starts of previous years
The Houston Dynamo have been, in recent years, notorious for starting their regular season slow. In the past two campaigns, they have gone winless during the months of April and May with one exception -- a win against the Colorado Rapids on April 19 last year. That's one victory in ten games during the opening weeks.
“We all know [about the slow starts], but it’s not a public thing we talk about that we start out slow,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “It’s important how you play the games and sometimes results go your way and sometimes they don’t.”
So why the poor starts in league play over the past two years, and how do the Dynamo start 2010 differently? One of the potential reasons stemmed from the teams involvement in CONCACAF Champions League play.
The 2010 Dynamo will get a little bit of relief from the schedule makers in that Houston failed to qualify for the next stage of the CONCACAF Champions League. As a result, the lack of midweek games and no overseas travel will allow the team to focus solely on MLS play out of the gates.
“The Champions League games are so difficult for us as we were just beginning our preseason,” Dynamo forward Brian Ching said. “It’s good not to have that. Our main focus is starting off the season well.”
Though midfielder Richard Mulrooney is always happy to represent the league -- and the nation -- in CONCACAF play, he's also keen on focusing solely on league play.
“Our schedule’s been a little less hectic and I think it will give us a little more time to practice on what we need to start the season,” Mulrooney said.
Another early-season problem for the Dynamo in years past stemmed from roster issues. Last year, it took the team some time to figure out how it was replacing Dwayne DeRosario in midfield and Eddie Robinson in the back after Robinson had near season-ending surgery. In 2008, the Dynamo struggled to find a partner up top with Ching after the departure of Nate Jaqua and Joseph Ngwenya.
"You go back and look at our history, it's slow start after slow start to begin the season," Robinson said. "I don’t think it’s going to be like that this year because everyone knows from the get go that if they have a bad game or a bad week of training, they could be out."