Preseason scoring outburst propels Dynamo

Kinnear's men finding the net from set pieces, run-of-play

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Photo Credit: 
Don Montague / MLSSoccer.com

The Houston Dynamo have done many things well this preseason, but one stat that jumps off the page is the number of goals scored.

The 3-2 win against Toronto FC in the semifinal of the Disney Classic on Thursday night brings their preseason total to 18 in seven matches, and the outburst is indicative of the work ethic of a group intent on putting a tough 2010 behind them.

“I think we’re just hungry for goals,” said Geoff Cameron, who scored his team’s first goal Thursday night. “We’re going after balls and getting good service off. With last year going so badly, it’s nice that the ball seems to be bouncing our way."

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The Dynamo got first-half goals from midfielders Cameron and Brad Davis and the second-half winner from striker Cam Weaver. Though the Dynamo have heard quite a lot this preseason about the ratio of their goals that have come from set pieces, they showed against Toronto FC that they can score on service from the flanks in the run of play. Cameron and Weaver scored on excellent service from Lovel Palmer and Danny Cruz, respectively.

“We scored some really good goals last night,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “Wide play has been an important part of what we do. Service, whether in the run of play or on set pieces, is important for us."

Added Cruz, “We’re good on set pieces — and if we’re going to score on set pieces, that’s fine — but I think we’ve shown that we can score in the run of play as well."

Even with things going well in open play, the Dynamo still managed a set-piece goal. In the 43rd minute, Davis scored on a curling ball wide of the wall that dipped under the crossbar from just outside the box. While Dynamo players know they are dangerous in the run of play, they are proud of their ability on set pieces.

“If I go down and get fouled or the ball is blocked out of bounds, I know we have a really good chance to score with Brad and the guys we have in the box,” said Cruz. “So when I take someone on and get fouled, I know I just gave us an opportunity to score.”

MORE: Dynamo top TFC, reach Disney final

The win sets up another match against in-state rival FC Dallas in the final Saturday night. The clubs met in Corpus Christi earlier this month, and the Dynamo took a 4-0 win in a physical match. Kinnear expecting more of the same Saturday night.

“Last time it was tough, and I’d be happy if it ends up 4-0 for us, but I don’t think it will,” he said. “Anytime we play each other, the guys don’t hold back, and they play to win, and I expect the same thing [Saturday].”

Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.