Motivation not a problem for Houston

Dynamo winless in eight road games heading into Sunday match

The Houston Dynamo can draw motivation from any number of sources these days as they prepare to face the Colorado Rapids on Sunday night (8 p.m., ESPN2, ESPN Deportes).

Can they avenge a stunning home loss to Colorado earlier this season? Can
they finally get their first road win in nine tries this year? And can they simply keep pace with the leaders in the Eastern
Conference, who have pulled away in recent weeks while the Dynamo have
stalled?

“I think your motivation … comes when you look at the standings,” head
coach Dominic Kinnear. “The East is very tight. If you win games, you’ll
climb in the standings.”


If the Dynamo hope to keep pace with their conference rivals, they will
need to start against the Rapids, who snapped Houston’s six-game
unbeaten streak back on May 4. The Rapids used two goals after the
70-minute mark — including a booming Jamie Smith free kick from near
midfield that somehow drifted over the head of goalkeeper Tally Hall
to erase a goal from Colin Clark and escape Robertson Stadium with a 2-1
win. The loss started a seven-game winless streak that suddenly dropped the Dynamo back in the pack in the Eastern Conference.

“It didn’t take me long to bounce back, but it did start a poor run for
us, so maybe [the loss] affected the team more mentally that it did
me,” Hall said. “It’s not about the personal mistake, but the way it
affected the team.”

The Dynamo are also still one of only four teams in MLS without a road
win this season, joining New England and expansion sides Portland and
Vancouver. They’re 0-3-5 away from Robertson Stadium this season and
have lost each of their last two games at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

“From my side, it’s a road game, and we haven’t gotten a road win yet,”
Hall said. “They’re a good team, and to get a good result I think I may
be called upon a couple of times, and I’m ready to make a couple of
saves for the team and get us that win.”

If the Dynamo do get a result, they may have to do it without star
midfielder Brad Davis (hamstring), who was listed as doubtful on
Tuesday’s injury report before he returned to training Friday. Davis
leads the league with nine assists this season, and scored his second
goal of the year from the penalty spot in a 2-2 draw at D.C. United last weekend.

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