From defense comes possession for Houston Dynamo aiming at new home unbeaten record

HOUSTON – Sunday the Houston Dynamo will host the Chicago Fire in a bid to set a new MLS home unbeaten record in all competitions. To do that, they aim to reassert their claim to possession.

And although possession is usually thought of as an attacking statistic, for the Dynamo, it will have to come from the defense.

“When you win tackles you gain possession,” head coach Dominic Kinnear. “When you come out on the better of second balls and challenges that’s when you gain possession."

That bite in midfield was missing last week when the Dynamo conceded 61% of the ball in a 2-0 loss away to the Portland Timbers. That is one of the highest rates of concession that the Dynamo have allowed in the last year and a half. The issues with pressure and focus are not altogether foreign to the Dynamo; they have often cropped up on the road. 

“We took our foot off the gas in that second half [last week],” Brad Davis said. “I think that slipped away a little bit. We’re going to look to get our feet back on the right track against a team that’s looking to get going as well.”

Chicago finally put things into high gear last week, when they earned their first win of the season in a 3-1 rout of the New York Red Bulls. 

But the Dynamo have not lost at home in 34 straight matches -- a mark tied only by Real Salt Lake for the all-time record. And although things didn't go well in Portland, the Dynamo return home hoping to instill a mindset of setting a new record. 

"For us now, it’s just about being confident and everybody wanting the ball," Kinnear said.

Bruin close to return, Garcia questionable

After a week and a half out, striker Will Bruin returned to full training late this week. Recovering from a hamstring injury, the big striker gained steam towards making his return appearance against the Fire after missing the loss at Portland.

“Barring any setbacks Sunday’s in the plans,” Bruin said. “Being out a week or so feels like an eternity when you play week in and week out. It gives you that urge to get back out on the field. ”

While Bruin is on the mend, Boniek Garcia is still a question mark. The Honduran international missed last week’s game and is listed as questionable on the injury report with left achilles tendonitis.

Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.