In MLS, teams are often separated by their ability to scratch out points on the road. For Houston Dynamo, that's currently a big concern.
Houston’s road record (1-9-1), including losing their last six away from home, is second-worst in the league, while their goal differential (-19) is dead last. Come Saturday at the Columbus Crew (8 p.m. CT; CSN Plus/Telemundo), they'll have a chance to start putting things right.
“Playoff teams win road games. That’s all there is to it,” said center back David Horst. “It’s all about going into these games and outworking the opponent. It’s whoever wants it the most right now, and I think this team wants it the most now.”
One of Houston’s major issues has been their lack of scoring. In 11 road games, the Dynamo have managed just seven goals, which is tied for the lowest road goal total in the league with the San Jose Earthquakes.
According to the club, their low output is not for a lack of trying. Houston get chances, but putting them away has been an issue – as they showed against the Seattle Sounders two weeks ago in a 2-0 loss.
“When you’re on the road, and you get a chance to score – you’re not going to score three or four on the road – when you get your chances you have to take them,” said team captain Brad Davis. “I really and truly feel that we’ll create chances, and it’s just a matter of putting those away.”
It’s not just scoring but using those goals to their advantage.
“Scoring first I think would go a long way and maybe give us some confidence,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “Maybe getting some early chances would be helpful, but being defensively smart is a good thing.”
The good news for Houston is that they are a confident bunch at the moment. Their attack is working well together, and the influx of new blood has provided some vigor. While they left Seattle empty handed, the showing was a positive one, as they created a number of chances in the first half and arguably had the better of play through the first 75 minutes.
That performance was bookended by two shutout victories at home, where the club has shown much better.
“We need to prove to other teams and ourselves that the road’s just another soccer field to win on,” goalkeeper Tally Hall said. “Inside the lines, it shouldn’t really matter too much. I don’t see why we can’t win on the road.”
Said Davis: “We have a good team here and have been playing really, really well and the confidence is starting to grow here. It honestly doesn’t matter what we’ve done, we’re looking at what we can do and what we believe we can do and I think that’s what you have to do.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.