HOUSTON — It’s unusual this early in the season to hear the veteran-laden Houston Dynamo talk about the importance of just one game as being a “must-win” game. However, the Dynamo players admit that Saturday evening’s match against D.C. United comes as close to being a must-win game as one could have only ten games into the season.
“Obviously it’s been disappointing for us with win-loss-win-loss,” noted forward Dominic Oduro. “We want to be consistent and these two home games are must-wins. We aren’t comfortable in the table and we want to move up so it’s a must win game.”
The Western Conference has a tightly packed group trailing the front running LA Galaxy. Houston is currently tied for 2nd, but three other teams have at least one game in hand. If they would win, they would all move ahead of the Dynamo in the standings. Further, the bottom team in the conference is only three points behind Houston.
As a result, any small streak can dramatically change the standings. The schizophrenic Dynamo hope that they can build a little consistency and put together a couple of wins.
“It’s not a must-win, because if we lose it, we still have a good chance to make the playoffs,” noted Richard Mulrooney. “But it’s a game we want to start turning things around a bit.”
One of the reasons stems from United’s poor start to the season. Coach Dominic Kinnear believes that D.C. are not as bad as their record indicates.
“I don’t think the way they’ve been playing is indicative of their record,” said Kinnear. “They’ve been playing better. They have been close hitting posts, missing chances, some bad luck so for us it’s a difficult game.”
Kinnear also took issue with the notion that Saturday’s game was a must-win game.
“A must-win is a game where if you lose your season’s over,” explained Kinnear. “We have twenty-one games left, but yeah if you have home games, home or away points are tough to come by and you feel more comfortable at home.”
Houston will once again have to make do without several key players. Brian Ching, Andrew Hainault, and Pat Onstad are all away with their national teams this weekend. Cam Weaver and Eddie Robinson are recovering from injuries and are hopeful for Saturday, but both seem unlikely to start.
“All home games are must-win games,” explained defender Bobby Boswell. “Especially with the way we’ve played this year with not being very consistent. We have a chance here with two home games to go out and get results and it starts with DC.”