HOUSTON – The Houston Dynamo hope that, for a third time, the team can turn their forays heading into SuperLiga as a momentum-builder for the second-half of the team’s MLS season.
“For us, the two years we have been in SuperLiga, we have used [it as a] springboard to get moving on the rest of the season,” said Dynamo goalkeeper Pat Onstad. “Hopefully, we can do that again.”
Houston played in the inaugural 2007 edition of SuperLiga and caught fire for the remainder of their MLS campaign, going 5-1-3 after their semifinal showdown against Pachuca. The team rolled that momentum into the MLS playoffs and went on to win the 2007 MLS Cup.
Then, in 2008, the Dynamo set up another nice run following their participation in the SuperLiga group stage, going 7-3-4.
However, a complete turnaround for Houston might not be necessary. The Dynamo have begun to show signs of their former selves against quality MLS sides in their last three games. On the other hand, the team hasn’t won an MLS match since May 22, and the accompanying fall in the standings has put some additional pressure on the remainder of the season.
“We are still not where we want to be in terms of the league,” noted Onstad. “I think we’re starting to get the ship pointed in the right direction. I think we’re playing well, but not getting the results we hope for.”
“You wouldn’t mind keeping on going,” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. “I thought, league-wise, we were catching on. But it’s the schedule we’ve been given and we move on.”
With three games in six days, Houston will utilize a decent portion of their roster. While the regular starting lineup will make heavy contributions during the tournament, the Dynamo will likely rotate some of their players to keep everyone fresh.
“We have three games in a short period of time and, if this heat keeps up, to go with the same 11 Thursday, Sunday and Wednesday is probably too much,” said Kinnear. “We will probably mix and match and everyone will probably see some time.
“We want to win, but along the way you can’t just say, ‘Here’s our team,’ and run them out again,” he added. “It will be a tough job by me to come out [of SuperLiga] successful and healthy.”
Make no mistake about Houston’s intentions; they want to win SuperLiga despite the schedule difficulties and they hope to continue that momentum into their season.
“This is a team that needs to win trophies with the talent that we have, and this is another good opportunity,” noted Bobby Boswell.
Dwain Capodice is a contributor to MLSsoccer.com. Questions or Comments can be sent via email firstname.lastname@example.org.