HOUSTON – With a perfect start to their 2011 preseason, the Houston Dynamo are heading to the place that best describes their mood: the happiest place on earth.
Dominic Kinnear’s men are on their way to Orlando, Fla., to play in the Disney Classic and extend their unblemished start with an eye towards preparing for the regular season.
While it’s only preseason, anyone who has been around the club knows that competitiveness is high within the organization. The team will have a chance to perform in a tournament environment in Orlando this week against MLS competition.
“Winning never gets old,” said Geoff Cameron shortly before the team departed for Florida. “We’re getting our swagger back.”
The Dynamo will play a scrimmage against Seattle Sounders FC on Tuesday before participating in the Disney Classic. They then face Toronto FC on Thursday in their first tournament match and then move on to play either FC Dallas or USL club Orlando City on Saturday.
After two scrimmage wins against the Dynamo Academy U-18s and Houston Baptist University, Kinnear wanted to see how the club would perform against other MLS clubs. Being undefeated and scoring 11 goals in four matches against league opponents in Texas and Arizona has Kinnear happy with what he's seeing.
“It’s always good to play against the competition you are going to see,” said Kinnear. “The games have been very competitive, they’ve been physical and that is what you know you are going to get in the season.”
With possibly three more matches against MLS teams this week, Kinnear will get another good look at where his club is.
Despite their recent success, the Dynamo realize the preseason is not about records. In 2010, the club went undefeated in preseason and then endured their toughest regular season since the club arrived in Houston, going 9-15-6 and missing the MLS Cup Playoffs.
“I still think we have a long ways to go right now,” said team captain Brian Ching. “It’s about trying to find the matchups within the team that works and continue scoring goals – that’s what’s going to win us games this year.”
To that end, Houston are focused on using their trip to Orlando to continue getting into regular-season shape. Improving fitness and building cohesion within the team are the club’s top priorities this week.
“We’re going down there to get fit and keep getting use to playing with each other,” said Cameron. “With the new guys we’ve brought in, it’s a way for the team to find its form before the home opener.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.