Momentum in sports is a great thing to have but a tough thing to keep. For the Houston Dynamo, maintaining the momentum of their four-game unbeaten streak means once again taking care of business on the road on Saturday night. Houston travels to Chicago to face the Fire (7:30 p.m.), a team is that looking to get back on the right track.
“They’re coming off a couple of loses, so they’ll be hungry to get a win,” defender Andre Hainault said. “When you play on the road, it’s always a little tougher, but we’re ready for that. Teams are creating better and better home-field advantages with the crowds, so we’re used to that.”
The Dynamo’s strategy of playing on the road involves matching the home team’s intensity and playing an attacking style for a full 90 minutes. They’ll look to use the same formula this weekend at Toyota Park, where the Dynamo have been successful with a 3-1-1 record in their five matches there since moving to Houston from San Jose.
“They’re coming off a loss, so they’ll come out firing,” said Dynamo midfielder Geoff Cameron, who is making his first return to the scene of a PCL injury that derailed his 2010 season almost exactly one year ago. “We have to come out with the same energy and same mentality and match their effort. For us it’s doing the same things and keep producing.”
Chicago will depend on the dangerous Marco Pappa for their inspiration. The Guatemalan midfielder, who’s dangerous as a playmaker and scorer, is projected to be employed on the right side of midfield. That would mean he’ll cross paths with the trio of left midfielder Brad Davis, left back Corey Ashe, and left center back Hainault.
“I’ve seen him a couple of years now and I’m getting to know a couple of his moves, but he’s a tough player and he gets a lot of respect around the league,” Hainault said about the talented Pappa. “He’s one of those players that you have to take one play at a time and read what he’s doing. So it’s definitely going to be challenging.”
While the Dynamo will again miss starters Brian Ching and Jermaine Taylor, they should be close to full strength this weekend despite some injury scares earlier in the week to starters Danny Cruz, Lovel Palmer and Hainault. The trio should be ready to go Saturday night and newcomer Je-Vaughn Watson will make the trip to Chicago although his availability is still in question.
Houston are riding high while Chicago have struggled of late, but streaks and records will not count when they meet this weekend.
“When you look at their games, they’re never out of it,” Kinnear said. “The message from me will be, ‘Let’s keep doing the same things with the same energy,’ because this is one of those games where you have to play for 90 minutes because they’re a good team.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.