Figuring out why things are going wrong can be the hardest thing for a team to do. The Dynamo are experiencing this during their seven-game winless streak.
The team is struggling to find answers to its setbacks, which include poor finishing, inconsistent play, and not closing out games. Making matters worse is that the Dynamo feel they are playing well in long stretches but cannot seem to find their way back into the win column. With the extended struggles, it would be easy for players to get down on themselves, but the mood at practice from top to bottom has been positive as they seek to ride out the storm.
“There has been good football played, so we have to stay positive,” said midfielder Danny Cruz. “If we start letting the past overtake us, we’re going to keep struggling.”
Staying positive is easier said than done. Without success for extended periods of time, that positivity can turn to anger. The players admit that at times they feel that winning — something that seemed to come with ease in April — is the hardest thing to do.
“You have to want to win and go out and do it,” Geoff Cameron said. “[Head coach Dominic Kinnear] put that as a challenge to us: Do we want to be winners? We have to step up and pass that challenge.”
That challenge is posed every day in practice by Kinnear, who said he is confident that the club’s recent struggles will be reversed by working hard during the week and fine-tuning the “little things.”
“We just have a good week of training and put [things] far behind us,” Kinnear said. “Every week we point out the good and the bad. We don’t hide from it, so it’s us being responsible for how the team plays. That starts with me and works its way down the team.”
The message is resonating with the players, and with the Eastern Conference struggling as a whole, everyone understands that the time to turn things around is now.
“I believe if we continue to play well, the results will come,” Cruz said. “We just need to stay focused, because, for all our troubles, we’re only six points out of first place.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.