Urgency is starting to set in for the Houston Dynamo. After what could easily be characterized as a spirited week of training, the Dynamo are looking to come out and take steps to return to their consistently physical and high-pressure form. That starts Saturday against Chivas USA (7:30 p.m.), as Houston is looking to turn up the intensity as a way to get back into the win column.
“For us, the keys are always to get in and pressure them and create chances for ourselves,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear. “Pressure is always important. Any time you step on the field, you can’t let them be comfortable.”
To apply that pressure, the Dynamo will have to shore up the loose ends players have talked about in recent weeks. They have been plagued by momentary lapses that opponents have capitalized on, which has cost the team in the standings.
“I think it’s about us this week,” said defender Hunter Freeman. “[We need to be] concentrating and defending well and just busting our butts as a team and not giving up easy chances. We’ve got to make teams earn it. If they earn a good goal, you can at least say, ‘Hey, they just did well.’ But we’ve been hurting ourselves, because we’ve been giving them easy chances, and that’s something we have to eliminate.”
The Dynamo know that Chivas USA will be a tough opponent against which to get over that hump. Despite a dubious track record at Robertson Stadium in which the Goats have not scored a goal in league or playoff play in five years, Robin Fraser's men are building a reputation for being able to grind out results, and that will be a challenge for the Dynamo.
With a number of talented players who can attack and a very solid defense, Chivas present the same type of challenge that teams feel the Dynamo do when they are on top of their game. Knowing that, Houston is counting on applying constant pressure and setting a quick pace to break back into the win column.
“They have some good players on the ball, so you can’t let them have time there,” Kinnear said. “Against any good player, you have to put pressure on them and make them make a decision quick. You want to make it as uncomfortable for them as possible.”
Setting that quick pace and applying constant pressure on what should be a typical hot and muggy night in Houston is the formula the Dynamo are counting on to put them back on the winning track.
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.