The Houston Dynamo came into Saturday’s match against Toronto FC in search of momentum heading into the second half of the season.
After a 2-0 victory: Mission accomplished.
The Dynamo controlled the match from the first kick. They dominated possession and were up to the challenge defensively on those rare occasions that Toronto actually ventured out of its own half. It was the type of performance the Dynamo have spent two months searching out.
“[The win] gives us a lot of momentum,” said Danny Cruz, who struck for his first goal of the season. “I think it’s a big swing. Any time you get three points and have that confidence going into the next week, it’s good.”
Next week, the Dynamo welcome streaking Sporting Kansas City, which Houston passed in the standings with Saturday's win and Kansas City's tie. While the end result against Toronto was exactly what the Dynamo wanted, the team looked to be in for a tough night in the first half. Despite generating numerous chances, the Dynamo could not find the solution in front of goal.
“At halftime, I think we were frustrated because we had some good looks in front of goal,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear. “We talked about doing the same thing but being a little quicker, because they’re trying to sit in.”
Cruz’s goal unlocked the game, and an 81st-minute strike from Geoff Cameron sealed the three points.
“It’s always good to win at home,” Kinnear said. “We’ve won five out of 10, which is good, and the goal is to always get three points. We leapfrogged a team and it puts us in a better spot. You can get some momentum and pass some teams if you put some wins together.”
The Dynamo entered Saturday’s match following two draws on the road. Getting the win at home was important, but as Kinnear said, the venue is not as important as the points.
“We could win this game in my backyard, and I’d be happy,” he said. “Everywhere we go, even on the road, we don’t try and sit in and soak up for a point.”
Added Corey Ashe: “[The win’s] huge, but with that being said, we still have a long way to go. We need to climb the ladder. We have some home games, and we need to start capitalizing.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.