They say home is where the heart is, but for the Houston Dynamo, it is more a case of home being where their playoff hopes are.
With the club winless on the road in 2011 and the teams behind them in the playoff standings having games in hand, the Dynamo knew going into last weekend that if they want to make the postseason, capitalizing on their remaining home games was their top priority. Saturday’s 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes was another step in that direction.
“We need wins, and we continue to need them,” said goalkeeper Tally Hall. “It’s the first step in the last five games, and we continue to make a run of it. We’re not in the position we want to be, so we have to keep getting points.”
Taking care of the home field is the reason the Dynamo are in the playoff hunt. Houston is currently on a six-game home unbeaten streak against MLS clubs that dates back to July 9. The recent home form is just the latest example of the Dynamo’s dominance at Robertson Stadium. Their 30 points (9-3-3) at home trails only the LA Galaxy (35) and Real Salt Lake (33) for most points gained at home.
On the flip side, the Dynamo have yet to win on the road all season.
“You have to keep an eye on your own results and your own games,” said midfielder Geoff Cameron. “We have two home games left, and we have to take advantage of that.”
Cool demeanor down the stretch
In what is becoming the norm, the Dynamo once again came up with a late game-winning goal on Saturday when Will Bruin struck in the 79th minute. Houston has pulled out a winning or tying goal in the final 15 minutes nine times in 2011, including five of their last eight MLS matches, all indicative of the Dynamo's confidence in the late stages.
“We know what works, and we know we are dangerous in multiple ways,” said forward Calen Carr, who made his first Dynamo start Saturday night. “We know we are going to get chances, and it’s a testament to the guys’ heart that the guys like Will [Bruin] come in and score big goals at the end.”
Cameron in defense
Saturday’s game marked the second straight match that Cameron featured as a central defender. He paired with Bobby Boswell to anchor the Dynamo defense, while Luiz Camargo made his second start in a row in central midfield, where he tallied an assist on the game-winner.
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.