If you saw Houston Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear reach for the ball at the end of the Sunday’s 3-1 win over the LA Galaxy, it was for good reason — Sunday’s victory marked the eighth-year head coach’s 100th win in MLS regular-season play.
“It’s great, and it’s an honor for him,” said midfielder Brad Davis, who has played for Kinnear since 2005. “I don’t know how many coaches have 100 wins, but I’m sure it’s not a long list, and he deserves to be on it.”
The list is indeed not long. With the win, Kinnear joined Seattle Sounders coach Sigi Schmid, LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena, newly appointed Egypt head man Bob Bradley, and now former New England Revolution head coach Steve Nicol as the only managers in MLS history to accomplish the feat. The fact that the win came against Arena’s Galaxy made the accomplishment that much more significant.
“He has been an outstanding coach in the league,” Arena told reporters after the game. “Although I’m not happy to be on this end of his 100th victory, it is well-earned. It is a great milestone, and I’m happy for Dominic that he reached it.”
When talking to Kinnear’s players after the game, they remarked on his work ethic and willingness to put everything into his job. His hands-on approach on the field and effort off it are things the players believe have made him one of the top coaches in MLS.
“He puts everything into his coaching,” Davis said. "He wants the best for his team and demands the best for us, and it shows."
The milestone, ironically, comes in a season in which Kinnear's squad has experienced some ups and downs. Houston hit a lull in the middle of the year as the team battled consistency issues, which led to some skepticism about the team’s prospects.
The pessimism turned out to be premature. Since July 30, the Dynamo have shot up the standings with an impressive 7-2-4 record to finish second in the Eastern Conference. They head into the playoffs this weekend with a six-game unbeaten streak, having outscored opponents 11-5 in that stretch.
Kinnear's 100th victory was not just a milestone; it’s the one that booked the team’s passage into the conference semifinals and has the club positioned well with home-field advantage at least through the first playoff series.
“People doubted him early in the season, and look at what he’s done with us this year,” said Geoff Cameron. “It’s a tribute to him as a coach and his hard work, day in and day out, and his putting the right team out there. He’s got us in the playoffs, and we’re going to make a run for it.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer