ORLANDO, Fla. – Facing a seven-match road trip to start the 2012 MLS regular season, Dynamo center back Geoff Cameron knows that it will be critical for his team to develop a killer instinct in front of goal if they want to have any chance at early success.
That wasn’t the case on Saturday night, when the Houston Dynamo fell 1-0 to FC Dallas in the consolation match of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic when the men in orange failed to capitalize on several opportunities to equalize a ninth-minute PK by Brek Shea.
“We have a long road ahead of us,” Cameron told MLSsoccer.com. “When there’s an opportunity, we have to be able to punish other teams. That’s one thing we did toward the end of last season. We had the opportunities and made teams pay.”
Cameron and fellow defender Andre Hainault had clear set-piece headers which missed the mark and Brad Davis struck the bar in the second half. Houston forward Calen Carr seemed a sure bet to head home the rebound on the Davis effort, only for Dallas defender Ugo Ihemelu to clear at the last moment.
The lost opportunity that will sting the most is the second-half Davis penalty kick that was saved by FC Dallas netminder Kevin Hartman. In total, the goal-scoring balance for the Houston Dynamo in Orlando resulted in a single goal in four matches.
“Building up to this week [First Kick vs. Chivas USA], it’s been a pretty good preseason for us,” Cameron continued. “Now we have to put the switch on because with the season starting this coming week, we have to be aware of it and ready. Mentally you have to be sharp. You can’t dwell on balls and turn off on plays. That’s something we have to do better.”“We’ve got to find the form of those guys [forwards] and be consistent with one another and use them to their strengths,” Cameron said about the club's strikers. “If we do that, we’ll be ok.
In his first match since returning from U.S. national team duty after Wednesday’s historic 1-0 victory in Italy, Cameron felt that the switch was not on for several of the Dynamo players.
“In the first 10-15 minutes we didn’t come to play and that was a problem,” Cameron said about the 1-0 loss in Saturday night’s Disney tournament consolation match. “Some guys were ready and some weren’t, and that hurt us in the first 10-15 minutes because they [FC Dallas] found a rhythm and we didn’t.
“In the second half we came out fighting,” continued Cameron. “We outplayed them [FC Dallas] in the second half. When we fight and start putting tackles in and start controlling the ball and switching the ball, we’re a good team.”