Make no mistake, it has been an up-and-down first half for the Houston Dynamo.
At midway point of their season after Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with the Chicago Fire, Houston currently sit fifth in the Eastern Conference with 24 points, a respectable total considering 10 of their 17 matches have been played on the road. But going beyond the numbers, the Dynamo can look back and find both positives to build on and negatives to correct as they look to next 17 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: HOU 0, CHI 0
On the upside, Houston have shown that their reputation of being one the toughest home team in MLS has carried over to BBVA Compass Stadium.
“One of the big things for us is to continue being undefeated at home,” said midfielder Brad Davis. “We haven’t had as many games yet, but whenever you defend your home, that’s a good thing.”
Entering the season, the Dynamo were the best home team in MLS history meaning their 4-0-3 home record, running their unbeaten stint in Houston to 15 games dating back to June 18, 2011, is simply par for the course.
The strong home record is accompanied by the emergence of second-year striker Will Bruin as one of the team's top players in the first half of the season. The young striker has carried the goalscoring load for Houston with nine goals in the first 17 games.
But for all the positives, there have been plenty of low points as well.
After a fast start notching back to back road shutout wins in weeks one and two, the Dynamo are 0-5-3 in their last eight road matches, having given up 18 goals away from the steamy confines of BBVA Compass.
“Our road record is something we need to do a bit better on,” said Brian Ching. “We’re a team that allows less goals against us and it’s something we have to get back to. I think we’ve made some uncharacteristic mistakes on the road at times and hopefully, we can correct that in the second half of the season.”
While the first half of the season has not gone perfectly, having navigated a tough schedule and dealt with some unexpected issues in the back the Dynamo – who have a history of making late pushes – feel ready to capitalize in a second half where they will play 10 of their last 17 at home.
“Every year you’ll see us going on a winning streak,” Davis said. “If you stay undefeated at home, you’ll most likely be in the playoffs.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.