As the Houston Dynamo look to kick off their second-half push, the club is looking to strike a long sought-after balance between attack and defense.
Throughout the first half of the season, the Dynamo have been strong in either defense or attack, but have struggled to put together complete performances on a consistent basis. Houston have pitched six shutouts in 2012, but have scored just three goals in those matches. Conversely, in games where Houston have scored two or more goals, the club has a record of 2-2-3, giving up 16 goals in the process.
WATCH: Hainault's great defensive play
A recent shift in formation has translated into back-to-back clean sheets for the Dynamo, who are on a shutout streak that currently stands at 223 minutes. Now the goal is to build on the offensive side of the ball to complement their renewed defensive form.
“We know we’re not exactly lighting the scoreboard up, but we were unbeaten last week [0-0 tie at Sporting] and that’s a positive,” Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear told MLSsoccer.com, "but there’s always room for improvement and maintaining consistency is something we’re striving for.
“We gave up seven goals in two games and made an adjustment and now the attack has suffered a bit,” the Dynamo boss continued. “It’s a balancing act. … To give yourself a chance to win games, you have to defend well and score goals, and we’re trying to do both.”
The schedule seems to be cooperating with three home matches next week at BBVA Compass Stadium, where the Dynamo have scored 10 goals in seven matches.
“We’ve got three at home where we’re undefeated and we need to start picking up ground and getting some points,” midfielder Brad Davis said. “We’ve gone two games giving up no goals which is a positive. I’d like to see the floodgates open up for sure, everybody would, but we can’t get away from what we’re doing.”
With balance on the mind and the upcoming home games against D.C. United and Sporting Kansas City – the top two teams in the East – followed by a match against a Montreal Impact club that has been woeful on the road, Houston are hoping to use their home dominance to push them towards the playoffs.
“We’ve gotten some pretty good results and we have a week of training here to revamp mentally,” said leading scorer Will Bruin. “We’re confident at home. … We’ve got to start stringing some wins together. If we can get some momentum going, we’ll be a pretty tough team going forward.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.