With the playoffs on the line in the next four matches, the Houston Dynamo are looking to take full advantage of the edge provided by their 2012 schedule.
Undefeated at home in their last 22 regular season matches (including 14 in 2012), the Dynamo are heading into a three-game homestand at BBVA Compass Stadium against the New England Revolution, Montreal Impact and Philadelphia Union. They are three East clubs currently on the outside looking into the playoff picture.
If Houston can hold serve with three big results, they are likely to book passage and improve their seeding heading into the MLS postseason.
WATCH: Philadelphia stun Dynamo at PPL
“I think the mentality has to be that they all have to be wins,” veteran Brad Davis said on Tuesday. “With where we’re at [in the standings] and what’s going on, our destiny’s in our own hands and if we get nine points at home we’re in pretty good position for the playoffs and maybe jump up a little bit.”
The good news for Houston is that they have been excellent at home this season. Houston is the only team in MLS undefeated at home with a 9-0-5 record. Over the course of those 14 games the Dynamo have transformed BBVA Compass Stadium into a fortress.
The three teams Houston will face next are a combined 5-30-7 on the road this season, but the Dynamo still have fresh memories of how teams such as Toronto FC and the Portland Timbers pushed Houston to their limit at BBVA Compass earlier this season.
“You can’t look at teams as weaker teams,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “You have to look at everybody as 11 professionals and you have to prepare for every team the same way. You can’t say that ‘this team is low in the standings it’s going to be an easier day.’ You have to prepare that when that team steps on the field, they’re going to play their best.”
Still, Houston will enter each match as the decided favorite. How they respond to that will go a long way toward determining where they stand come playoff time.
“We’ve got three at home and we’ve been tough at home and we’ve got to keep it going more than ever,” forward Will Bruin said. “This is going to make or break us these three games at home. We’ve got to come out with fire. We can’t take anything lightly … We want to improve our position and that starts with getting three points on Saturday.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.