If there is one team that knows how to win in Houston, it is the New England Revolution.
The Revs have historically been a menace to the Dynamo, holding a 4-1-1 all-time record in the Bayou City. That's a good sign for a team which is out of the playoffs and looking to play spoiler over a franchise nemesis – Houston, after all, handed New England back-to-back MLS Cup losses in 2006 and 2007.
With that, the Dynamo are expecting a stiff test from a New England team with nothing to lose (7:30 pm CT, KPRC Local 2).
“I don’t think it’s as easy as ‘since they’re out of the playoffs they’re done,’” said Adam Moffat. “I think there’s a lot of guys that want to prove themselves and want to finish well and be in the manager’s thoughts. I know what that situation’s like so they’re going to come here and work hard. We’ve just got to do our thing as a unit and just play as best as we can.”
While New England have history on their side, Houston’s home form may be an equalizer this time around.
The Dynamo are undefeated in their last 22 regular-season home matches, including a 9-0-5 record at BBVA Compass Stadium this season. With New England the first of three consecutive games at home, the Dynamo are looking to keep the trend going as they push towards the playoffs.
“Fourteen games [in 2012] we’ve had unbeaten and every time we’ve stepped on the field we’ve played well so you get those results,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “Yeah, the schedule’s worked out in our favor but it only works out in your favor if you take advantage of it.”
Corner kick efficiency
With Houston looking for continued success at home, corner kicks could be the path there. The Dynamo have tallied eight goals off corner kicks this season, second in MLS to the San Jose Earthquakes' nine, despite earning the fewest in the league. Which begs the question: how can the club put itself in more positions to capitalize on a clear strength against New England?
“I think it’s just having a positive mindset and trying to get forward,” said midfielder Brad Davis, who takes the majority of Houston's restarts. “Having confidence on the ball and wanting to make a play in the final third, that’s what it comes down to … Trying to make a play in the final third and being positive and putting teams in their own end instead of playing in ours.”
Making most of their situation
With four games to go and a point ahead of the sixth-place Columbus Crew for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot, the Dynamo are fighting for their playoff lives. While not the position many thought they would be in, the Dynamo are not looking at the past and, instead, are approaching the weekend with their attention firmly on the task at hand.
“You never think it’s going to be that way but there’s absolutely nothing we can do from the past,” Davis said. “We’re in our situation and we’ve always done well with our back against the wall. That’s where we’re at right now.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.