Five months ago, the word around the Houston Dynamo locker room was birth, as midfielders Colin Clark and Adam Moffat prepared for the births of their son and daughter, respectively. Nowadays, the word around the locker room is berth, as the Houston Dynamo head into the next week looking to clinch berths in the playoffs and CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.
The first hurdle comes Saturday, when the Dynamo welcome the Philadelphia Union to BBVA Compass Stadium. With a one point lead over the Columbus Crew and two games to go in the regular season, the Dynamo can secure their playoff spot on Saturday with a win and a Columbus loss to D.C. United. If any other scenario happens, the Dynamo's playoff fate will not be decided until next weekend, when they travel to the Colorado Rapids for their regular season finale.
Although head coach Dominic Kinnear is focused on winning Saturday's match, he must also keep in mind the Champions League match against Olimpia only three days later.
After three matches, the Dynamo are in pole position of their group, with a three-point lead over second-place Olimpia. If the Dynamo earn a win or a draw on Tuesday, they will finish in first place in their group and advance to the quarterfinals, to be played March 2013. If Olimpia defeats the Dynamo on Tuesday, the Honduran club will tie the Dynamo atop the group with seven points, but will advance to the next round due to the head-to-head goal differential tiebreaker. The two clubs played to a 1-1 draw in Hondruas on August 30.
With midfielder Brad Davis returning to training this week, Kinnear should have a full arsenal at his disposal this week, as the Dynamo look for their sixth playoff spot in seven seasons and their first CCL quarterfinal berth since 2009.