Coming into their clash with the Philadelphia Union, Houston Dynamo knew they could stay in control of their playoff push simply by winning.
To do that the club fell back on one of their most defining characteristics.
Tied at one goal apiece in the 70th minute, and with the Columbus Crew even at two with D.C. United, Houston came through in the clutch, putting up two quickfire goals to bury the Union 3-1. The late game rally – coupled with a turn of fortune in D.C. – was enough to book the team's spot in the MLS Cup playoffs for the sixth time in seven years.
“We are a team that is a never-say-die team and we kept going,” said Brad Davis who scored a 75th minute insurance goal from the penalty spot. “We have been talking all week about it being in our hands and what to do. We needed to come out and step up and win and that’s what we did.”
Houston started the match looking to deliver an early knockout blow. With shots coming left and right, the Dynamo were unlucky to come out of the first 15 minutes with just one goal. They then let the Union back in the door as Jack McInerney equalized in the 19th minute.
With the 1-1 scoreline at the half the Dynamo coaches laso knew what was going on in DC.
“We had the Columbus game on in the [coach’s] locker room,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “We walked in and I think it was 2-1 Columbus. I don’t know if the remote still works and then as soon as I walked out of the locker room they tied it. So I had a bit of a spring in my step.
“Still we had to take care of our end of it and you can get too caught up in it,” the Dynamo boss continued. “You have to take those moments to realize what’s going on but the most important thing is to focus on what the team’s doing.”
Knowing that a draw meant another week with the pressure of only a one point lead over the Crew, the Dynamo did what they have done so many times before. The late game heroics came when Boniek García capped a quintessential team goal in the 71st minute and clinched a spot in the post season.
“We just kept plugging away and worked hard for one another,” said Adam Moffat. “We know we’re always gonna be able to score goals. It shows it’s a good team we’ve got here. It’s a good attitude to be able to go out there and to finish it off was good.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.