Their finish to the 2011 season could provide the blueprint to success for this season’s Houston Dynamo.
After going winless in their first 15 games on the road last year, Houston notched their first win on Sept. 24 at rivals FC Dallas 1-0. The win spurred them on to a late-season four-game road winning streak, including a victory on the Philadelphia Union’s home turf in the conference semifinals and then another win in Eastern Conference championship in Kansas City on their way to the MLS Cup final.
Fast-forward to 2012 and club has the same opportunity. Despite being dominant at home, Houston is just 3-8-5 on the road this season with a matchup looming this weekend against the Colorado Rapids that they are hoping will give them their first road win since July 28.
“If we can go out and get a good road result, we can get some momentum to the playoffs,” forward Will Bruin said. “You saw last year, we got hot there at the end of the season and we rode it all the way to the finals.”
Building that road momentum will likely be essential for the Dynamo in the postseason. As the fifth seed in the East, they could face as many as four road matches versus just two at home.
While the seeding is far from determined – Houston could finish as high as third in the East if results fall right – Saturday’s visit to Colorado could be a chance to pick up some momentum away from home for a postseason where success could come with a lot of frequent-flyer miles.
“We know it’s going to be a tough road; the playoffs are always tough and there’s nothing easy about it,” defender Corey Ashe said. “I’m sure we will use this game as a stepping stone for the next playoff game.”
As the postseason picture stands now, the Dynamo would travel to Red Bull Arena for a Knockout Round match on Oct. 31 and, if they win, would have to travel back to LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in the second leg of the Conference Semifinals.
“I really feel like we’re a team that’s tried to hold ourselves accountable all the time,” said defender Bobby Boswell. “It’s not a light switch where you say, ‘Boom, it’s the playoffs and turn it on.’ We’ve been working hard and playing hard and we got to where we want to be which is the postseason but we still have to finish the season out and that’s the most important thing.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.