Much has been made of the Houston Dynamo’s success at BBVA Compass Stadium. The club became the fourth team in MLS history to complete an unbeaten home schedule with an 11-0-6 record at their new downtown home in 2012. To ensure a home playoff game, however, the Dynamo will have to do something that doesn’t happen often in MLS: win on the road.
“We know it’s one game. In order for us to advance, we need to win this game,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear told reporters on Tuesday. “It’s important for our players to step on the field with a positive attitude, knowing that we have respect for our opponent, but we don’t fear them.”
Heading into tonight’s match against the Fire, the Dynamo will need to overcome the road troubles that plagued them throughout 2012. Houston finished the season 3-9-5 on the road with a -12 road differential, second worst among 2012 playoff teams.
On the bright side for Houston, they do not have to look too far back for an example of how to turn the road troubles around. After finishing last year’s regular season with 2-6-9 road record, the Dynamo won consecutive road playoff games against the Philadelphia Union and Sporting Kansas City en route to a berth in the MLS Cup final.
“The road has not been too kind to us,” said midfielder Brad Davis. “If you look at last year, it took us the whole year to get the first road win. This is a situation we have been in before, so we know we have the confidence to get through it.”
Much of the talk surrounding Wednesday’s match against the Fire has been about the experience of each squad. 11 of the players who featured in last year’s MLS Cup final for Houston are still with the team and that doesn’t account for Will Bruin, who sat out last year’s final but led the Dynamo with 12 goals in 2012.
“I think we have a team here that is in a similar situation as last year,” Davis said. “It’s a team that has been here before and we are excited about it."
Kinnear added: "When you look at it, I think we have a very talented team. We are a difficult team to play against, a difficult team to beat, but in order for us to be that way we have to play well, individually and collectively."