Much has been said over the past few weeks regarding the tactical acumen of Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. When the postseason hits, few coaches have been able to rally their troops and manage a squad better than Kinnear, whose tactics will be tested once again this weekend at RFK Stadium.
For the second consecutive series, the Dynamo enter the second leg on the road with a two-goal advantage. Houston defeated Sporting Kansas City 2-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium in the Eastern Conference semifinal first leg, before falling 1-0 in a hard-fought battle in leg two at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. That second game in Kansas City will be looked upon as a learning experience for Houston as the squad enters Sunday’s second-leg match against D.C. United with a 3-1 lead in the series.
“Hopefully, we learned a little bit of a lesson to try and not sit back so much,” midfielder Brad Davis said regarding Houston’s second leg against Sporting KC. “We didn’t try [to sit back], but Kansas City did a good job pressuring us and DC is going to try and do the same. It’s important for us to keep our heads, keep our composure, still try and play the game and play well.”
Although D.C. United lacks the attacking reputation of a Sporting KC, Ben Olsen’s side scored 37 goals at home during the regular season, second only to the San Jose Earthquakes. United also had a +20 goal differential at home, second only to San Jose's 21.
“We know they are going to throw everything at us and throw numbers forward,” said forward Will Bruin. “We know they need to get at least two goals and shut us out to tie it up with the aggregate. If we can go out and get one early we’ll make it even tougher on them.”
With a week to rest between the first and second leg, Kinnear hopes to have a full squad available come Sunday. Regardless, the Dynamo head coach is taking nothing for granted despite his club’s recent playoff success.
“The plan is always to try and win the game, have possession and have chances in the attacking end,” Kinnear said. “By no means are we saying 3-1 is enough, it’s possible we may need another. It should be enough, but that doesn’t mean we are going to sit in and defend the entire game.”
Added Davis: “I would love to see us go after it and try and score some goals. We are going to try and win the game and make it difficult for them. We are looking forward to it. Our trainings have been really sharp and we are ready to get back after it.”