Sunday was just another typical Houston day at BBVA Compass Stadium. The sun was shining, the humidity was rising and the Houston Dynamo were on the right side of the result. The outcome, however, carried plenty of history with it.
Courtesy of a late goal from Brad Davis, the Dynamo once again found a way to claim a result at home, this time a 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire. In the process the Dynamo also claimed the mark for the longest home unbeaten sreak in all competitions for their own, setting the mark at 35 games.
So what makes the Dynamo such a tough club to face in their own home?
“People say ‘What is the secret?’ and I always say that we just have a good team,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “It’s about consistency. I think we have always had a good team, have always played well at home but if you don’t have a good team, you don’t have that record.”
Houston has shown that quality throughout the streak, bouncing back from bad road results, injuries and player turnover throughout the past two years. Still, when game time rolls around at home, the Dynamo have managed, for almost two years now, to come out and put on a performance that adds to their point total.
That ability has been a big part of Houston’s MLS success. While the streak is unbeaten in nature, as opposed to a pure winning streak, the win column has certainly been padded at home. Of the 35 games, 26 have been wins, an impressive mark in and of itself and a big factor behind Houston’s back-to-back trips to the MLS Cup final.
“When it gets late in games you see our team dig a little bit extra and I think that’s because we want to win every time we step on the field, especially at home,” said all-time leading goal scorer Brian Ching . “I think it’s a mentality thing. Its combination of factors, but it’s pretty special to be a part of a group that can set a record like this in a league that has a lot of parity.”
Now that the streak is theirs, life will go on the same.The players and coaches will be happy to not have to answer questions about it for a little while – the club travels to Toronto to face the Reds next week before returning home on April 28 to face the Colorado Rapids.
And while they may not talk about it as much, the streak still provides a sense of pride for all involved as the club claimed another bit of history with a routine day at the office.
“I think players can have good games, players can have bad games, but you can always will yourself to work hard,” said goalkeeper Tally Hall. “We have good games. We have bad games. There were some moments tonight when I didn’t think we looked great. The work rate never let up for a second.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.