Six months ago, the Houston Dynamo stepped off the Home Depot Center field as the second-best team for the second year in a row.
It was the latest in Houston’s struggles at the HDC vs. the Galaxy, where they are 2-7-2 all-time versus the defending champions, including those two MLS Cup losses.
On Sunday, Houston return to the stadium that has held so many rough outings over the years (10 pm CT, ESPN2, LIVE chat on MLSsoccer.com). While history is against them, they believe looking back too much, or at all, is not the best recipe for success.
“I haven’t watched the game once and haven’t really thought about it since a week after,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “You let it go. The last two trips to the Home Depot Center haven’t been wonderful, but it’s a league game and I hate to draw comparisons to the MLS Cup final to a league game, especially at this time of the season, is a little bit too much at this time of the season.”
Putting that MLS Cup match behind them could be a good thing, considering the LA team they may see may be a much younger version. There is no more David Beckham, and the likes of Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan may not be fit for the match. The trio was the three-headed monster that played such a large role in dealing Houston back-to-back heartbreaks in the MLS Cup final.
While the old guard may be ailing, or in Beckham’s case on a French adventure, the Galaxy’s youngsters have Houston’s full attention after springing a 2-0 victory at Real Salt Lake last week.
“To go to Salt Lake and get a 2-0 win with guys like [Jack] McBean and [Charlie] Rugg leading the forward line and [Gyasi] Zardes coming in, it shows the desire for those guys to win and that it’s a very incredible group,” Kinnear said. “Young guys go through moments in MLS where their confidence is very high and then sometimes it’s not so great. Those guys have definitely started out on a high.”
Regardless of who is donning the Galaxy uniform, Houston knows they are in for a battle in a place where there may be some demons to exorcise.
“Yeah, of course I’d like to beat them, but no matter what happens on Sunday nothing’s going to take away the fact that they beat us two years in a row in the final. We have to move on,” goalkeeper Tally Hall said. “It’s always fun to face those opponents, even though you look at the history of that battle and we don’t come out on top often, those are the games you want to play in.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.