For the past three months, the Houston Dynamo have been busy digging a hole for themselves. Saturday night’s showdown against the Chicago Fire marks an opportunity for the Dynamo to begin to take a first step out of that hole by securing three points in a pivotal match against a playoff contender at home.
“Enough talk,” said Dynamo forward Brian Ching. “We have to go out and produce. We have said that several times over the last few games, but we have to go out there and get a win.”
With only 10 games remaining on its schedule, Houston knows it will need possibly six or seven wins. For a team that has not defeated a fellow MLS squad in nearly three months, that might seem like a Herculean task.
“There are points out there,” Ching said. “However, I am sure other teams are looking at us and thinking there are easy points here.”
Houston fell to Chicago 2-0 on the road on April 24. Since that game, the Fire have bolstered their squad with the acquisition of Nery Castillo, Freddie Ljungberg, and Gonzalo Segares. With the new players just starting to integrate with their team, Houston knows it will have to adjust on the fly.
“We aren’t going to go into the game without knowing [about their new personnel]," said defender Bobby Boswell. “However, you learn more playing against someone than you see on film. That first step or first touch is a new experience, and as a defender, you have to learn quickly and adapt to it.”
After watching the Fire and their new personnel in a 2-1 win Wednesday night against New England, Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear was impressed.
“It was a good win for them on Wednesday night,” Kinnear said. “For a team to win that game, they should take some positives out of it. Some guys played some meaningful minutes for them, and they looked sharp.”
Despite the impressive performance, Houston is hoping to capitalize on tired legs and the August heat and humidity.
“They have played two games this week,” Kinnear said. “We have been on the other end of that, and if you get on a team early, it makes it difficult for them, and that’s important for us.”
“We are in as big a do-or-die situation as there is, especially at home,” Boswell said. “It comes down to us.”
Dwain Capodice is a contributor to MLSsoccer.com. Questions or comments can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.