One step forward and two steps back. That’s the theme that best describes the Houston Dynamo at this point of the season.
A week after earning a strong victory over Chivas USA, the Dynamo could not capitalize on their momentum and dropped another tough result at home in their 2-0 loss to the Columbus Crew on Saturday. As Houston digs into the meat of its schedule, frustration is setting in and the Dynamo are starting to feel some pressure.
“I wish I had the answer to that,” said Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear when asked about the difference between the team’s performances from last week. “We all came out flat and gave up a terrible goal. As a unit, both individually and collectively, we were off. And when you are, your chances are very slim.”
Flat is an apt way to characterize Houston’s performance. The home team came out a step slow and was unable to get its attack in order early. The lack of energy to start the game, coupled with Lovel Palmer's red card in the second half short-circuited the Dynamo's attack. Players condeded that the effort and level of consistency is not where it needs to be after 15 games.
“I think we’re all frustrated,” said second-half sub Danny Cruz. “Any time you’re down a goal and then you give up another one, you put your hands up and say it’s not good enough. I lost my man on the second goal and take responsibility for it.”
Now back in an unwanted position, the Dynamo are once again looking for answers. Unsure of where those answers will come from and reeling from a bad performance, the mood of the team can be summed up in one word.
“Struggling,” said Cruz. “It’s never good to lose. I feel bad, and I’m sure everyone feels [bad].”
Left to get back to work on Monday, the Dynamo are looking to a week where they again must take a step back and figure out what went wrong. While that has proven to be a tough task thus far in 2011, the team is aware that the postseason clock is still ticking, even if it is only June.
“We’ve got to take this week and look at what we did wrong and get past it, because we’ve got another big game this weekend,” Cruz said. “Monday, we get back at it, and we have to correct things by next week, because we don’t have to time to keep giving up points.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.