After a weekend that saw the club notch an impressive 2-0 road victory against the Portland Timbers and then watch three results go their way, the Dynamo know they are going to the playoffs.
But that’s all they know at this point. Depending on how things play out in games between New York and Philadelphia, Sporting Kansas City and D.C. United, and Chicago and Columbus, the Dynamo could finish anywhere from first in the Eastern Conference to last in the wildcard standings.
“There’s a big game on Thursday [between New York and Philadelphia] that we’ll be watching and then a few big games on Saturday that we'll watch,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear. “Give credit to Philadelphia, Columbus, and Kansas City, because we put some pressure on them, and they came through last week. We’ll know Saturday exactly where everything is. When we take the field on Sunday, we’ll know where we stand. Right now, I’m glad we’re in.”
In order to take first in the East, the Dynamo would need Kansas City and Philadelphia to lose, Columbus to draw or lose, and then win on Sunday against the LA Galaxy. That would eliminate an extra wildcard game and give Houston home-field advantage.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, a Red Bulls win and Houston loss will drop the Dynamo to the last playoff spot, where they will face a road wildcard game and shift their playoff trek through a tough Western Conference.
“We’ll be watching and keeping track, and it’s exciting to know where we are and what we need,” said Danny Cruz. “Adam [Moffat] and I have been talking about it being good to play Sunday and be able to see exactly what we need after the Saturday games.”
“Everything could come out where we can’t improve our standing,” Kinnear said. “The guys will want to play regardless because it’s a big game and it’s the last home game of the season and it’s a big opponent. It could be a quick turnaround after that.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.