The Houston Dynamo do not lose at home. That’s not a subjective statement, but more of a statement of fact. Since the team arrived in Houston from San Jose prior to the 2006 season, Dominic Kinnear’s squad has lost only 17 MLS home over the course of seven seasons – plus three games.
How difficult is it to beat the Dynamo in Houston? Just ask D.C. United and Real Salt Lake, two teams that are consistently near the top of the table and yet each club is 0-8-1 against the men in orange at either Robertson Stadium or BBVA Compass Stadium. However, when the Dynamo take the field on Sunday, they will be playing one of the few teams in MLS history that has had relative success playing in Houston.
The Chicago Fire are 2-3-3 all-time when playing Houston on the road. That’s not a record that one might brag about until you realize that the Fire are one of only four teams in the league to have won two or more road games against the Dynamo – LA Galaxy, New England Revolution and Philadelphia Union the others.
WATCH: Davis, Moffat, Kinnear talk Fire
So what makes the Fire such a difficult opponent for Houston? Defender Corey Ashe believes it’s about their style of play.
“I think when they come here they do a good job of defending, keeping it compact and just being a wall and difficult to break down,” the left back said. “They are a very good, organized team with a good balance of attacking as well. They constantly switch things up and are just difficult to break down.”
The numbers back up Ashe’s assertion. According to Opta Sports, in last year’s meeting between the Dynamo and Fire in Houston, Chicago managed only 190 passes in Houston’s half of the field. That number is the fourth fewest passes in the opposing half for Chicago for any road game in 2012 and 28 fewer than their season average.
If the Fire are going to continue their trend of strong performances in Houston, one can expect that Brazilian striker Maicon Santos will play a role. The veteran striker has three goals and 14 shot attempts in 9 career games against the Dynamo. Santos also scored a brace in last week’s 3-1 Fire win, his first two goals of 2013.
Ashe believes that stopping Santos will be a key if Houston wants to rebound from their loss last week at Portland.
“He is a good, strong, physical player,” the 5-foot-7 defender said of Fire striker. “He’s a good finisher with a great left foot. You just have to know where he is at all times.
“He has found a knack of scoring against us, but I think come Sunday we will have that covered. He is starting to find his form so everyone just has to be accountable.”