If the Houston Dynamo had doubts about their ability to respond in a pressure situation, they got a good answer to that question Saturday against the New England Revolution.
Down a goal in front over 21,297 Revs fans and under pressure to get a result, Houston got their first feel of what the 2013 playoffs may be like. Their response to the adversity was to push forward, apply more pressure and answer the bell when Will Bruin blasted home a 76th-minute equalizer.
“Definitely a new level of intensity for this game,” said goalkeeper Tally Hall. “We knew that there would have been huge implications if that game had ended in a win for one team or another. It’s good that some guys got to see that time. It was a playoff atmosphere. It was that intense.”
Houston’s been in that situation a number of times in the past three years, but Hall pointed to young players such as Warren Creavalle and Jason Johnson that the experience of coming back in that environment will benefit.
Three weeks ago this type of response would not have been what anyone expected from the Dynamo. Houston was battling issues in both the attack and defense and looking to overcome stunning defeats to the Montreal Impact and New York Red Bulls in a short span of time.
Fast forward to Saturday night, the Dynamo’s demeanor was nothing close to that of nearly a month ago. Houston kept their heads up, pushed forward and for the second straight week responded within 10 minutes of conceding the only goal.
“It was one of those games of momentum swings and they had the momentum when they scored,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear. “I think this one’s a little harder because you’re down a goal on the road against a good team with a good 20 minutes to play. I thought we had the momentum when we scored and then it was kind of battling in between that.”
Things are not perfect for the Dynamo. The club will look to clean up their passing game out of the back moving forward. Just as against Chivas USA, it was a giveaway in their own half that led to the Revs only goal. That will be on the top of the to-do list before they face the Impact Friday night (7:30 p.m. CT; TICKETS).
However, their latest response against the Revs in a game where their opponent was looking to bully them around was just the latest in step in the right direction for a Dynamo team that’s putting a tough stretch behind them.
“I think we showed some character after giving up a goal, and keeping our heads in it and pushing for that goal,” Bruin said. “This time it went on the right side of the post as opposed to a few weeks ago. Hopefully we can build on it enough with our home games coming up.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.