Before the Houston Dynamo ended their preseason they had a meeting to lay out their goals for the season, one of those being to get off to a strong start.
After a 4-0 rout of the New England Revolution to open the 2014 campaign, the club can mark that one off their list.
Houston dominated the Revolution early and often, getting out to a three-goal lead in just 23 minutes. Then it was a matter of seeing out the game, as they held off the desperate visitors and sealed the victory with a stoppage time ricochet off Omar Cummings' head.
“I think we definitely sent a message and set the tone for this season,” Dynamo right back Kofi Sarkodie said. “We came out and scored three goals in 18 or 20 minutes. We were resilient defensively and guys were everywhere. The mentality was really good and I think this team’s serious and really trying to make a push this year.”
Strong words from Sarkodie, but how could you blame him given the way Houston came out of the gates?
“I thought the first half an hour you could say it’s the best I’ve ever seen this team play, and that’s the saying something,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “I thought the goals were excellent. Our reaction when the ball turned over was really good and we were really sharp in front of goal.
“At halftime walking up the tunnel I was a little bit dumbfounded because we didn’t expect it. But I will say I have a great seat watching these guys play, and they were excellent."
It wasn't all so rosy in the second half, though. The Revolution eventually woke up and created their fair share of chances as Diego Fagundez and Teal Bunbury were consistent pests going forward for the Revs. Also, Houston newcomer Tony Cascio left the game in the 57th minute injured.
“I do know he twisted his knee a little bit, which is unfortunate because I thought he had played well,” Kinnear said postgame. “We’ll find out more obviously on Monday morning.”
The Cascio injury and New England's fightback notwithstanding, Houston can take plenty from the big win and hope they have demonstrated their quality to the rest of MLS.
“It’s an organization that knows how to get things done,” said center back David Horst. “I think you see these New York’s, L.A.’s and even Portland bringing in these players from out of the country, and the fans like the big names, but the big names don’t always get the job done.
“Dom’s been around for a while and he knows the pieces he needs to get things done. It’s not a difficult equation for him.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.