The Houston Dynamo have been waiting for a performance like Sunday’s for over two months.
Buoyed by an interjection of energy from newcomers DaMarcus Beasley and Luis Garrido, the Dynamo were cohesive, sharp, tough and sound on both sides of the ball. The result was a 1-0 win over D.C. United, one of MLS’s best teams, and the Dynamo's first since May 17.
“It’s been the message that’s been sent for a while now,” team captain Davis said about playing a complete 90 minutes. “I don’t know why we would go out on the field without the utmost confidence. I think Sunday was a game for us to build off. There’s no reason for us now to step on the field and lower that level of play.”
Davis’ sentiments align with the talk of an attitude change and a renewed confidence throughout the club after the win.
Bringing on the good feelings was a complete performance that had eluded them throughout the entire 2014 season, not just during an eight-game winless streak. Houston had struggled to put a full 90 minutes together and in a lot of cases had games where one side of the ball was clicking while the other was lagging behind.
That wasn’t the case Sunday, partly due to improved play and there was also a boost from newcomers Garrido and Beasley.
“When you also start to bring in competition for some spots it also raises some eyebrows,” Davis said. “It gets competition going and some blood boiling. You start to peek over your shoulder as well all the time now. It’s always a good thing, competition in training, competitions for spots on the weekend.”
Getting that kick in the pants was what the club needed. Sure, they had said the right things all season, but the additions and subsequent rise in intensity and pressure seemed to put a jolt into the team.
That is not to say everything was perfect.
With 20 shots taken, seven on goal, Davis admitted the club “should’ve scored more goals than we did.” If not for an opportunistic goal late by Will Bruin the club would surely have lamented the missed opportunities.
But Bruin did score and it was a lift in confidence that the club needed. With some positives on their side it seems like things are finally starting to look up for the two-time MLS Cup champions.
“It was nice,” goalkeeper Tally Hall said after the win. “It’s always fun being a part of not just a win like that, but a performance like that when everything was team-oriented. You look back on that performance and you can do nothing but smile.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.