Home has been good for the Houston Dynamo in 2015, and if they’re going to reach the playoffs this season their run of good form in the Bayou City will have to continue.
Within the confines of BBVA Compass Stadium, the Dynamo have amassed a 7-3-3 record and a +9 goal difference against their opponents (not including two home wins in the U.S. Open Cup). The team hasn’t lost in Houston since early May.
The current playoff picture has the Dynamo sitting six points adrift of the final qualifying spot, occupied by the Portland Timbers. For the remaining four home games, there’s little room for error—beginning with Real Salt Salt Lake on Saturday (7:30 p.m., TICKETS).
“I’ve been saying that the last four home games, that it’s got to be 12 points to put us in a good position” Dynamo forward Will Bruin said. “It starts tomorrow night.”
A full 12 points from the remaining home schedule would bring Houston up to 47 points on the year. In the past two seasons, the sixth-place finisher in the Western Conference has earned 49 and 51 points, respectively. So while they must take care of business on the home front, the away slate carries just as much importance.
“It seems to be that way with every team, they just step out on the field with a little more confidence and a little more swagger at home,” said Bruin. “You know you’ve got the home crowd supporting you, I feel that you almost get to play freer. But you know, we should perform both at home and on the road the same way.”
The defensive record is nearly the same—15 goals conceded at home compared to 19 on the road—but the disparity has been in the attack. Home dates have yielded 24 goals, road fixtures only 11. Bruin’s team-leading 10 goals are a near-even split between home and away: six in Houston, four elsewhere.
This year’s schedule loaded up the majority of the Dynamo home matches on the front and back end of the schedule. The summer months were filled with a stretch of 11 out of 16 matches on the road and a multitude of Copa America and Gold Cup call-ups—with accompanying injuries. The Dynamo recorded just one win in those 11 games.
“It's important that they're all back to health, but DaMarcus Beasley is one, Alex Lima, Luis Garrido picked up an injury playing for Honduras and is a major doubt for Saturday,” said head coach Owen Coyle. “So we certainly don't have a fit and healthy team at the moment, but hopefully as the weeks go, we can start to get close to that. As you know, that depth has to help us because we spent the last two or three months with three or four players missing every week, but we deal with it with a smile on our faces and we try to win tough games.”
After a 2-0 defeat at Rio Tinto Stadium two months ago to RSL—in which Houston missed Beasley, Giles Barnes and Boniek García to the Gold Cup—the Dynamo aim to flip the script behind the energy of the home support to another victory on friendly soil.
Said Coyle: “We've got a wonderful fan base, we want to make sure we've got that atmosphere going again. That's why we're looking forward to Saturday.”