After a convincing 3-1 home win over Columbus Crew SC on Saturday night, the Houston Dynamo have kicked off the 2017 MLS season with two straight wins and a dynamic trident in attack that is creating buzz around the league. Yet, despite the exciting start, the team refuses to rest on their laurels.
“A lot is left before we are the team we’re looking to be,” head coach Wilmer Cabrera said in his postgame press conference. “We have yet to make more mistakes and we have yet to play more games. Fortunately, the players have a lot of quality. They have a great humility and have a big heart and they are playing soccer in a very positive way and we are having results. But, we can get better as a team and that's the goal – to become a great team."
The Dynamo took the lead immediately against Columbus, thanks to Romell Quioto’s goal in the 2nd minute, and were up 2-0 at halftime. The team held a 3-0 lead into the final minute of the match, when a goal by Ola Kamara denied the Dynamo defense the shutout.
Columbus defender Jonathan Mensah was sent off for a reckless challenge on Dynamo midfielder Alex in the 87th minute, and that’s when the team let their guard down, according to Cabrera. The Dynamo head coach stressed that he does not want the team to get overconfident and become comfortable moving forward.
“When they got the red card, we stopped being the Houston Dynamo and we started to relax. And we stopped being the way we are – working hard, tough, concentrated, focused – and we gave up two opportunities with ten men. So, that’s proof that if we get too comfortable, we’re going to suffer. We need to learn that lesson and that’s something that worries me and I’ve expressed that to the players in the locker room already, so we need to work on that if we want to be sure that we finish the games,” added Cabrera.
Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric, taking part in his ninth Major League Soccer season, expressed a similar sentiment.
“I think especially after our second goal in the first half, you could feel that we kind of took our foot off the pedal a little bit, and then when they went down to ten men, we did the same thing,” Deric said. “At the end of these games we have to be smart, we have to be intelligent, and it’s very important to see out games.”
A fast start has little correlation to how the rest of the season will play out, and the Dynamo know that better than anyone. The club has started 2-0-0 on two other occasions: a trip to the MLS Cup final in 2012 and missing the playoffs in 2014.
Now the Dynamo are on to their next test as they prepare to travel to the Portland Timbers, one of two other teams in the Western Conference off to a perfect start through two weeks. Deric knows this is only the latest challenge of this early season.
“The most important thing [Saturday] was to get the three points,” said Deric. “Right now our focus is moving on to Portland, figuring out this week what we have to do to put us in the best position to win that game.”