HOUSTON -- The Houston Dynamo don’t stand a chance against the Seattle Sounders in the Western Conference Championship. That’s the consensus message from the national media, at least, and the Dynamo have heard it loud and clear.
Of course, the Dynamo – making their seventh conference finals appearance in club history, the most of any club since 2006 – disagree with that statement.
“We know that we have been overlooked because we have been against all the statistics," coach Wilmer Cabrera said. "We have been against that, but that doesn’t affect us. It gives us a little bit of, ‘Okay, we have more to win than to lose,’ and at this point, we feel strong.
“We know who we are. We are not going to think that someone is going to look over our shoulder. We know what kind of team we are. We are humble enough to recognize that, but we are ready to play on the field because on the field everyone is equal.”
Through three playoff games Houston have won more than they've lost but even with those victories, the club are aware of the comments and predictions being made against them. Still, they aren’t putting any weight behind them.
“We were talking about that in the locker room, that there have been many comments [made] about how Seattle has it ‘easy’. They also said that about Portland [Timbers] and well we’ve been the surprise,” Dynamo forward Mauro Manotas said. “We’ve worked hard and we’ve given ourselves the opportunity to savor a grand victory [vs. Portland], so let’s hope this time it’s not the exception, and against Seattle, we hope we can savor a victory as well.”
Savoring playoff victories should come as no surprise to Orange fans since Houston has the second-most playoff wins (16) over the last 12 years while playing in the most playoff games (31) during that same span. Add to that Houston’s .643 winning percentage in November, and while the media may not be in the Dynamo’s corner, history would seem to be on Houston's side – even if Cabrera has stressed that a club can't rely on its history.
Some history the Dynamo might look into is the regular season series between the two clubs. At the first meeting, Houston celebrated a 2-1 victory at home to open the season while Seattle took care of business, 1-0, when the two clubs played in the Emerald City.
Of importance in the 1-0 loss to Seattle was the goalscorer: former Dynamo forward turned Sounder, Will Bruin, who had a resurgence with Seattle this season. Bruin, the Dynamo’s second all-time scorer, didn’t mince words about what he hopes to accomplish, telling reporters in Seattle that, ‘It would be awesome,’ to knock Houston out of the playoffs.
Bruin isn’t the only player who gets a chance to beat his former team en route to the MLS Cup. Dynamo defender Dylan Remick, who was part of Seattle's championship-winning squad last season, joined the Dynamo in the offseason and now looks to return to MLS Cup with his new side.
“I just want to go to the MLS Cup with this team, so whoever the opponent is we’re just focused on Houston right now,” Remick said. “Obviously, it’s going to be a little bit cool for me to play against former teammates.”
Any trash talking between former himself and his former teammates?
“I’m not a big trash talker. I’m not good at it. So probably not, maybe in the games,” Remick said. “I’ll let our play do the talking.”