Eric Christian Smith
The Dynamo are in the driver's seat of their Eastern Conference semifinals against Sporting Kansas City after a 2-0 first leg victory. Having the best coach in the league is a big part of that.
The Dynamo are 90 minutes away from playing in their second straight Eastern Conference final. Wild card play-in match in Chicago? No problem. Dealing with the top seed in the conference in the semifinals? So far, so good. It's honestly a little absurd but at the same time, should we really be surprised?
While other teams strive for regular season greatness, scrambling to get top seeds and home field advantage, Dominic Kinnear and the Dynamo just get points and get in the playoffs before transforming into the freaking Mechagodzilla of MLS. Who cares where they have to play, who cares who they have to play, just put down the damn ball, blow the whistle and lets get this over with.
It's scary how good Kinnear has gotten at preparing his team for the playoffs and it's even scarier at how adept he is at getting every single player on the roster to buy in the to plan. His team believes they can win any game and they go out and execute his plan to near perfection. Perhaps it's the near ridiculous level of success he's had that makes everyone from the oldest veteran to the youngest rookie understand that if you listen and do what Dom instructs, you'll have a pretty damn good chance of playing for a championship.
Whatever it is, it works and it gets results. In the playoffs, results are all that matters. Seattle couldn't do anything with their first leg home match. DC couldn't do anything with their first leg home match. The Galaxy couldn't do anything with their first leg home match. We won...convincingly.
I'm not getting ahead of myself of course, Sporting KC is far from done and IF the Dynamo do the job on Wednesday, either the Red Bulls or DC United will be a stiff test. The Dynamo know this, Kinnear knows this, and he'll have a plan. If his players go out and execute the plan, they'll probably get the result they need and move on. If things break down, they won't, but that won't take anything away from what they've accomplished.
Sporting can shout to the skies about how loud LSP will be, about how much home field advantage will help them....it could, but if you think the Dynamo give a damn, you're not paying attention. That or you didn't watch last year's conference final.
If even the Dynamo manage to give up a two-goal advantage in the second leg this week, this team has already done more than most expected. Despite last season's march to within one bad play of forcing extra time in the final, there were plenty of people who didn't think the Dynamo could do it again, including myself. We're idiots obviously and I especially forgot the first rule of supporting the Dynamo: IN DOM WE TRUST.
Other managers may get the attention, the flashy laurels and the adoration of talking heads, but you'll never convince me or any other Dynamo fan that Dominic Kinnear isn't the best coach in MLS. Whine about not liking the style of play he utilizes, whine about the Dynamo's ability to be a physical team, that's nothing more than the jealous moans of fans whose coaches don't match up. It's the jealous lament of fans whose coaches continually get taken to the woodshed by Dom in the playoffs.
Bring your scorn, your hate, your derision...we love it. Because when your team is playing golf, we here in Houston are playing for championships.