BRIDGEVIEW, IL - SEPTEMBER 02: Andre Hainault #31 of the Houston Dynamo reacts after an injury against the Chicago Fire during an MLS match at Toyota Park on September 2, 2012 in Bridgeview, Illinois. The Fire defeated the Dynamo 3-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
There are eight games left in the Dynamo's 2012 MLS regular season. Eight games to get enough points to stay in fifth place or better and avoid missing the playoffs for the second time in three years. The odds are in the team's favor with several games left against non-playoff teams but after last night's 3-1 loss at Chicago, everyone is right to at least be a little concerned.
Despite two excellent results in Central America, the Dynamo have only netted two points from a possible nine during this gauntlet scheduling run. In that time the Columbus Crew have caught fire, Chicago is playing great (we saw that last night) and Montreal and DC United remain in striking distance. The pressure is on and I think more than anything, this team needs a break. Unfortunately, another match against RSL on Thursday looms before they will finally get that chance to breath.
As for last night's game, what can you really say other than it sucked. The defense was in shambles, the offense never really looked dangerous, it was a tired team that looked really tired. Excuses are something that we as fans can make, but you never want to hear from a team. I think at this point, we'd all forgive the Dynamo a little bit for admitting they are mentally and physically whipped right now, but I doubt they'll say it. They certainly looked it last night, but it didn't help that the Fire had nearly a week and half off to prepare. Thus are the spoils of Champions League soccer.
Still, Kinnear has done an excellent job rotating and resting players. There were several guys on the field last night who didn't play against Olimpia on Thursday and despite all the travel, there's really no excuse for them to not be ready. Pointing fingers is counter productive, so I'll stray from that path, but keep that in the back of your mind going forward.
I asked in the headline if the ship is sinking. The answer is no, but we might have a couple minor leaks to deal with. The Dynamo face an uphill battle if they want to stay in the playoff picture, especially with several other teams around them peaking at the moment. Given how well the Dynamo played in the mid-summer, I think it's fair to ask if this team peaked a little too early. The next two matches are going to tell us a lot, let's hope they don't look like that performance in Chicago last night.
One more match and then the Dynamo finally get a break. They need to play better than they did last night against Real Salt Lake if they expect to get a result. If they give an effort like they did last night, they'll be suffering their first loss at BBVA Compass Stadium and our heads will really be spinning.