Houston Dynamo Must Find a Way to Win on the Road

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Dynamo love home cooking - evidenced by their 34 game home unbeaten streak. In order to secure their position as a dominate force in MLS, they have to turn around their road woes. Dynamo Theory breaks down just how bad they are - in hopes of change.

Enough about the home unbeaten streak. Well, until next week - because whether Dominic Kinnear wants to admit it or not... it's a pretty big deal.

For now, let's talk about Houston's ability to win on the road. It might be better worded if we used a phrase like their inability to win on the road, but that's the problem. The reason however, is what's elusive.

How can a team play so well at home but be so bad away from home? Let's take a look at some statistics to help point out the club's results away from the humid comfort of Houston.

Road Struggles are in Houston's History

Below is a table that contains Houston's regular season away record each year. There is a lot of data there, but the final four columns are what I was focused on when I decided to put together this post.

First some quick definitions - just in case you need it.

PTS % - percentage of total points taken from all matches. This takes into consideration points from wins and draws divided by the total number of points available.


W% - percentage of games won from road games.


D% - percentage of games that ended in a draw.


L% - percentage of games lost from road games.

GM

W

D

L

GF

GA

GD

PTS

PTS %

W%

D%

L%

2013

1

0

0

1

2

3

-1

0

0%

0%

0%

100%

2012

17

3

5

9

17

29

-12

14

27%

18%

29%

53%

2011

17

2

9

6

13

21

-8

15

29%

12%

53%

35%

2010

15

3

3

9

15

28

-13

12

27%

20%

20%

60%

2009

15

5

3

7

16

16

0

18

40%

33%

20%

47%

2008

15

3

8

4

15

18

-3

17

38%

20%

53%

27%

2007

15

7

3

5

21

12

9

24

53%

47%

20%

33%

2006

16

3

8

5

17

21

-4

17

35%

19%

50%

31%

TOTAL

111

26

39

46

116

148

-32

117

35%

23%

35%

41%

Let's start with the PTS % column. Here's what stands out to me.

The last three seasons are concerning - Houston has their lowest percentage of road points taken in their history.


The drop-off is significant. The Dynamo won 27-29% of the available points in the last three years, while achieving roughly 40% in the previous two seasons.


The most successful year was in 2007 - which is sadly the only winning season on the road for Houston.

Additionally, two of the last three seasons have seen the Dynamo's highest losing percentage on the road.

2012 = 53% of games ended in a loss


2010 = 60% of games ended in a loss

It's hard to pinpoint a reason in particular that Houston has struggled on the road. It's nearly as difficult to pinpoint why Houston is so good in their comfort of their own home.

The one thing that is for certain is Houston needs to fix the problem so they don't have to rely on BBVA Compass Stadium. Sure we made it to the MLS final two years in a row - two years where we had terrible road records.

But let's talk about last year.

The Dynamo walk away a runner up versus champion on the road in the Home Depot Center. One thing haunts many peoples minds - the fact that one more point in regular season play would have seen the final played at BBVA Compass Stadium rather than the HDC. I'll be the first to say you can't rewrite history. But that doesn't take away the "what might have been" factor in many fans minds. It just doesn't.

There was a reason that the LA Galaxy were the favorites coming into the MLS Cup Final. Sure alot of it had to do with MLS' and America's obsession with the franchise and its precious gems - Beckham, Donovan, and Keane.

But some of it was actual results on the field.

The Galaxy, despite a rough start to the 2012 season, finished with a 6-6-5 record on the road. That earned them 45% of road points (compared to 27% by Houston) and they only lost 35% of the time on the road. At home, they shared the same percentage in losses - 35%.

I am well aware of the fact that Houston lost 0 games in 2012 at home, but that doesn't allow for a team to lose 53% of their road matches. In order to be a contender - to be a champion - you have to be a more balanced club.

Opportunity Knocks

This weekend, Houston travels to Portland to take on the young Timbers franchise. In three matches all time, Houston has a 2-0-1 record against Portland. The Dynamo have captured seven of a possible nine points and will be looking to capitalize on a team that hasn't won a match thus far (0-1-3).

The upcoming match against Portland is an opportunity you can't afford to miss. Teams like the Timbers are the type that Houston has to dominate - whether at home or on the road. Last season, Houston won their first two road matches in March, but didn't win another until the end of July. A repeat of that shouldn't be acceptable.

2013 is young. A fluke loss in Dallas is behind the men in orange. Missed chances, poor defending, a blown handball or whatever you'd like to call it - the Dynamo are 0-1-0 on the road.

The right direction can begin the moment a new direction starts.

Saturday night, in front of a likely sold out and loud Timbers crowd and Army, the Dynamo can take three points.

2013 can (and should) be the year Houston reverses those statistics above.

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