I've been raising quite the verbal stink about the importance of the Dynamo's gauntlet run-like stretch of games to end the month of May. It began Saturday night at Rio Tinto and despite the fact Houston left some quality goal chances unfinished, I have to consider it a job well done. A road point at Real Salt Lake is nearly like a victory and getting a clean sheet thanks to a very strong defensive performance an added bonus.
"We're very pleased to get a shutout here." head coach Dominic Kinnear siad. "They're a good team and it's a tough place to play. The team showed a lot of determination and I'm happy for the guys."
Andre Hainault and Bobby Boswell played what might of been their best match as a central defense pairing, and if not for several key, well timed tackles from Hainault, the result could have been a great deal different. Still, the reaction from the team after the match, while pleased with the point, focused more on the offenses struggles to put the ball in the back of the net.
"You look back and we had chances to put the ball in the back of the net." Geoff Cameron said. "With a little more composure and that final pass, we could have come out of here with three (points)."
Rookie forward Will Bruin chimed in as well.
"We're pleased, but we had our chances too." said Bruin. "We thought we could have stole one or got [a goal] and came away with three points, but we didn't give [a goal] away, didn't make any mistakes or give up stupid goals. So we're happy with that, especially after two losses."
The lack of mistakes or stupid goals is an important point. When the Dynamo have been successful this season, those two elements have been absent (or nearly so) from their game. In their losses, the mental lapses that made many a fan go gray last season continue to appear. Eliminating those mistakes on a match to match basis will continue to be a focus for this team and likely the difference in whether or not they make the playoffs.
Despite the struggles, Kinnear was still pleased with his team's attacking mindset.
""We didn't just sit back and soak it up and let Tally (Hall) pull off wonderful saves," Kinnear said. "We played some good stuff going forward."
For now though, let's be happy with a good result and start looking forward to the arrival of the New York Red Bulls next Saturday at Robertson Stadium. Theirry Henry and the red cows were vanquished at home on Sunday night by a determined groups of goats, so I doubt they'll be taking this trip to Houston lightly.