So the talk can start again. Last Sunday afternoon, the Houston Dynamo rode an assist and a goal from Brad Davis to defeat the Chicago Fire 2-1 and extend their home unbeaten streak to a record-breaking 35 matches in all competitions (record-tying 29th in the regular season). This Saturday, the Dynamo will once again try to take their winning ways on the road - this time north of the border for a clash with Toronto FC.
The road woes are well documented. We all talk about them, we all speculate about them, and we all want to see them end. For my part, I'm getting tired of documenting them, but some of it has to be reiterated. The Dynamo's last result on the road came in the second leg of the Eastern Conference Finals last season (a 1-1 draw) - but you have to look back to a September 14th match in Kansas City for their last regular season away result. Go back to the month before (August 22nd, against C.D. FAS in the CONCACAF Champions League) and you'll see their last road victory - and you have to go a month further back (July 28th) to find the last time the Dynamo won an MLS match on the road.
Their opponent in that match was the same Toronto side that they'll be facing this weekend. Last season, Toronto was pretty much the punching bag of the Eastern Conference - though surprisingly grabbing two points in two matches at BBVA Compass - and if I say that they've improved since then, it won't be saying much. But they have improved. Keeper Joe Bendik, though a back up, has performed well in starts this season, and Luis Silva, Robert Earnshaw and others have ensured that Toronto's offense is no longer as offensive as it was most of last season.
The Dynamo have yet to get a point on the road this season, and there are several reasons. The defense seems to be much more mistake prone on the road, and that's played a role in most - if not all - of the goals they've given up on the road. Coach Dominic Kinnear offered another reason in an interview with The Blitz, Houston sports radio program, on Wednesday afternoon: the Dynamo aren't getting near as many chances on the road as they are at home. That's to be expected, honestly, but perhaps not to the disparity that we've seen so far. In three road matches over all competitions, the Dynamo have scored two goals - both in the second half against Dallas. No goals in Torreón, no goals in Portland - something that has to change quickly.
The Dynamo looked much better with striker Will Bruin back last weekend, but as of now, the status of midfielder Boniek Garcia is unknown, though he did return to training on Thursday. Andrew Driver has looked good in Boniek's place, but the unique contribution that Honduran designated player brings to the Dynamo has been missing - and once we get that back, I think the chances will start to come. As for the other major injury, Omar Cummings still has yet to start a match in the Dynamo XI, and Kinnear told The Blitz that it was simply "a matter of time" before the Jamaican striker was ready to go.
While the home streak is nice, I don't think that alone is going to carry us very far this season. They need to start picking up points away from home, and Toronto is as good a place as any other to start. It's not going to be easy (no such thing as a given three points, after all), but with dates in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. looming on the horizon, now would be a very good time to shake off whatever has been plaguing the Dynamo on the road. The hosts of The Blitz, A.J. Hoffman and Fred Faour, quipped that they saw Dom Kinnear taking his coaches to task in a Portland restaurant the weekend before last. Dynamo fans are hoping that he doesn't have to do the same in a Toronto eatery come Saturday night.