The Dynamo entered Saturday's matchup with Vancouver needing a win to remain in the playoff race. A loss would have seen them fall behind Colorado, and, if Real Salt Lake had beaten FC Dallas, to dead-last in the conference.
But thanks to Ricardo Clark and some bad tackling by the Whitecaps, a 2-0 win kept them in it, as they are now tied with Seattle for seventh in the West, three points behind San Jose prior to Sunday's games. The problem is, the Sounders and Earthquakes both seem to be getting hot at the right time, meaning Houston will have to take at least a point in all of their remaining games.
Seattle will be getting their deadly duo of Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey back soon, putting them back in the conversation of best team in MLS. Everyone knows Sigi Schmid's side can catch fire at any time, and with so much to play for against Portland yesterday (Schmid's job, playoffs, hatred of Portland), a streak could have been started thanks to their win over the Timbers.
The Earthquakes, who currently have a hold on the sixth and final playoff spot, are playing like the best team in the league. A change to the 4-4-2 has helped them win four straight games, including a 5-0 demolition of Sporting KC and a hard-fought 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy. The new formation has paired MLS legend Chris Wondolowski with new acquisition Quincy Amarikwa up front. Wondo's ability to find space and Amarikwa's hold-up play is a match made in heaven, and has been a catalyst for San Jose's recent run of form.
Houston need a spark. They need someone to give them a boost, whether that be in the goal-scoring department or defensively. Maybe it will be Erick Torres, who got his first start in Dynamo orange against the Whitecaps and managed to pick up an assist; or perhaps one of their summer transfers like Rasheed Olabiyi or even a regular starter like Alex Lima or Luis Garrido.
Whoever it is, they will be important for Houston's playoff chances.
So can the Dynamo overcome injuries and tough competition to make the playoffs? Seems unlikely. But you know what? This is Major League Soccer, so anything can happen. Don't count anybody out.
Tell me what you think in the comments.