The Houston Dynamo win on Saturday was big both on and off the pitch. Houston made a flurry of roster moves for the 2021 season and had done well during the preseason until the final tilt against FC Dallas. The lackluster performance versus FCD could be attributed to any number of things, but either way it made the opener against San Jose even more important.
The fact that the Dynamo rippled the nets twice was nice to see. More important though was the Dynamo performance in the closing moments. The ability to close out the game without surrendering a game tying goal, or a game losing goal, made the shortcomings of a 2-1 win much more palatable. Houston, in recent years, has been known for allowing teams to get back into games in which they had no business getting back into. Home or away they have found the means more often than not to give away points. On Friday, despite hunkering down in the defensive third and allowing San Jose to give it their best chance, the Dynamo survived and took home the three points.
Earning those three points in that fashion allowed the team to walk off the pitch with their heads held high and not have to answer the endless question of “What happened?” It’s a confidence enhancer, especially considering this week’s match is on the road in Portland. The Dynamo have been a notoriously bad road team (one winning road record since 2006). This week’s road test presents two obstacles. The first obstacle will be getting a lead and the second will be holding it. Had Houston been unable to pull out the win on Friday, the thought of “here we go again” would have been nagging at the back of their mind whether anyone cares to admit it or not.
Instead the team will be able to look at it simply and say “We did it once, why not again?” That’s what a winner thinks.
The Houston Dash played to their second straight scoreless draw, this time against the OL Reign Friday night. The Portland Thorns now have two wins in two tries and are four points clear of the second place Dash in the West. The Dash next take to the pitch on April 26 in Kansas City.
It’s nice to see the moves in the defensive third paying off for Houston although they have been missing six key players. This was something Dash head coach James Clarkson had talked about back when he was beginning to build this team. He stressed the importance of having players up to the task to be able to deliver when key players were gone either to injury or international duty.
The players who missed the previous two games on international duty, including Rachel Daly and Jane Campbell, are now back in Houston training and will be available on the 26th.