Dynamo Notebook: Kinnear rues set-piece woes

HOUSTON — Any game that ends in a draw usually has both positive and negative takeaways. But coaches tend to focus on only one side of that.

On the positive side for the Houston Dynamo, who draw 2-2 with FC Dallas on Saturday, there was the attitude and fight down the stretch that allowed them to pull a result out of a tough situation. There was also the continued good play of Colin Clark, Brad Davis and Cam Weaver.

Houston coach Dominic Kinnear made it clear, though, that they have work to do, particularly in defending set pieces. After giving up a late set-piece equalizer to New York in Week 10, the Dynamo surrendered two more from dead-ball situations against Dallas.

“We gave [up] a soft goal, a set piece again, which we addressed before and will address again,” Kinnear said. “We go through assignments before the game … and tonight some of those were missed.”

Saturday’s draw leaves the Dynamo’s home record at 3-3-2. Considering the difficulties in earning results on the road in MLS—only three teams have above-.500 away records in the league—Houston recognize the importance of earning three points at home on a regular basis.

“If you look at it from the point of view that we’re down to 10 men and got the tie that’s a positive,” said Weaver, who scored his fourth goal of the season. “But three points from home, those games are going to get us in the playoffs, not ties. So we’ve got to look at the mistakes and fix them.

“We’re close but we need to start getting three points if we’re going to get to the postseason.”

Highlights: Houston 2, Dallas 2

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Davis notches two more

Brad Davis assisted on both Dynamo goals on Saturday, pushing his total to eight on the season and keeping him one ahead of David Beckham for the league lead. His first assist came from a nice set up of Cam Weaver – who is tied with Will Bruin for the team goal-scoring lead – and his second came on a brilliant feed to Colin Clark for the equalizer.

“I found myself in a good spot and Brad had time on the ball and he’s certainly one of the players you want on the ball with a chance late in the game,” said Colin Clark.

Revamped lineup brings mixed reviews

Heading into the Texas derby, Kinnear said the lineup could see changes as they finished up a stretch of three games in eight days. The starting lineup on Saturday saw four newcomers, and their performances were met with mixed results.

 “Against Los Angeles, we looked a bit tired in some areas, and there are some guys that are good players that deserved to play, so we decided to make those changes,” Kinnear said. “Overall, we could have played better, and the guys we gave opportunities to could have played better.”

Gold Cup departures

Gold Cup call-ups Andre Hainault (Canada) and Je-Vaughn Watson and Jermaine Taylor (Jamaica) are set to join their national teams this week. The group stage ends June 14th, meaning the June 18th game against Columbus is the first any of the three could return.

Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.