Houston look to snap five-year Opening Day slump
HOUSTON – Despite all the success the Houston Dynamo have had in their history, there’s one particular area where they’ve struggled: opening day.
Houston began their MLS tenure on Apr. 2, 2006, with an emphatic 5-2 win over the Colorado Rapids. In their five season openers since then, the Dynamo have logged an 0-2-3 record. By comparison, they have more wins in MLS Cup finals – winning it all in 2006 and 2007 – than in regular-season openers.
“I had no idea that was a stat,” Brad Davis said of the club’s opening day record. “Getting the first [win] under your belt is important. If that doesn’t happen, you can’t get discouraged about it because it’s a long year but it would be nice to go out to Chivas [USA] and get the first win of the year.”
To break their less-than-impressive streak, Houston will have to face a Chivas team on Saturday at The Home Depot Center (7 pm ET, Galavision) that will be tough to recognize. The Goats brought in 16 new players this offseason as second year head coach Robin Fraser continues to mold his roster.
With the infusion of talented players such as Ecuadorians Miller Bolaños and Oswaldo Minda, Fraser’s crew has a very different look; even if the expected 4-5-1 formation is something the Dynamo have seen before.
“We’ve played teams like that before and it’s something we’ve seen and [head coach Dominic Kinnear] will know what we need to do,” defender Andre Hainault said about matching up against a 4-5-1. “If they’re playing with five, we’ll have to try and expose them on the corners because it’s a big field and the balls over the top will be big.”
The Dynamo will counter Chivas’ new blood with a group that has experience and familiarity on their side.
“It’s a confidence thing,” Davis said about having the same core group of players back in 2012. “Going into the game, there’s not a lot of questions because you know exactly what the guy can bring next to you. You know what they’re going to bring to the game and you know what they like to do and how they like to play.”
With an MLS season that is much more a marathon than sprint, it is easy to minimize the importance of winning on opening day. But getting that first win on the road at Chivas is an opportunity to buck a trend that has grown roots Houston.
“We’re notorious for starting slow,” Hainault said. “The most important thing is how you finish the year but we’d be lying if we said we wouldn’t like to start it well. We want to win every game we play in so we’re going to try and get off to a good start and that starts with Chivas on the weekend.”
Darrell Lovell can be reached for comment at Darrell.A.Lovell@gmail.com.