Dynamo find surprising comfort away from home
HOUSTON – If early returns are any indication, the Houston Dynamo are handling their season-opening road trip just fine.
The club has logged two road wins in as many matches, matching their entire 2011 regular-season total. In their pair of 1-0 victories against Chivas USA and the San Jose Earthquakes, the Dynamo have shown the ingredients to once again field a championship-type club, playing stingy defense and holding leads down the stretch.
Put that together with a few timely goals and there's no doubt 2012 has usher in an ideal start for the Dynamo.
“If you told us Feb. 1 we’d win those first two road games, we’d definitely take it,” Dynamo captain Brian Ching said. “To go on the road in this league and win, considering our record last year, is a big thing for us.”
It’s not just a big thing in club history, either. The Dynamo are the first team in league history to play their first two games on the road, and record two shutout victories in the process.
WATCH: Houston shuts down San Jose
So how has the club managed to find success over the first two weeks of the season where so many teams have failed before them?
“We talk about attitude and we talk about effort a lot on this team,” midfielder Brad Davis said. “I think that’s what makes us such a successful team, those two things right there.”
While it’s about the work ethic on the field, off the field it's about balancing life and soccer for a team that's feeling the effects of being on the road.
“You have to make sure guys get time on their own and understand that they have lives to live and it’s not just hotels and airports and soccer games,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “These guys have a life to live, and you want to make sure it’s not just three hours of soccer and then three hours in the airport because it’s a lot of time away from home.
"I think they enjoy each other’s company, but they still continue to live their life the way they want to live it.”
With a successful formula in place, the trick is to stay focused on the task at hand for the next five matches. The Dynamo face a huge early season test on Friday night against the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field (10 pm ET, NBC Sports Network), where they’re winless in three games all-time.
“One thing we have to caution against is to not get complacent, because you set yourself up for failure,” Ching said. “There’s times when you play in this league where it’s difficult to win on the road. If you’re confident or cocky, you could get smacked in the face. We have to realize that, and realize that the games only get more difficult before we move on.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached for comment at Darrell.A.Lovell@gmail.com.