All together now: Houston Dynamo go on road in search of consistency

HOUSTON – Complete road performances have been fairly hard to come by for the Houston Dynamo over the last several years. So they’re putting a premium on Saturday’s trip to Toronto FC (4 pm ET; TSN in Canada, MLS LIVE in the US).

“One of the things [head coach Dominic Kinnear] tries to do with us is limit mistakes,” said Houston defender Jermaine Taylor. “What we do know about ourselves is that we’ve got to try and keep it consistent.”

Preview: Toronto vs. Houston

Houston have committed their share of self-inflicted wounds on the road this season. From three glaring miscues against Santos Laguna, to a rough day against FC Dallas and a bad night in Portland, the common thread on the road for the Dynamo has been lack of focus or miscues in the back.

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This week they will face a TFC club that is markedly improved from their 2012 version – which did not win in its first 10 games – but it's still a work in progress. While the weekend’s hosts seem to be an easier mark than previous 2013 Dynamo road trips, TFC have made teams pay for being sloppy this season. No one in the league has been more proficient at it than forward Robert Earnshaw.

WATCH: Dynamo players on Toronto FC

The Welshman has shown to be the ultimate poacher in his first month in MLS. On a team that has struggled to create going forward, Earnshaw has been a one-man army at times, feeding off of mistakes and sloppiness. Even 2012 MLS Defender of the Year Matt Besler wasn’t immune, gifting Earnshaw a goal in Toronto’s 2-1 win over Sporting KC last month.

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“The goal this week is no front flips,” said Bobby Boswell in regards to Earnshaw’s acrobatic goal celebration. “We’ve got to make sure we’re ready because he seems like he’s very opportunistic.”

So, the first step for Houston is keeping it clean at the back. The second is finding that front-to-back consistency that’s eluded Houston on the road this far. A road point – or three – would obviously be welcome by the Dynamo.

“We have to start from somewhere,” Taylor said. “We’re going there to get a good result.”

Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.