Houston Dynamo's midfield picks up the scoring slack as attack continues to slump
HOUSTON – With the Houston Dynamo needing goals the past two weeks some unlikely heroes have come to the rescue.
Entering their game against Philadelphia on July 6, the Dynamo had gone three games without scoring a goal. That streak is no more thanks to central midfielders Ricardo Clark and Adam Moffat. With their team needing goals the two midfielders, who are known more for their guile than propensity to score, delivered back-to-back game-winners in spectacular fashion to give the team some badly needed help.
Now the Dynamo are heading into a bye week on a two-game winning streak with some momentum and some newfound weapons.
“The last three goals have come from midfield, which is a massive help for the team,” said midfielder Andrew Driver. “It’s the whole team. It’s the same for anyone. I don’t think any of the strikers need to get disheartened. It’s just that run of luck, it's not necessarily the strikers.”
The club’s forwards, Will Bruin and Giles Barnes, lead the scoring list with four each but haven’t generated a goal since May 8. Behind them are three midfielders, Brad Davis, Warren Creavalle and Driver, with three and beyond that are Moffat and Clark with two apiece. While two is not a big number, the timeliness of the latter pair’s goals is what stands out.
Clark’s goal against the Union came with a giant exhale. That game looked to be going the same way as many of Houston’s games to date, with the Dynamo generating a number of chances with no payoff. Then Clark headed home his game winner complete with a sigh of relief.
A week later against the New England Revolution in Gillette Stadium Moffat delivered in spectacular fashion. The midfielder plucked a clearance out of the air with his left foot and hit a Goal of the Year candidate and followed it up with a winner that was nearly as spectacular. The goals were Moffat’s first of the year and couldn’t have come at a better time.
“I think the fact that the last few weeks we haven’t been scoring many goals, for one like that to go in gives everyone a massive confidence boost,” Driver said. “When you can score goals like that you know you can score more. It’s a massive moment for us in the season and hopefully it’ll be a big moment for our confidence.”
With the midfield stepping up, the effect of a struggling forward corps has been mitigated. And though the Dynamo will hope to see their forwards hit the back of the net sooner rather than later, the club is more than happy to capitalize on a team effort that is coming from all directions.
“As long as we’re winning games and starting to see that we’re playing well and making good combinations, no one cares if Tally [Hall] scores or Bobby [Boswell],” said Barnes. “If a defender scores no one’s going to turn around and say ‘Oh, the strikers didn’t do their job.’
We’re all here for one thing, that’s to make the MLS Cup final at the end of the season and win it.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.