HOUSTON – The Houston Dynamo talked all week about the need to play with more confidence. On Saturday night the team as a whole answered the bell.
Led by a brace from returning captain Brian Ching, the Dynamo put together what many on the team said was their best performance of the season in a 3-1 win over the Seattle Sounders.
“I definitely feel this is the best game we’ve played all year,” said Brad Davis, who upped his league-leading assist total to 10. “Everyone’s energy was fantastic, and I think we deserved the win.”
Energy was the most talked about word in the Dynamo locker room after the game. Facing a Seattle team that went through extensive travel, Houston came out intent on increasing their energy level and in effect putting more pressure on the Sounders.
The plan worked.
Houston got out to a seventh-minute lead, and despite battling Seattle for control through the first 20 minutes, they were able to control the flow of the match.
“We came out with a lot of energy, and we knew we had to take care of business at home,” Cameron said. “It was a big three points at home because we knew they were playing well coming in.”
A big part of that energy was the play of the returning Ching – who scored his 74th and 75th MLS goal, ranking him sixth overall among active players. A week after serving a one game suspension for a red card he drew against Sporting Kansas City, Ching scored Houston’s final two goals and displayed his usual high work rate.
“I kind of feel like I owe the team a little bit,” Ching said. “I wanted to get back, and was fortunate enough to get some good crosses in tonight and I put the ball in the back of the net.
“We came out strong. I thought the guys did a good job. Everybody came out with confidence, and I think we had fun. I think we’re a team that needs to have sustained confidence.”
Davis shared Ching’s view.
“We showed how well we can play. When your confidence is low you don’t play well, but when confidence is high and your energy level is high you see what you can do.”
Now the goal for Houston is sustaining their new found confidence. For a team that has struggled with putting together stretches of good play, a convincing win over a strong team is certainly a good start.
However, Ching wasn't about to get carried away.
“Let’s not read too much into one game,” Ching said. “We need put three or four more like this together and get some more wins before we start patting ourselves in the back.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.