HOUSTON – Things could not have turned out better for the Houston Dynamo on Sunday night.
Beating the LA Galaxy 3-1 in the regular-season finale clinched second place in the Eastern Conference standings for the Dynamo. With that comes a conference semifinal at home and home series against the Philadelphia Union – against whom the Dynamo were 0-1-1 this year – along with much-needed rest.
“Getting that week to rest, especially for guys who have some injuries here and there, it gives us some time to get back to 100 percent and get ready for a big playoff game,” said Geoff Cameron. “Missing the playoffs last year left a nasty taste in our mouth. Now back into it we want to make a run for the cup.”
The win means instead of training Monday morning and flying to either Colorado or Dallas, they can take their time and recuperate for a playoff run, starting next weekend in Philadelphia.
“It’s good because the game's on Sunday and we won’t travel until Friday,” said Adam Moffat. “It’s good that the first game’s away because we can go there and get a result and then come back and have the home fans for that second leg. I’m pumped up for that.”
One ball, two milestones
With the game seemingly in hand, a third goal in the 74th minute can be viewed as little more than icing on the cake. But when Brad Davis pushed up the sideline and delivered a deft left-footed cross to Carlo Costly, who headed it home, it served more than that simple purpose.
The goal pushed Davis to a career-high 16 assists on the season, moving him one in front of LA’s David Beckham for the MLS league lead along with providing a lasting image to his 2011 MVP campaign.
For Costly, the goal relieves 10 games and nearly three months of pressure. A high-profile midseason signing, Costly has seemingly hit everything but the back of the net. With the playoffs looming, opening his MLS account could free him up mentally for the playoff run.
“I think it’s huge for him,” said Davis. “He’s got a good mentality and he’s continued to work hard. We knew it was going to come for him and the way things are going hopefully he can rattle off a couple of more. Now’s the best time for him to start scoring goals.”
A turnout of 30,018 fans – the sixth-largest crowd in club history — came out for the final regular-season game ever at Robertson Stadium. The Dynamo obliged their faithful fans with the 3-1 win, sending the crowd home with a smile while ready to bring playoff soccer back to Houston.
“It’s unbelievable,” said goalkeeper Tally Hall. “The crowd was amazing and it was a proper send off for the stadium in the regular season and we’re looking to create some more moments here before we’re done.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.