Houston Dynamo FC have reached the proverbial fork in the road in their 2022 season.

A 6-0 defeat to the Philadelphia Union Saturday night was El Naranja’s second in a row and most lopsided of head coach Paulo Nagamura’s first season at the helm. 

The Dynamo are 11th in the Western Conference, six points below the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs line with 11 games remaining in the regular season. 

It’s sink or swim time and Mexican international Hector Herrera is hoping Saturday’s defeat is the spark for a postseason run.

“The team is upset, we are embarrassed by today’s performance, by the final score. There is no other way to look at this,” Herrera said after the match. “I believe that we can overcome this by remaining united and working as a unit. I still believe in this project, in my teammates and in then technical staff. The project I signed up for was not just for a month, that is how long I’ve been with the team. This is project is about the next three and a half years, and I believe that we can accomplish our goals during that time.”

Nagamura credited the Union, who sit atop the Eastern Conference standings and are three points behind LAFC in the Supporters’ Shield race. 

But there was also no sugarcoating the defeat.

“This is a difficult one to swallow, but bottom line we lost to a better team,” he said. “Credit to Philadelphia. We were not good on the day, but in all aspects the Union was better than us. Defensively, offensively. All I can say after this game, we have to apologize to the fans and make sure this will not happen again.”  

Herrera echoed his coach’s comments, saying the loss is a gut check for the Dynamo. 

“This was a very difficult match. A game where we couldn’t execute our game plan and found ourselves in a situation that was unimaginable,” Herrera said. “This one really hurts. We have to lift our head and be honest with ourselves. We have to look at ourselves, individually, as a team to get past this. There is no time to mope, we have to prepare for the next match. We have to address this in training and truly put ourselves in the best position to succeed next week.”

Herrera, who was signed as a Designated Player from LaLiga side Atlético de Madrid, and the Dynamo will look to rebound in Week 24 when they head to BC Place to take on a Vancouver Whitecaps squad Friday (10:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+) that is two points ahead of them and also looking to push above the playoff line.

HIGHLIGHTS: Philadelphia Union vs. Houston Dynamo FC | July 30, 2022

Of Houston’s final 11 matches, nine are against Western Conference foes which means there’s a lot of six-pointers down the stretch. 

“We're going to work tirelessly to get this team in the playoffs, but again we need to get better, we need to get better as a team and hopefully this game was really check for us,” Nagamura said. “Bottom line, we need to get better.”