Beating their Texas-based rival at BBVA Stadium provided plenty of reason to celebrate, but most importantly it broke their 16-game winless streak. The Dynamo had gone nearly four months without a three-point haul, stretching back to their 2-1 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC on May 22.
Purely from an emotional level, this moment goes a long way for Houston’s 2021 campaign.
“We needed this,” head coach Tab Ramos said. “It's been a while since we've won a game and that's not where you want to be, but that doesn't mean you enjoy it any less. In particular, when you play a rivalry game with traveling fans – you know that hopefully next time we play it'll be full orange and we didn't have that today. We are only to blame for that because we haven't been getting any wins."
Houston started with Griffin Dorsey's goal 48 seconds into the game, the third-fastest strike in club history. Then came a brace from Fafa Picault on either side of halftime, with the winger now on a team-leading eight goals and four assists this year. A two-save shutout from goalkeeper Michael Nelson, the first of his career, factored in as well.
Combined together, it helped Houston climb out of the Western Conference’s bottom spot and send Austin FC into the cellar. Their winless stretch had included eight losses and eight draws.
“It’s relieving. Sixteen games is a really long time, obviously in my career and a lot of my teammate's careers,” defender Zarek Valentin said. “It's one of these things where along that run we've tied games we should have lost and we tied games we should have won. There's a lot of moments that we haven't gotten right in the past.”
With 10 regular-season games left, Houston are now hoping to build some momentum and enter the Western Conference playoff race. They’re eight points off the pace, though mathematically could squeeze in as the No. 7 seed or above. Ramos' team, seeking an Audi MLS Cup Playoffs return for the first time since 2017, currently occupies the No. 12 spot.
"Ultimately, it's just one game,” Valentin said. “We can go to the Galaxy and lose 4-0 suddenly and this game feels like a distant memory. You have to keep that good feeling amongst the group and it's a reminder that we aren't that bad. We've played in a lot of good games, no team has come in and rolled over us.”