HOUSTON – The Houston Dynamo are no strangers to dealing with a schedule cramped by international play.
After all, between 2007 and 2009 the Dynamo were fixtures in the SuperLiga and CONCACAF Champions League/Champions' Cup, to go along with US Open Cup and MLS play.
Now, however, the shoe is on the other foot against FC Dallas on Saturday (4 pm ET, TeleFutura).
“They’ve played a lot of games and we know what that feels like,” Houston striker Brian Ching said. “Hopefully for us, their game Wednesday took a little out of them, but they’re a good team and we have to be ready on Saturday.”
Wednesday’s game was a particularly taxing one for Dallas. The 2-0 Champions League loss to Pumas UNAM saw Houston's in-state rivals play 50-plus minutes with just 10 men. And with Pumas putting Dallas through their paces midweek and FCD playing 13 games since Aug. 1, it could be a case where the hosts are ripe for the picking.
“They’ve played a lot of games recently ... we need to go there and take advantage of that,” midfielder Brad Davis said.
Ching followed the same line of thinking, adding that pressuring a potentially tired Dallas squad will go a long way to a victory come Saturday.
“The harder we can make the game on them the better our chances,” Ching said. “They’ve struggled as of late and hopefully we can help continue their woes.”
While the Dynamo are focused on the present, there is nothing wrong with casting an eye towards the future. With the club’s playoff chances looking better, there is a feeling amongst the team that getting on a roll going into the postseason is important.
“If we play well and get into the playoffs, now is a good time to get on a hot streak,” Davis said. “We’re coming off a good game against San Jose and we’ll be looking to continue that against Dallas and get on a run.”
Ramping up the intensity
With the season heading into the home stretch, attention to detail and the intensity at Dynamo trainings have ramped up. While the environment can look tense to an outsider, for Houston, it is a necessary turn.
“I think practices have been intense but that’s not always the worse thing,” Davis said. “We’re trying to fire on all cylinders and are pushing each other to get the best out of one another to try and make a good push here.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow@Dynamoexaminer