HOUSTON – The Houston Dynamo’s path to the playoffs is clear: Win and get in.
Heading into the final weeks of the season, the Orange know a points total of 49 assures them of a playoff spot. To get there, Houston – who currently sit on 43 points and 10th in the current playoff standings – their fate is in their own hands.
“I think it’s good,” said midfielder Brad Davis of Houston's position. “When stuff’s out of your hands, it’s unsettling. If we go out and perform or don’t perform, we know it’s on us.”
Those two wins will have to come against a team right behind them in the standings, the Portland Timbers, and the Supporters’ Shield-winning LA Galaxy. Houston beat the Timbers 2-1 at home Aug. 14, but it will be a different Portland team this time out. John Spencer’s side is 4-2-2 since that loss and has proved a tough team to deal with at JELD-WEN Field.
“We have a game in Portland that will be a playoff atmosphere,” Davis said. “I think our playoffs start then in an amazing atmosphere on the road. I think we’re going to see what our team is made of. Then we have a game with LA where we don’t know what’s going to happen ... but that really doesn’t matter because we need to get maximum points out of these games to put ourselves in a good spot.”
While the Dynamo control their own fate, they will have an eye on the teams around them.
With three teams — D.C. United, Portland and Chicago – having games in hand on Houston, the Dynamo know what happens around them will affect them. Not just in regards to making the playoffs but where they are seeded.
“It’s always tough when you watch a game like Philly play Seattle and we don’t need [the Union] to get a result,” said defender Bobby Boswell. “You watch to know what happens, but six points in these next two games will be huge. If you don’t get results, then you’re going to be a team that’s watching and depending on other teams.”
Their attention will surely be on what teams around them are doing, but, Houston know their first order of business is to win games. Without winning their remaining fixtures, the fate of their season will uncomfortably be left up to what other teams are doing.
“We are where we are and we have the chance to get six points and get into the playoffs,” Davis said. “That’s what we’re working for these past weeks and the training sessions have been some of the most intense that we’ve had since I’ve been around. I’d rather know it’s in our hands and that we have that chance.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.