It turns out Friday night’s 2-0 win was just the start of a great weekend for the Houston Dynamo.
After a decisive win over the Portland Timbers at hostile JELD-WEN Field, the Dynamo knew at worst they did enough to keep control of their playoff destiny heading into the final week. As Saturday elapsed, the best-case scenario started to play out.
Houston needed three results to go their way to clinch a playoff berth. The first came in the afternoon slate when the Dynamo needed a winner in the game between Sporting Kansas City and the New York Red Bulls. SKC obliged with a 2-0 home win.
However, the anxiety increased as the match between D.C. United and the Chicago Fire – Houston needed a DC draw or loss – entered stoppage time.
“When DC got that penalty in the 90th minute, I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’” said Brad Davis. “I saw Dwayne [De Rosario] score it and I turned the TV off. Then about 20 minutes later, I turned my laptop on and on MLSsoccer.com it said something like ‘Late victory for Chicago’ and I wondered what just happened.”
What happened was an improbable finish that saw Chicago save their playoff hopes with not one, but two stoppage time goals to take three points with a 2-1 win. Chicago’s clutch finish went a long way to sealing Houston’s playoff berth.
“D.C. and Chicago was the game I wanted to see and then with the penalty I thought it was done,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “We really didn’t want to wait until Wednesday to see if we were in. Then, the way things unfolded, it made it a pretty happy evening.”
The rest of the work came when the Columbus Crew dismantled the New England Revolution 3-0. After all that, the Dynamo clinched a playoff spot sitting on their couches at home.
“It feels great now that we’re into the playoffs, but it’s different,” Davis said. “We’ll have to give everything we’ve got these next few weeks. ... It’s great we got in the playoffs, but now the next step is to win the MLS Cup, and if we play the way we did Friday, I think we can do some good things in the postseason.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.