HOUSTON — It turns out the Houston Dynamo have been saving their best for last in regards to their road form.
After struggling on the road for the first six months and 15 road games of the season, the Dynamo have recorded impressive wins away from home in their last two matches away from Robertson Stadium.
Last Friday made it back-to-back road wins for the Dynamo, with a 1-0 victory over FC Dallas on Sept. 24 followed up by the 2-0 success over the Portland Timbers. It is ironic, considering their struggles; the win that clinched their playoff berth came away from home.
“It was huge to win these last two on the road,” Andre Hainault told MLSsoccer.com. “We needed wins and these last two on the road were important.”
Adding to Friday’s performances is the fact that the wins came against two quality teams battling for playoff spots. Friday’s win came in one of MLS' most hostile environments at JELD-WEN Field. The late success is a good sign for a club that knows what success on the road can do for a playoff run.
“Now, we’re not looking at ourselves and saying, ‘Oh we’re a road team now,’” Hainault said. “We’re taking it one at a time. We’ll need to build on this because we’re on a high now after winning in a tough atmosphere against a good team.”
Friday’s shutout win was just the sixth of the year for the Dynamo. A team that has struggled to keep teams off the board this year because of small mistakes came through with a strong defensive display against a Portland team that threw numbers forward as the game went on.
"It's a huge result for us -- hats off to the team, the defenders especially,” said Tally Hall. “I felt like Portland put a lot of service into the box and whipped in good balls, and I thought our team fought very well to keep good position."
Impressively four of those six shutout’s have come on the road, including their last two against Dallas and Portland.
Danny Cruz made his return to the starting lineup Friday night and repaid head coach Dominic Kinnear’s faith in him with a wonder-strike in the 59th minute. On an active night for the young midfielder, the goal was the highlight as it sealed Houston’s win.
"It was a great goal tucked inside,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear, "I don't know how far out it was, but it was perfect, and I'm happy for Danny. It's definitely one of the good goals we've had this year."
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.