HOUSTON – A week ago D.C. United ran over Sporting Kansas City at the venue KC fans like to call the “Blue Hell.” Looking to claim just their second win on the road in the same environment Friday night, the Houston Dynamo could turn to that 3-0 drubbing as a blueprint.
Houston face the Eastern Conference heavyweights on Friday (8 pm ET, NBCSN) looking for a spark to kick off a run down the stretch, as the Dynamo currently sit six points out of the playoffs. D.C.'s road triumph on Sunday caught Houston's attention, and for head coach Dominic Kinnear it was D.C.’s ball movement that keyed their success.
“It’s pretty rare you see KC give up three goals at home and they did, but you have to give credit to D.C. as well because they really took advantage of the space that they played into,” he told MLSsoccer.com. “I thought D.C. moved the ball well and they didn’t sit and pass and stand. They passed and moved forward. That was helpful for them.”
That cohesion can give KC problems, especially with a defense that’s shown cracks as the season has wore on. While they’re still mostly stingy in the back -- they’ve given up the fewest goals in the league with just 26 -- they’ve failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 10 games after notching seven in their first 15.
Part of that problem has been the revolving nature of the lineup due to call-ups and injuries, but there’s also issues caused by their style.
“They get exposed at the back at times, because one of the things we talk about with Kansas City, and I don’t think it’s a big secret, is that they like to high pressure and press,” Brad Davis said. “If we can do a good job of keeping some guys up field and find the right spots and move the ball quick around that pressure you can get after them.”
- Get more Houston Dynamo news at HoustonDynamo.com
D.C. certainly exposed that weakness, and if Houston’s looking to emulate that, they’ll need to find a way to connect their passes. That's something they’ve done at home recently but failed to do last week in a 3-0 road loss to the Columbus Crew.
That effort could be enhanced if DaMarcus Beasley plays in the match. The left back sat out last week’s game with a hamstring injury and is listed as questionable. Kinnear told MLSsoccer.com Thursday that he will, however, make the trip to the Midwest.
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.