FC Dallas has been a tough match-up for the Houston Dynamo all season. Needing three points to pull level for the final playoff spot, their rivals to the north confirmed their dominance.
Dallas struck quick and hard in a 4-1 romp over a Dynamo team that made their lot in Sunday’s game unwinnable. The two Dallas goals that did Houston in early in the second half came via turnovers. Against a team that can strike quick, Dallas made Houston pay full price for their mistakes.
Sunday’s defeat in Frisco confirmed Dallas’ control of the state with a season sweep and delivered a swift and rough blow to Houston’s slim playoff hopes.
“It’s hugely disappointing. I’ve said to the players they need to be better than that if we want to continue to improve and put ourselves in the position that teams like the FC Dallas’ and teams like that find themselves then of course we as a club have to pass and move the ball better,” head coach Owen Coyle told the media after the game. “The goals were self-inflicted. It’s when we were in good position and we’ve given away cheap passes and we’ve been punished because Dallas have attacking flare, with real pace that can hurt anybody.”
Sunday’s game marked the fifth straight loss to Dallas for Houston and the trends of those loses held true.
Houston struggled to get into the game early and Fabian Castillo, who has been a thorn in Houston’s side in all three games this season, put them on their back foot and drew a first half penalty that Mauro Diaz converted. Things didn’t get much better.
Despite a sterling strike to level the first half score from Ricardo Clark, who extended his career high with his seventh goal, Houston’s penchant for self-inflicted wounds continued as giveaways to a team with pace caught up to them.
“I think offensively and defensively there were points where we just lost our concentration and they took advantage of it,” Clark told the media. “We knew coming into the game that Castillo and a lot of their players do really well on the counter-attack and that’s how we got punished today.”
The post mortem for the Dynamo is bleak. Failing to get a result out of the game keeps them three points back of the San Jose Earthquakes with two to play. With two teams in their way and a third, Real Salt Lake with games in hand, the result in Frisco has the playoff hill getting tougher to climb.
“We have to win the last two games and hope results go our way. All we can do is win those last two games which is always difficult,” Coyle said. “It is what is. It’s horrible, it’s not a nice feeling. But we’ll pick ourselves up and go again.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.