HOUSTON—Houston Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle recently promised there would be changes coming, and on Saturday, those changes came through in a big way as the Dynamo beat Sporting Kansas City 2-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Six changes were made to the Dynamo’s starting lineup, including the first start of 2016 for Designated Player Erick "Cubo" Torres, who notched an assist. Two first-half goals were enough to secure Houston’s first win in seven games, a result that Coyle called “paramount” for his team.
The victory is doubly sweet for the Dynamo as the team got its first clean sheet since March 12, also the last time the Dynamo got a victory. They scored multiple goals in a win for the first time since that March rivalry victory over FC Dallas.
“It’s great to have that firepower, but more important than the two goals was the clean sheet,” Coyle said. “We have to get back to defending well. Get back to clean sheets. Clean sheets give you the platform to go and win games.”
Before Saturday’s game, the Dynamo had relinquished a lead after the 80th minute three times, twice allowing goals in stoppage time at home. This time, the Dynamo successfully finished the game out.
“Too often this season we performed really well but not come away with points,” Coyle said. “The second half was more a mental test, given that we’ve given up leads in some games.”
Perhaps as important as the changes to the lineup on the night was the action taken by players ahead of the game. Giles Barnes, who notched his second goal this season, said the players held a meeting earlier this week to voice their concerns over their recent slide. He added that all players took the meeting in stride and “everyone took it to the head and it showed in our performance today.”
Ricardo Clark echoed Barnes’ comments, adding that the team wanted to “put our words to action and it showed today.”
The Dynamo have a quick turnaround and will face the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday (10:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE). Coyle stated he doesn’t envision making six changes to the lineup for that game but some could be made.
“It’s important we utilize the squad very cleverly,” Coyle said. “Because then we come off from the San Jose game and we got another big game against Real Salt Lake [on Saturday].”