SEATTLE – Any team trying to make a late-season push in the 2016 Audi MLS Playoffs race should probably hope to avoid the Houston Dynamo at all costs.
Houston came into their Wednesday evening road match-up with the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field owning a 7-13-11 record and 32 points on the season, leaving them dead last in the Western Conference.
It didn’t matter on Wednesday, however. The Dynamo prevented Seattle from snatching a victory that would have punched its ticket to the playoffs, grinding out a 0-0 draw against a surging Sounders squad that also had a full-strength attack at its disposal following the early returns of midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro and forward Jordan Morris from international duty.
“That was a hard-fought game,” Houston interim coach Wade Barrett told reporters afterwards. “Looking at this one 10 days ago, anticipating that perhaps Morris might be gone and that Lodeiro might be gone, Seattle has a very good team without those guys. But I think they do change the dynamic.
“Obviously, in the lead-up to it, we knew those guys were going to back so it puts into sharper focus all the things you need to do defensively.”
It was the second time in four games Houston have played something of a spoiler role against a Cascadia opponent jockeying for playoff position, following the club’s 3-1 romp over the Portland Timbers at BBVA Compass Stadium on Sept. 24.
But Barrett downplayed any sort of notion that his team is given any sort of extra spark from the spoiler role, saying that his squad is simply trying to put together a strong run of form regardless of the circumstances.
“It’s been a tough season for us. We’re still after positive results,” Barrett said. “Everyone feels good after positive results. There’s a lot to play for. We all have a lot to play for. I have a lot to coach for. Part of it is professional pride. You want to step on the field and compete and do well. If that happened to prevent them from getting in the playoffs, that is what it is.
“We’re in it for our reasons, not for theirs.”
Houston will close out their season with two more match-ups against Western Conference playoff opponents, as they head home to take on the LA Galaxy on Sunday, before a season finale against the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Oct. 23.