CARY, N.C. – They weren’t facing an MLS opponent and their biggest names didn’t even make the trip, but the Houston Dynamo weren’t about to nitpick after recording their first road win of the season at North Carolina FC in the US Open Cup on Wednesday night.
Houston fell into an early 1-0 hole and couldn’t hold onto a 2-1 second half lead, needing a 109th minute winner from midfielder Memo Rodriguez – which came after an 88-minute lightning delay near the end of regulation – to scrape past NCFC 3-2 at Sahlen’s Stadium.
It wasn’t always the prettiest, but after starting the season by going 0-6-1 in their first seven road matches, the Dynamo were quite alright with simply notching a road win of any kind on Wednesday – never mind how it came.
“Anytime you win on the road, it’s good. It’s good to get the first one of the year” said forward Andrew Wenger, who scored the Dynamo’s first goal. “Granted, it took 115 minutes, but that doesn’t matter at the end of the day.”
“Anytime you win it adds to the confidence,” added defender Dylan Remick, who bagged Houston’s second. “It’s a streak that we can build on.”
Houston will now look to start stacking up road wins in MLS play. The Dynamo have been excellent at home this season, but their lackluster away form has the potential to derail their bid to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2013. Their road woes are nothing new. Heading into Wednesday’s match, the Dynamo had just seven wins in 59 away matches across all competitions since the start of the 2014 campaign.
They have started to show a bit of life away from BBVA Compass Stadium in recent weeks, however. They held Dallas to a scoreless draw in Frisco on May 28 and put more shots on target than the Sounders in their 1-0 loss at Seattle on June 4 before beating NCFC on Wednesday. All three matches were a marked improvement on their first five road contests, when they went 0-5 and were outscored 14-3.
The fact that Wednesday’s win came without any of their regular starters – Remick and goalkeeper Joe Willis were the only Houston players who featured who have played more than 500 MLS minutes this year – made it even sweeter for head coach Wilmer Cabrera. He’ll lead his charges in another away match this weekend, with the Dynamo set to travel from North Carolina to LA on Thursday ahead of their match at the Galaxy on Saturday night (10:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE).
“It definitely has to be a great motivation and it’s also a push and a motivation for the guys that haven’t traveled and they’re waiting to play against LA,” he said after Wednesday’s match. “It’s good, it’s good that we have this win away against a tough opponent in the US Open Cup. Now we have another away game against LA Galaxy that is something important to continue building our team.
“It gives us the [knowledge] that we can win away, we are allowed to win away, and we can win away if we perform this way.”