Brisendine: Long-awaited road win an important step for Houston

OK, so it came against D.C. United – and without Bill Hamid in goal.

Still, Saturday night’s 3-1 victory at RFK Stadium marked the breaking of this year’s most prominent road duck, as the Houston Dynamo finally notched three away points after a 0-7-3 start on the road.

Admit it, though: When Bobby Boswell pulled one back for United in the 62nd minute after Houston went up 3-0 early, didn’t you think, “Oh, this is going to be peak Road Houston 2017?”

(You did. Don’t lie.)

They got it done, though – and on the whole, it was everything for the Dynamo that their scoreless midweek draw at Minnesota United should have been: a quick, opportunistic putdown of a last-place team that gave up way too many chances in the opening minutes.

An inability to finish despite a 19-3 shot advantage cost Houston two points on Wednesday, but sealing the deal – with three goals in the first 17 minutes – wasn't a problem on Saturday.

Granted, this latest result is as much a testament to how bad D.C. United have been this year as it is to any sudden road brilliance on Houston’s part, but you have to beat the bad teams to be a consistently good team.

And let’s be fair to the Dynamo here – they rolled on Saturday night without midfield stalwart Boniek Garcia and without their attacking triumvirate of Cubo Torres, Romell Quioto and Alberth Elis.

They didn’t seem to miss them all that much, with Alex (two assists), Mauro Manotas (one goal) and Andrew Wenger (one goal, one assist) finding all sorts of room to play in the United half.

Not bad, that. And at a key point in the season, as teams start to seriously jockey for position on their conference tables. This is the time of year when decisive swoons and surges happen, and the Dynamo are right in the thick of the Western Conference race, 

One result does not a trend make, though, especially against the recent level of away competition. Houston could well have grabbed six points on the road this week, rather than four, and their remaining road slate includes tough trips to both FC Dallas and Sporting Kansas City.

The Dynamo should have no trouble making the postseason on the strength of their home form – 8-0-2 so far – and a few breaks going the right way could even see them grab a Knockout Round bye. Still, they will have to prove that they can get good results away on a regular basis to be considered a threat to advance toward MLS Cup.

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