HOUSTON – Thirty games into the season, the Houston Dynamo are in the same spot they were a year ago — below the playoff line.
To be fair, this season’s story for the Orange is still being written, and with four games left the Dynamo’s destiny is in their own hands, or feet in this instance. But there is room for concern.
Houston’s haven’t won since Aug. 12, a 3-0 home victory against San Jose. Since that victory, the Dynamo are 0-3-3. For the majority of the season, the Dynamo were above the playoff line but their recent slide has them sitting the playoffs out.
Of the four remaining games, three will at BBVA Compass Stadium, where Houston have been nearly untouchable with a 9-1-4 record. Their home record had been pristine, until losing to bottom-of-the-table Colorado Rapids earlier this month. The Dynamo’s slide isn’t lost on head coach Wilmer Cabrera, especially at home.
“We’re losing opportunities. We have three difficult home games remaining. If we want to make the playoffs we need to get three points at home. It’s imperative that we get three points against a tough opponent. An opponent that already came here and robbed us of two points.”
The last two Dynamo matches have seen the Orange abandoned their preferred 4-3-3 formation for a 4-3-2-1 look. And while Cabrera hasn’t tinkered much with the formation this season, he has rotated players on a constant basis.
Wednesday’s match was no exception. Houston used their 28th different starting lineup in 30 matches this season. With Minnesota United visiting Houston on Saturday (8:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE), and Dynamo midfielder Juan David Cabezas having to be subbed out due to injury, chances are high that Cabrera will once again trot out a new lineup.
But Cabrera is calling on the collective to be ready for the next challenge.
“We had to make double effort today. Physically and mentally, that’s a big effort and a lot of stress and a lot of passion,” Cabrera said. “So, now we need to rest. We need to recover. We need to calm down because that’s a lot of adrenaline for the players. And we need to analyze what is the best lineup and what players are ready to play Saturday."