Entering the heat of playoff battle on Sunday November 3rd, a sensible Houston Dynamo fan might think that Eastern Conference champion New York Red Bulls winners of four straight against Houston, five of the last six and a goal differential of plus eight in those matches are the odds on favorite to win the first leg of the Eastern Conference semi-final at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. History would say other wise.
The Dynamo have scored 26 playoff goals and conceded just six in ten home playoff matches throughout the team’s eight season in Houston posting a 9-1 mark.
The team that set the franchise record for 30 consecutive regular season home wins was unable to find the answer against New York suffering two home defeats by an aggregate score of 7-1. Despite that the Houston holds a one goal differential against NYR at home all-time and has a plus seven home goal differential this season while the Red Bulls have a minus one road goal differential.
Dynamo Head coach Dominic Kinnear knows that at this time of year there are no easy games.
“They’re a good team. They looked good the last couple of weeks of the season. They won their last two games. They scored a lot of goals. They play well as a team. The farther you go in the playoffs, you're bound to run into someone good. New York is a good team. There are no easy games in MLS and when you get to the playoffs, they all become harder."
Both teams are a veteran bunch however the Dynamo have been here before making the playoffs seven out their eight seasons in Houston. Last season they battled their way to the MLS Cup title game for the second consecutive year beginning with the knockout round. Having been in four title games in seven years and winning two titles gives this group a confidence that few others can speak of.
Dynamo forward Will Bruin whose two goals on Thursday night sparked Houston past Montreal may have summed it up what the team needs to do to advance in an interview with reporters on Friday following the team's light workout.
"We played great the whole 90 minutes on both sides of the ball (Thursday versus Montreal) and if we put in that kind of performance together it doesn't matter who we are playing."