With 2 MLS Cup titles in four trips, four Eastern Conference championships and seven playoff appearances in eight seasons, the Houston Dynamo are the winningest franchise in Houston and some would even argue the best in Texas. It's with little wonder that many are asking about the secret to their success. From the top to the bottom of the Dynamo organization, the answer is simple there is no secret.
"There is really is no secret about it," head coach Dominic Kinnear stated. " Either you have a good team or you don't and I've always thought we've had a good team over the years. I let these guys be responsible for everything that goes on around them and I think they are very responsible and very driven a very motivated team who on the top end of it are very good soccer players so there really is no secret. I think they are good guys, they're a good team and their desire to win is very high and that makes for a good team year in and year out."
No franchise can be successful year in and year out without consistency, stability and desire. The Dynamo have all three and then some.
Consistently, the Dynamo do things a certain way from the front office to the locker room and everyone that bleeds orange toes the line willingly living by the Dynamo way. Much like the players on the field executing the technical aspects of the game, the front office led by team president Chris Canetti have a plan and execute it to put the best eleven possible on the field. This season that execution included making the difficult decision to let players like Bobby Boswell, Calen Carr and Cam Weaver leave the Houston fold.
Consistency means the goal remains the same year in and year out, for Houston that means winning the MLS Cup. Every year a team enters preseason with optimism notes team president Chris Canetti and the Dynamo are no different. The standards are high and get more difficult to achieve with each passing year echoed defender Corey Ashe but this does not intimidate the men in orange from expecting to be playing for and winning the Cup at the end of every season.
One thing Kinnear pointed to with pride when speaking of the team's consistency was their goals for and goals against in the final quarter of the game.
"I'm not a huge stat guy but the one stat that I love and I hope it doesn't get blown out of the water this year are our goals for and goals against in the last fifteen minutes of games. It has been outstanding since I can remember," said Kinnear. "I think it always shows how fit they are, the character of the team, how much they care down to the last minute of the game whether they are winning or losing and I'd like to see that continue. That for me shows a good recipe for success."
In 2013 the Dyanmo outscored the opposition 14-6 in the final quarter of play plus stoppage and in the playoffs held a 3-0 aggregate during the same period. That followed a 2012 season in which the Dynamo scored relentlessly in the final fifteen and beyond by a count of 18-6 against the opposition.
"Last season we set some records, made some good memories," said head coach Dominic Kinnear. "And obviously in our ninth season we expect some more of that but the ultimate goal for us is to win MLS Cup and that's our aim as always."
Stability has been a mainstay of the orange since their arrival in Houston eight seasons ago. Year and year, the team has kept its core group of players together and 2014 will be no different. Exit fan favorite Bobby Boswell, Calen Carr and Cam Weaver. Enter Tony Cascio through the first ever MLS intra-league loan and defender David Horst. Couple them with SuperDraft picks AJ Cochran, Mark Sherrod, and Michael Lisch, then toss in a healthy Omar Cummings, Andrew Driver, Jermaine Taylor and Warren Creavalle surrounded by a nucleus of players who know how to win led by Brad Davis, Tally Hall, Corey Ashe, Boniek-Garcia, Will Bruin, Kofi Sarkodie, Ricardo Clark, Eric Brunner,Mike Chabala and Giles Barnes and there is a recipre for success.
Ultimately though a team is only as good as the desire to win that burns within them. A desire built on team glory and not individual glory. Listen to veteran eight year pro Corey Ashes talk and you will quickly understand why the Dynamo are so successful.
"I think the big thing is we are all competitive. For starters, we enjoy playing for Dom. We know that each year is going to be harder to achieve the things we did the season before but we go out and we compete," said Ashes. "That's the one thing Dom tells us to do. It may not be your day technicaly but you want to make it harder for others and that's what we do. We don't have any flashy players," continued Ashe. "We are just a group of guys that go out do our best and win."
The Dynamo open their quest for their third MLS Cup title in nine seasons on March 8, 2014 in a 7:30p.m. CT match at BBVA Compass stadium against the New England Revolution