When you gander at the standings for MLS, most things look pretty well in order. There aren’t any obnoxious deficits or outstanding performers. It’s a pretty level playing field. And then you see the Houston Dynamo in last in the West with a measly five points and you wonder where it all went wrong. Or better yet, how it’s still going so wrong.
They’ve lost five of their last six.
It’s not that they’re in last place that’s shocking. Someone has to do it. It’s the manner in which they are there. 14 goals scored and 16 allowed is almost identical to cross-state rival FC Dallas, who have 15 goals and 17 allowed. Yet Dallas have 12 more points and sit seven spots up the table.
So what gives? The Dynamo beat FC Dallas 5-0 for their only win of the season and now they’re rubbish? It’s hard to fathom.
Well, it’s about to get even harder to fathom. Aside from the rather ordinary goal differential, the Houston Dynamo also boast a rather diverse offense. They have eight different goal scorers this year. Between Andrew Wenger, Giles Barnes and Will Bruin, they have a powerful trifecta that accounts for seven goals and five assists – a potent combination.
It’s not like they’re a catastrophe defensively either. Anchored by the hulking David Horst and the ever-reliable Raul Rodriguez, Houston has a solid defensive pairing that benefits from an excellent set of defensive midfielders in Ricardo Clark and Alex. The personnel is all in place, no matter which side of the ball you’re on. And we started to see it all coming together early in the year. They have what it takes to compete, they just need a little more solidity.
And honestly, when you look back at their results, they deserve better than the five points they’ve accumulated. As their goal differential would hint at, tossing out one loss to the LA Galaxy, Houston is not getting blown out by any means. They have only lost that one game by more than a goal. They even have that 1-1 draw with Seattle where the Sounders scored at literally the last second to steal two points from the Dynamo.
Against Real Salt Lake, they had a lead and the momentum but they just couldn’t hold on and gave up two late goals.
I’m not here to say that the Dynamo are getting jobbed and that they are MLS Cup contenders, but that form that we saw break out at the beginning of the year was not as big of a fluke as people think. This Dynamo team is not a bunch of scrubs. They’ll be back. They’ve just been a victim of their own mental lapses lately. That all evens out eventually.