Highlights and context: Establishing REAL home ground superiority

1 Comment

Sometimes the narrative just doesn’t fit the facts. I’ll give you the perfect “for instance.”

Soccer writers and broadcasters often mistake a festive, feisty atmosphere for one that actually creates a competitive advantage. We all love when fans show up in huge batches and yell like mad men. We love marches to the match and sing-songy chants and ginormous tifo displays that take weeks of commitment to arrange.

So we write about “fortress this” and “house of horrors that” and sometimes avert our eyes from the hard data that might say otherwise. There was a time when people liked to describe BMO Field in Toronto as “one of the toughest places in MLS to get results …” You know, stuff like that.

But it was never really the case. Same for Portland, where the crowds are absolutely fantastic, and where the waiting list for season tickets is around 7,000. It’s a terrific MLS success story.

But the Timbers home mark this year (5-3-2) is just OK. Nine or 10 teams have better records.

One of those teams is Houston. Now that is a club with a chance to establish something truly special, to build a legacy over the long haul as the toughest spot from which to pull points in MLS.

Dominic Kinnear’s Dynamo is 7-0-3 after its latest win at BBVA Compass Stadium, 3-0 last night over Montreal. They have a plus-12 goal-difference in those matches.

Here’s the best of last night’s goals from BBVA, the second on the night from Mac Kandji: