With last night’s close-shave win at BBVA Compass Stadium, the Houston Dynamo marches just a little closer to joining elite company.
Only three teams in MLS history have marched through an entire season without any sad-face losses at home. Dominic Kinnear’s men now stand 9-0-5, which leaves three matches on the home schedule.
Los Angeles went undefeated at home last year (12-0-5). Real Salt Lake carved its initials in the history tree in 2010, going 11-0-4 during that long and distinguished run of Utah success.
Before that, San Jose in 2005 had been the only MLS team to go wire-to-wire without a loss at home. That club (9-0-7 at home) was under the guidance of … Dominic Kinnear. That was his second year in charge of a pro outfit, having moved up from the assistant’s chair just one year earlier.
So what are Houston’s chances of being No. 4 on the “Perfect at Home” parade? Pretty decent, considering none of the clubs still scheduled to visit BBVA Compass Stadium (pictured during Don Garber’s early visit) are playoff teams at the moment. In fact, the trio’s combined road record is a decidedly hideous 5-28-6.
The mitigating factor is Houston’s stacked-and-packed schedule over the next two weeks, the kind that can grind teams to debilitating effect. Houston does traditionally finish strong, so perhaps those two elements cancel one another out.
While I wait for Kinnear’s call (“C’mon, Steve … are you trying to jinx us?”), here are the Dynamo’s remaining matches at home, along with those teams’ road record and just a little finger sandwich of analysis:
Sept. 29, vs. New England (1-10-2): It’s all about next year for Jay Heaps’ team. The Revs may entertain an outside chance of playoffs in 2012, but not a realistic one. It’s hard to predict where the Revs’ mindset will be in three weeks.
Oct. 6, Montreal Impact (2-11-1): This is the one remaining opponent still retaining a little post-season hope. But allow me to stress the “little.” If D.C. United keeps dropping points, that could change by the time this early October date rolls around. And the Impact is playing well at the moment.
Oct. 20, Philadelphia Union (2-7-3): Manager John Hackworth has already conceded the 2012 post-season quest. But could that make Philadelphia’s young team even more dangerous? Freedom from playoff pressure can do that, you know.