Posted by : Stephen Eastepp July 25, 2012
|Will Bruin celebrates after a goal against Toronto FC|
(Photo: Getty Images)
This week, the MLS power rankings have Houston moving from ninth up to fourth, the biggest jump by any team. Meanwhile, Mac Kandji, Calen Carr, and coach Dominic Kinnear were individually recognized with MLS Team of the Week Honors. Brad Davis and Boniek Garcia also received honorable mentions. With Carr netting a brace in one game and an assist in an other, he was also chosen as the MLS Player of the Week.
There is a good amount of buzz around the Dynamo right now and for good reason. In the last six games, Houston hasn't been beaten. In that stretch, Houston has scored 11 goals, while conceding only 2, and compiling a 4-0-2 record.
Their next three games will likely give them an opportunity to take over the Eastern Conference. This Saturday, Houston will travel to BMO Field to take on Toronto FC, where they have never left with a victory (0-2-3). Following that, they'll have a home and away battle with the conference leading New York Red Bulls. With two consectutive head to head games against the Red Bulls, if Houston can get the better of both games, they'll likely take over the lead from New York.
Before looking too far ahead, Houston will have their hands full with Toronto FC. Toronto is riding a three game winning streak, and renewed energy following the installment of head coach Paul Mariner. Since Mariner took the reigns in early June, Toronto has compiled a respectable 4-2-4 record, including at 3-3 draw at BBVA Compass Stadium.
In addition, Houston will need to begin getting results on the road. The Dynamo may be headed up the East, but they haven't won a road game since the second game of 2012. That's something they'll have to correct if they want to compete for an MLS Cup this year.
Toronto took a big hit when Danny Koevermans went down with a season ending injury just a short time ago, but quickly replaced him with Eric Hassli. Hassli finished up 2011 with 10 goals while in Vancouver, but hasn't been able to replicate his performance in 2012 thus far. A change of scenery may do him well.
After Toronto, Houston will host the Red Bulls at BBVA Compass Stadium. Through ten games, the Dynamo haven't been beaten at home, with seven wins and three draws. New York is the other unbeaten team at home, and they'll put their streak on the line against Houston the following week. With six head to head points up for grabs during the two games, if a winner prevails, they'll likely find themselves in first place in the Eastern Conference.
Without a doubt these two matches will be the biggest draws for both clubs. Houston is streaking right now, New York has the first place position and star power, and on the field these two will have three of the top five MLS scoring leaders.
Houston isn't looking ahead to New York just yet, but these two games could be two that propel the Dynamo to new heights. First task is getting a much needed road result and leaving with their first win on Canadian soil in franchise history.
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