Houston will need to pull together for another run at an MLS Cup
Photo: Nigel Brooks
Hard to believe that half of the MLS season is in the books.  I can still remember waiting for May 12th and the opening of BBVA Compass Stadium, mostly feeling it would never come.  17 out of 34 games have been played, and the Houston Dynamo sit in 5th place in the Eastern Conference and have a 6-5-6 record.  If the season ended today, Houston would be in the playoffs, claiming the final spot in the East.  However, there is still a lot of soccer to be played and the Dynamo will have to fight off a surging Columbus Crew (-2 pts) and the dangerous New England Revolution (-5 pts) if they want to make a run at another MLS Cup.

As a Houston Dynamo fan, how do you rank the team on the first half of the season?  Is the glass half full or half empty?  Let's take a look back at the first 17 games and touch on the keys to filling the glass.

7 road games to start the season...

The Dynamo started off 2012 extremely strong, landing two consecutive road victories against Chivas USA and the San Jose Earthquakes. Houston looked to put the horrendous road record in 2011 behind them by getting off to a great start, but road woes have continued in 2012.  After their two victories to start the year, the Dynamo haven't won on the road, posting a record of 0-5-3.
Fill the Glass:  Houston will need to beat the teams they should (Philadelphia, Toronto) and at least steal some points when they visit Kansas City (twice), New York, and Chicago to give them their best chance of putting together a solid second half.

Lineup changes...

We can all remember Tim Leiweke's go big reference about a designated player.  After much waiting, we didn't go big at all, but we went smart - typical Dynamo gameplan.  Honduran Boniek Garcia has only suited up in two games, but he is making an immediate impact.  The Geoff Cameron saga appears to be coming to an end with the centerback headed to the EPL.  He will leave a big hole in the Dynamo defense, but with the transfer fee, Houston should be able to do some more shopping.
Fill the Glass: The key won't necessarily be the Dynamo bringing in goal scorers. I believe Will Bruin will finish the year contending for the Golden Boot and still have faith Ching will finish with 5-8 goals.  More importantly, how will Jermaine Taylor, Bobby Boswell, Andre Hainault, and Corey Ashe adjust to life without Cameron?

Home field advantage...

I've said it before - Dynamo fans typically don't head home unhappy. The Dynamo haven't lost in Houston in more than a year, currently holding a 16 game unbeaten streak.  BBVA Compass Stadium has seen four wins and three draws so far in 2012 and they will most likely continue their dominance in the Houston heat.
Fill the Glass: Houston will play 10 of their last 17 games at home.  They will need to extra protective of that home filed advantage because 9 of 10 games are against Eastern Conference opponents.

How many points will get them in?...

Houston has picked up 15 points from playing in BBVA Compass Stadium thus far and only 9 from playing on the road.  If they continued their same pace overall and dominance at home, Houston would finish with an estimated 51 points on the year.  That's a pretty good number considering the 2011 Eastern Conference leader was Sporting KC and they finished with 51 points last year.
Fill the Glass: It'll be hard to go an entire season without losing at home, so Houston has to continue their strong play, but most importantly (similar to last year), points on the road will probably decide the Dynamo's 2012 fate.
Overall, Houston sits in a decent position after one half of the season and I'd expect them to get hotter as the year rolls on... they always do.

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