BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The Houston Dynamo have been rather good at home.
In fact, the last time the club lost a match in the Bayou City came just weeks after Fire head coach Frank Klopas took over the side, a 2-0 defeat to Columbus on June 18, 2011.
Since then, the team has gone unbeaten in 34 home matches across all competitions. Even before the loss, the club has racked up an impressive 64-17-32 all-time record regular season since moving to Houston in 2006.
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So what is it that makes the Dynamo so good at home?
“More than anything, you have to deal with the temperature change,” Klopas told Chicago-Fire.com. “For us this week, we’ll go from 40 degrees to humid 80 or 90-degree weather down there. We can’t play a really high-tempo game for 90 minutes, it’s impossible.”
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Having a brother that’s lived in Houston for a while, I can attest that the heat and humidity of H-Town can be brutal.
The weather forecast for Sunday calls for 84 degrees and 74% humidity which will be pretty toasty, though it’ll likely be much worse when the Fire visit there again on July 27.
Luckily for the Fire, the team has taken a draw in each of their last two visits there, dealing particularly well with the heat in last summer’s scoreless draw on July 3.
So what else is it?
The Dynamo have pretty good support but the crowd certainly isn’t as intimidating as some others in MLS. Still, no one in the league currently has as long an unbeaten streak as they’ve carried between Robertson and BBVA Compass Stadium over nearly two calendar years.
“I think part of it is the environment they’ve set up there,” said Fire captain Logan Pause. “But more than that, you have to give them the most credit in terms of the kind of team they are.
“Dominic Kinnear has sort of ingrained his style in that team and they’ve been a force since they moved from San Jose.”
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That style centers around hard-working attackers, currently in the mold of Brad Davis, Giles Barnes and Boniek Garcia (who missed last week’s 2-0 loss to Portland but should be back Sunday). Their play out wide and ability to earn dangerous dead ball situations works well with the bruising strike force that is Will Bruin, Cam Weaver and veteran Brian Ching.
“Home or away, they’re always difficult to play against. It’s going to be a challenge and we’re looking forward to it. Coming off a good result against Red Bull, hopefully we can carry that momentum into the weekend.”