In part to help Houston fans celebrate its recent U.S. Open Cup win, the Dynamo front office is planning to unveil a banner Sunday afternoon at the 2018 home finale at BBVA Compass Stadium to commemorate the historic win. For Houston sports fans, who have seen their soccer team miss out on the playoffs and their baseball team controversially crash out of the playoffs this October, the banner will be something for them to cheer and feel good about.
But for Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera, they’d like to give the fans something else to cheer about — a win in its first home match since coming back from 2-0 down to beat the San Jose Earthquakes 3-2 on Sept. 29.
“For us, we need to win,” Cabrera stated. “We need to win at home. We know how important it is to close the season winning at home. So, that’s our objective, and we would like to offer that to our fans, and to the city. So it is a very important game.”
Cabrera notes the last time the teams met — 13 days prior in Seattle — the Sounders won, instrumental in their move toward a playoff spot they eventually clinched on Wednesday, and devastating to Houston in that it officially, mathematically sealed their fate of not making the playoffs in 2018.
Though Cabrera’s focused on the match at hand, he acknowledges fans should revel in the banner ceremony representing not just the Dynamo’s first major piece of silverware since hoisting the 2007 MLS Cup, but a chance to participate in Concacaf Champions League play in 2019 against the best club teams in the federation.
“It’s for them,” Cabrera said of the fans, regarding the banner unveiling. “Hopefully, they find some positives, some joy, but we want to surrounding everything with the game, with [winning] the three points, because it is really important for us.”
To do that, Cabrera acknowledges that of late — particularly in the Seattle game — the Dynamo have been “really soft on defense. We need to be better defensively . . . against anyone in front of us. With a better mentality, we’re going to be able to contain attacks, and we’re going to be successful.”
“We’ve been doing it against other teams throughout the season,” he added. “We have to be more solid in all aspects defensively, the defenders, yes, but the whole team. They all need to be more aggressive, more solid . . . and when we have the ball, we need to continue growing, and continuing being dangerous.”
That, of course, includes Colombian forward Mauro Manotas, who has an outside chance at reaching one of two milestones to close out the season. With 16 league goals and 22 goals in all competitions — including the Golden Boot-winning half-dozen from the U.S. Open Cup — he has an outside chance, though not an entirely unlikely one, to move up to the quarter-century mark for all competitions or even 20 league goals for the season to put him at a more elite level. As the stats currently stand, Manotas is tied for 4th in the league with Columbus’ Gyasi Zardes (who also plays Sunday afternoon); the three league leaders have already hit the 20-goal mark with two matches remaining.