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Dynamo look to rebound against Nashville

Houston Chronicle logo Houston Chronicle 9/25/2020 By Glynn A. Hill, Staff writer
a man holding a football ball: The Dynamo and Matias Vera fell flat early in their loss to Chicago on Wednesday and hope to be ready for Nashville on Saturday. © Jonathan Daniel, Staff / Getty Images

The Dynamo and Matias Vera fell flat early in their loss to Chicago on Wednesday and hope to be ready for Nashville on Saturday.

In explaining the Houston Dynamo’s 4-0 blowout loss to Chicago Fire FC on Wednesday, coach Tab Ramos summarily pointed to the team’s tight schedule and “hurried” pregame routine. He attributed the grass at Soldier Field and ultimately, shouldered the blame for Houston’s lack of preparation.

After a two-day break, the schedule doesn’t ease up with the Dynamo (3-4-6, 15 points) set to travel to Tennessee to face MLS newcomer Nashville SC (4-5-3, 15 points) on Saturday.

“It wasn't enough time to rest,” Ramos said, after he summarized his team’s pregame challenges. “I felt like the team wasn't as sharp, the movement off the ball wasn't good, we were reactive instead of acting, which is what I want from our team. Whether we play at home or on the road, I want us acting and we can win and lose games, but I'd like to lose games on our terms.”

Ramos depicted travel delays that lasted up to an hour, which rushed team meals then player’s individual routines.

“I know that's not a lot for the average person, you get delayed an hour for a plane that is a normal thing every time you travel,” he said. “For us, the periods in between are so short that just sitting in the plane has its effects…Not making excuses for the players or for me for that matter, but it was fast.”

By halftime, the Dynamo trailed 3-0.

It was the team's worst loss since a 4-0 defeat to Sporting Kansas City on March 7, and a departure from the Dynamo team that had lost just one of its previous eight games — mustering a six-point goal difference during that span.

It’s through the lenses of the team’s recent growth that forward Niko Hansen observes Wednesday’s result.

“It is important for us to realize how much work we've done and the games that we have behind us. By no means should we look into this game as this is what is going to happen for the next few games or the rest of the season,” he said. “I think we put ourselves in good positions to continue to fight for the top position. I don't think that we are out of it, I don't think we our out of the running for first place.”

In Nashville, Houston will face another team with fewer wins than losses. But unlike the Dynamo, Nashville sits above the playoff line in its conference.

Midfielder Matias Vera said the team hopes to shake whatever perception Wednesday’s performance engendered. He wants players to unify around and display that improvement, especially on the road.

“Obviously, the road trips are exhausting, more so with the congested schedule. You just don’t have a lot of days to recover,” he said. “This doesn’t just apply to us, every team in the league is dealing with this. We have to adjust and use that to grow as a team. I think we can look past that now and focus on the task at hand, which is a heavy workload. We have a lot of games around the corner and some of those will be on the road, so we have to get used to this.”

glynn.hill@chron.com

twitter.com/glynn_hill

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