103113_davisbrad_isi_mlsbb5262013_87 Bill Barrett/isiphotos.com
Player Spotlight

Brad Davis Looks to MLS Playoffs and Beyond

The Houston Dynamo star prepares to lead his MLS team into the playoffs tonight against the Montreal Impact. He talks to Brian Sciaretta about success, failure, and going to Brazil.
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
October 31, 2013
12:04 PM
In a league like MLS where playoffs determine the champion, mental toughness, confidence, and leadership often prevail in the end.

The Houston Dynamo boast plenty of all three, a major reason for its exceptional playoff success over the past eight years. The club won the MLS Cup in 2006 and 2007 and advanced to the finals in each of the last two seasons. Houston begins its run again tonight against Montreal, a journey that Dynamo supporters hope will result in a third championship.

Team captain Brad Davis, who has consistently been one of the best midfielders in the league, has been at the center of Houston’s success for the past decade. The former Saint Louis University star, however, was quick to credit his coach, Dom Kinnear for the playoff success.

“I think Dom does a great atmosphere in getting a group of guys that is willing to do anything for the team,” Davis told American Soccer Now. “I know it sounds cliché to say something like that but it is completely true. We have a group of unselfish individuals. We have a solid group of guys that are willing to do whatever is possible to win a game and we’re a group that hates to lose. I think this is the time of year when a team’s true colors come out. I think our colors shine pretty well.”

Davis will work to make the colors shine brightly against Montreal. The Impact were one of the league’s best teams for most of the season but struggled down the stretch and limped into the playoff. The Dynamo have the home-field advantage and inclement weather over the past few days could make it an ugly game. Should Houston advance, it would face the New York Red Bulls who drafted Davis and subsequently traded him after just one year.

While the Impact enters into the game off a string of poor results, the Dynamo is doing just the opposite with just one loss in its last seven. In the final game of the season, the Dynamo played well in a 2-1 win over DC United to secure the fourth seed.

"I think when we had that bad patch in the second third of the season, we were missing a lot of guys and we were just a little bit inconsistent with the lineup," Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear said this week in a press conference. "I think now in the last little bit we’ve been a little more consistent with our lineup and I think the results kind of show that we have a good team.”

Davis agreed that the Dynamo are peaking at the right time and is confident that the team will advance to face the Red Bulls.

“They’ve just squeaked in,” Davis said of the series against Montreal. “They didn’t finish the season on the best of notes. But they are in and the playoffs are a different animal. I think we’re prepared and we’re going to go after them from the opening whistle. It’s win or go home. I feel that they’re a different team away from home. We know it’s going to be a difficult game. This is what you put the work in for all year long and now it’s up to us to make the most of it. I think we will.”

The month of November could be an eventful time for Davis. In addition to the MLS playoffs, the U.S national team is set to play two friendlies. The American squad cruised through World Cup qualifying but the upcoming games could help determine World Cup spots.

Due to the playoffs, it is unclear if Davis will be invited to the November games or whether he will wait until the annual January camp. He will, however, returned to the fold at some point. The Missouri native has been a part of the national team for most of 2013 but his best performance came recently in the final World Cup qualifier when Davis picked up two assists to help the U.S team rally for a 3-2 win over Panama on the road.

Davis knows that making the World Cup team next year will be difficult but he is confident he can help the team. He has surpassed Brek Shea and Jose Torres as the team’s best left footed midfielder and his ability to cross from the left side addresses a clear weakness on squad.

Klinsmann will have difficult choices to make moving forward and Davis is happy to have made his coach’s decisions harder. Davis will turn 32 next month and at a time when some players of his age slow down, he is optimistic that the next year could be the best of his career with the playoffs and potentially the World Cup on the horizon.

“Being able to get into that game in Panama and make a difference, yeah, that got to put some questions in the coach’s mind,” Davis said. “That’s has to make it difficult for the coach to leave you off. But that’s just one opportunity. We still have a lot of time left that I have to go in there and make an impact and make my presence known and prove myself. That’s a good first step but by no means am I satisfied or have I solidified a spot on that team yet.”

“I think I’ve been there the whole year since January,” he continued. “I definitely have a chance to make that roster without a doubt. Going from a guy who thought his national team career was over to have this opportunity is eye opening. It’s a dream come true. I am upset if I’m not called in but I know I’m in the mix each and every time."

Post a comment