LOS ANGELES -- Houston Dynamo defender Andre Hainault hopes winning the MLS Cup can help erase some of the disappointment of Canada's crushing exit from World Cup Qualifying. Hainault was on the Canada team that lost 8-1 in Honduras in October, but now hopes to finish the year in a much more positive manner.
The 26-year-old admits that the loss in Honduras has been difficult to deal with. "There's not a day goes by when I don't think about it," he said. "It was a tough pill to swallow. It was tough to close your eyes at night and not think about what happened. I won't forget it but getting to MLS Cup helps me to move forward.
"To come back to your club and make the playoffs and win big games always helps. It's been huge for me to be able to be with the guys on this Houston team and enjoy the end of the season."
Hainault arrived here in Los Angeles along with his Houston teammates on Thursday night and will train at the Home Depot Center on Friday morning. The Quebec-born defender hopes his team will benefit from having been through the same experience a year ago when they lost 1-0 to the Galaxy in the final.
"It's a very familiar situation for us. It seems like just yesterday that we were in MLS Cup here so that will help us," he said. "It is a different matchup to last year and we have got everyone fit. Last year we never really got going offensively and things never clicked. We have to impose our style on the game."
Led by Head Coach Dominic Kinnear, the Dynamo are in their fourth final since joining MLS in 2006 and Hainault gives much credit to his coach for the way he has built the team.
"It's good to have skillful and athletic players, but it is also important to have the right personalities. Dominic is always pushing us to give our maximum. He makes it clear we can't just turn it on at the weekend - we have to work hard all week. We have a strong collective team that fights for each other.
"We've got a deeper team this year than last year and we have had guys come in during the playoffs who have stepped up huge for us. To be successful in the playoffs you need to have a deep team because it is such a long season. We will have played almost 50 games this season, and that takes its toll when games come in thick and fast," explained Hainault.
One of the keys to Houston's success in Saturday's match will be how well they are able to deal with the threat of Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan. The Galaxy duo have been in scintillating form through the second half of the season.
"It's impressive to see those guys working together with their intelligence and speed," said Hainault. "They are very dangerous and we have to be very aware of them and where they are. The Galaxy have got threats all over the field but you don't want Keane and Donovan to get going because when they do they're so dangerous."
MLS Cup can be seen live on TSN this Saturday at 4:30pm et/1:30pm pt.