From today until Dec. 30, MLSsoccer.com will be counting down the 12 most important stories of the year in Major League Soccer. These stories were voted on by MLSsoccer.com's panel of 20 editors, writers, videographers and statistics specialists.
The first story on the countdown is one that will forever be in the minds of anyone associated with the Dynamo organization.
For six years, Dynamo players played and practiced on the campus of the University of Houston. Although the team was the epitome of success, the team achieved that success under less than ideal conditions.
On May 12, 2012, Dynamo players and coaches saw the fulfillment of a seven-year promise with the opening of BBVA Compass Stadium. In front of a sold-old crowd, and televised on NBC Sports Network, the Dynamo defeated D.C. United 1-0 to send the 22,000 fans home happy (a common occurance in 2012). Brad Davis scored the game's lone goal in the second half, although he admitted after that he would have liked for Brian Ching to get that first goal.
On Tuesday, Major League Soccer announced the 2013 home openers for all 19 MLS clubs. The Dynamo will open next season at home on March 2 against D.C. United. This will be the second consecutive year the Dynamo play United in a home opener.
The Dynamo are 9-4-2 all-time against United in the regular season and are 10-0-1 against D.C. in Houston in all competitions. That record includes two SuperLiga wins against United and last year's 3-1 playoff victory in their Eastern Conference Championship series.
It's important to note that just because the Dynamo are not listed again on the chart, does not mean they have the next three weekends off. It just means they are not any other club's home opener.
Following the MLS opener against D.C. United, the Dynamo will take on Santos Laguna in the quarterfinals of the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions Leauge. The exact dates of the two-legged series have not been confirmed, but the first leg will be either March 5, 6 or 7 with the second leg to be played March 12, 13 or 14. One of those matches will be at BBVA Compass Stadium with the other match to be played at Estadio Corona in Torreón, Mexico.
As a result of those matches against Santos, the Dynamo will have a bye the second week of the MLS season. The Dynamo should resume MLS play the weekend of Saturday, March 16 but whether the Dynamo have a match that weekend and whether that match is home or away will not be announced until after the new year.
At this time, the only way to secure tickets to both the home opener and the match against Santos are through full or partial season ticket packages. Fans are encouraged to act quickly to secure their seats as both matches are expected to sell out.
When BBVA Compass Stadium opened on May 12, 2012, the city of Houston new that great things would be in store for the downtown gem. Eight months later, the city was treated to an undefeated Dynamo campaign, a World Cup qualifier for Mexico's El Tri and a stop by the Olympic gold-medal winning U.S. women's national team.
With today's announcement that BBVA Compass Stadium will host a U.S. men's national team match in January, Houstonians are in store for one more treat.
"I think it's great that we are going to have the U.S. men's national team make its debut at BBVA Compass Stadium" Dynamo president Chris Canetti said. "BBVA Compass Stadium is a beautiful stadium in one of the best soccer markets in the country."
The USMNT is 1-0-2 all-time in Houston. The squad was last here in 2011 when they defeated Panama 1-0 in the semifinals of the Gold Cup at Reliant Stadium. With the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying Hexagonal schedule announced last month, fans will wonder if BBVA Compass Stadium will be on the list of venues selected by US Soccer as a potential host city.
"Hopefully, this match is the start of a long relationship between the city of Houston, BBVA Compass Stadium and US Soccer in making it a frequent home for U.S. national team matches," added Canetti.
There is no timetable for when the squad for the January camp and friendly will be announced. Historically, the January camp has been very MLS heavy with some players mixed in who play in Scandinavia.
Tickets go on sale to the general public Friday, Dec. 21, at 10 a.m. CT through ussoccer.com, by calling 1-888-929-7849, and at the BBVA Compass Stadium ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290.
Between the regular season and the playoffs, the Houston Dynamo scored 57 goals. Did you miss any of them? Don't worry, we've got you covered.
In honor of today being 12/12/12, I've decided to take a look at the number 12 and see its place in the 2012 season. Are some of these numbers a stretch? Absolutely. Does it make this less fun? Absolutely not.
12 - Goals by Will Bruin (also wears number 12)
12 - Assists by Brad Davis
12 - Shutouts by Tally Hall
12 - Shots attempted by Andre Hainault
12 - Shots on goal by Boniek Garcia
12 - Number of times Will Bruin was offside
12 - Number of goals the Dynamo allowed at home
12 - Number of shots Geoff Cameron blocked for the Dynamo
12 - The Dynamo opened up BBVA Compass Stadium on May 12 with a 1-0 win over D.C. United
-12 - The Dynamo's road-goal differential in 2012
Interestingly enough, three players in Dynamo history have worn the No. 12: Will Bruin, Julian Nash and James Georgeff. We all know the contributions that Bruin has made to the Dynamo, but what of the other two?
Nash was a Dynamo original, moving with the Earthquakes to Houston after the 2005 season. In two seasons in Houston, Nash made six appearances and played only 95 minutes. Nash is currently a Senior Associate at Silicon Valley Bank in San Francisco.
Georgeff was drafted by the Dynamo in the fourth round of the 2008 MLS Supplemental Draft. The Australia native did not feature for Houston and most recently played for Torgelower SV in the fifth tier of the German football pyramid.
With the 2012 season in the books, Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear and his staff must now turn their attention to the 2013 season. One player who will not be a part of the squad next year is midfielder Colin Clark. Clark and the Dynamo agreed to part ways at the conclusion of this past season.
“It’s been decided that we’re going to part ways with Colin Clark and let him go in another direction in his career,” Dynamo president Chris Canetti told the Houston Chronicle.
Clark was acquired by the Dynamo in a trade with the Colorado Rapids in September 2010. In two full seasons in Houston, Clark made 43 regular season appearances (23 starts) and tallied five goals and three assists. Clark's lone goal of the 2012 season came in a 1-0 home win over Real Salt Lake on Sept. 6. The Colorado native also started all four CONCACAF Champions League group stage matches in 2012 and recorded two assists as the Dynamo advanced out of their group and into the quarterfinals of the tournament.
I'd like to thank the @houstondynamo Staff, FO, & Fans for the opportunity to represent your outstanding franchise.
— Colin Clark (@cOlin_cLark7) December 3, 2012
Major League Soccer announced today that the 2013 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas will be held on Thursday, January 17 at the Indiana Convention Center, in Indianapolis, Ind. The SuperDraft, which will include two rounds and 38 overall selections, will begin at 11 a.m. CT. Broadcast details for the event were not announced.
The Dynamo will have two picks in the SuperDraft. They traded their natural first round pick to the Montreal Impact for Brian Ching, but acquired the Portland Timbers' second first-round pick in exchange for the rights to negotiate with Scottish forward Kris Boyd. That Timbers first-round selection was originally acquired from the New York Red Bulls in exchange for Kenny Cooper. As a result, the Dynamo are currently slated to pick 13th in the first round and 18th in the second round (37th overall).
Don't be surprised, though, if there is more movement of draft picks in the days leading up to the draft or on draft day.
In 2011, Dominic Kinnear had the No. 7 overall pick and selected Akron standout Kofi Sarkodie. Minutes later, Kinnear traded with then-Portland coach John Spencer to acquire the No. 11 pick, which he used to take Indiana striker Will Bruin.
In 2012, Kinnear held on to both of his picks, drafting Louisville forward Colin Rolfe with the No. 17 pick in the first round and Central Florida defender/midfielder Warren Creavalle with the No. 37 pick in the second round.
At the conclusion of each day at the USSF Development Academy Showcase, the folks at US Soccer put together a highlight reel of the day's best goals. Check out the two Dynamo Academy goals that made the daily package.
Jose Rodriguez heads home the equalizer in stoppage time to earn a 4-4 draw vs. Varder (1:00 mark)
Bryan Salazar slices through San Jose defenders to put the Dynamo ahead 1-0 (2:30 mark)
Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear and Dynamo president Chris Canetti spoke with the media on Tuesday about the success of the 2012 season and what lies ahead for the Dynamo. Watch clips from the press conference below: