For years, MLS commissioner Don Garber has talked about Major League Soccer being one of the best leagues in the world by 2022. And when he talks about that goal, he almost always prefaces the statement by saying MLS needs to be the best league in the region before it can be one of the best in the world.
The differences between MLS and Liga MX are well-documented. With no salary cap south of the border, teams are able to spend freely on top talent, both domestic and abroad. There are more than a handful of players playing in the Mexican first division whose salaries would dwarf most MLS teams outside of New York and LA.
But that competitive advantage has not stopped the Dynamo from being a strong opponenet for Mexican clubs over the past seven years. Since the Dynamo moved to Houston from San Jose in 2006, the team is 9-7-4 all-time against Mexican foes. That includes matches in the CONCACAF Champions Cup, CONCACAF Champions League, SuperLiga, BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup and international friendlies.
Along the way there have many memorable moments.
Who can forget the Dynamo's 4-4 tie at Pumas in the 2008-09 CONCACAF Champions League? With the draw, Houston became the first MLS team to earn a point on Mexican soil in any competition.
Or how about Houston's 2-0 win over Pachuca in the 2007 CONCACAF Champions Cup home match? The match was originally scheduled for Wednesday night, but a power outage forced the game to be pushed to Thursday afternoon. Houston took the first leg, but was unable to take the series, falling at Pachuca 5-2.
You could probably poll 5 people and they might each give you a different favorite memory against Mexican opposition, including last Tuesday's 1-0 win over Santos Laguna.
So what do you say Dynamo fans? What is your favorite memory / game / story against a team from Mexico? Let us know in the comments section below!
|Dynamo vs. Mexican opposition (9-7-4 all-time; 9-4-3 home; 0-3-1 road)|
|03/15/07||vs. Pachuca||W 2-0||Robertson Stadium||CONCACAF Champions Cup|
|04/05/07||at Pachuca||L 5-2||Estadio Hidalgo||CONCACAF Champions Cup|
|07/25/07||vs. Club America||W 1-0||Robertson Stadium||SuperLiga|
|07/29/07||vs. Morelia||T 1-1||Robertson Stadium||SuperLiga|
|08/14/07||vs. Pachuca||T 2-2 (Lost 4-3 on PKs)||Robertson Stadium||SuperLiga|
|07/12/08||vs. Atlante||W 4-0||Robertson Stadium||SuperLiga|
|07/15/08||vs. Chivas de Guadalajara||L 0-1||Robertson Stadium||SuperLiga|
|07/29/08||vs. Pachuca||W 2-0||Robertson Stadium||SuperLiga|
|09/30/08||at Pumas||T 4-4||Estadio Olimpico Universitario||CONCACAF Champions League|
|10/22/08||vs. Pumas||L 3-1||Robertson Stadium||CONCACAF Champions League|
|02/24/09||vs. Atlante||T 1-1||Robertson Stadium||CONCACAF Champions League|
|03/03/09||at Atlante||L 3-0||Estadio Quintana Roo Atlante||CONCACAF Champions League|
|09/16/09||at Pachuca||L 2-0||Estadio Hidalgo||CONCACAF Champions League|
|09/30/09||vs. Pachuca||L 1-0||Robertson Stadium||CONCACAF Champions League|
|10/11/09||vs. Monterrey||W 2-1||Robertson Stadium||BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup|
|07/15/10||vs. Pachuca||W 2-1||Robertson Stadium||SuperLiga|
|07/21/10||vs. Puebla||W 1-0||Robertson Stadium||SuperLiga|
|08/05/10||vs. Morelia||L 1-0||Robertson Stadium||SuperLiga|
|09/04/11||vs. Monterrey||W 3-0||Robertson Stadium||Friendly|
|03/05/13||vs. Santos Laguna||W 1-0||BBVA Compass Stadium||CONCACAF Champions League|
Following Tuesday's 1-0 win over Santos Laguna, Dynamo goalkeepers coach Tim Hanley spoke with the media about the match.
When the Major League Soccer schedule was released in January, fans took to analyzing the Dynamo's matchups, both home and away. But it was the Dynamo's bye weekend that might prove to be the most valuable for the club.
Following Tuesday's 1-0 win over Santos Laguna in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series, the Dynamo will have the weekend off before traveling to Mexico for the second leg.
Houston is not the only team in MLS with such an advantage. Both the Seattle Sounders and LA Galaxy, who are also competing in the CCL quartefinals, will have this coming weekend off from league play. It's another design by the executives at MLS to give their teams an advantage in the region's premier tournament.
On the flip side, schedule makers for LigaMX did not do Santos Laguna any favors. Santos played last Friday night against Jaguares de Chiapas before Tuesday's first leg at BBVA Compass Stadium. Los Guerreros will host Atlante on Friday, March 9 before hosting the Dynamo in the second leg on Wednesday, March 13.
Will the Dynamo's off weekend give them a leg up in game two? Is Santos a deep enough team to overcome four games in 13 days? Give us your thoughts in the comment section below.
Following Tuesday night's training session, Santos Laguna manager Pedro Caixinha and forward Herculez Gomez discussed the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series with the Houston Dynamo.
Tickets are still available for tonight's match and can be purchased by clicking here or by calling (713) 276-GOAL.
On last week's episode of Dynamo Weekly, CSN Houston's Sebastian Salazar and Dynamo broadcaster Glenn Davis broke down Houston's upcoming series with Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League.