Major League Soccer
At this point in the game, there is little reason to suspect fans do not know what is on the line this weekend.
Currently, the Dynamo sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. If the season ended today, they would travel to Red Bull Arena on Wednesday for a one-game wild-card match with the New York Red Bulls.
The only way for the Dynamo to avoid the wild-card game is if the following happens:
- Dynamo defeat Colorado Rapids
- D.C. United defeats Chicago Fire
- New York ties or loses to Philadelphia Union
If any other scenario happens, the Dynamo will be playing a match Wednesday night. The only question will be whether or not that match will be in the fortress of BBVA Compass Stadium or on the road at Red Bull Arena, Toyota Park or RFK Stadium.
With that said, we encourage Dynamo fans to keep a close watch on the matches Saturday afternoon. The Red Bulls and Union kick off an NBC tripleheader at 12:30 p.m. on NBC's main channel. That will be followed by D.C. United and the Chicago Fire at 3 p.m. on NBC Sports Network. The tripleheader concludes with the San Jose Earthquakes and Portland Timbers at 5 p.m. on NBC Sports Network. Although that final match has no bearing on the Dynamo's playoff position, it will be interesting to watch Chris Wondolowski in his pursuit of Roy Lassiter's goal scoring record. Wondolowski needs one goal to tie Lassiter and two to take sole possession of the record.
Although much of the focus is on the Eastern Conference, few are talking about Western Conference matches that also could impact Houston. Currently, the Dynamo have 53 points. That is more than two Western Conference playoff teams; the LA Galaxy (51) and Vancouver Whitecaps (42). Real Salt Lake and the Seattle Sounders sit on 56 points.
Now why is this important to the Dynamo? When two teams are left standing in the MLS Cup final, the team that hosts is the one that had more points in the regular season. The Dynamo could potentially have more regular season points than two Western Conference teams, and as many points as two others.
RSL hosts Vancouver Saturday night and LA hosts Seattle Sunday night. Although we are a month away from it mattering, those matches could come into play if the Dynamo make it to the MLS Cup final and host any of those four teams.
Look back on a memorable first year at BBVA Compass Stadium. Here's to a few more games in 2012...
Lost in Saturday's playoff clinching win over the Philadelphia Union was the fact that the 2012 Houston Dynamo set a team record for points (53) in a season. The win also moved the Dynamo to within one of tying the team record for wins in a season (15), set by the 2007 MLS Cup winning squad.
Interestingly enough, the Dynamo squad with the second lowest regular season point total (2006), was one of two Dynamo teams to win MLS Cup. I guess that lends credence to the saying that it doesn't matter how you get into the playoffs, as long as you get in.
*Won MLS Cup
For our Spanish-speaking fans, Calen Carr talk about the passion and enthusiasm of Houston Dynamo fans in the latest El Movimiento video, presented by Degree for Men.
In his weekly Instant Replay video series, Simon Borg takes a closer look at the controversial calls from the past weekend's games. In the video below, he looks at two calls that were made in the final seconds of Saturday's Dynamo-Impact match.
In the final part of a 3-part 'Between the Lines' Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle looks at lateral and vertical build-ups, one resulting in a Brad Davis score, the other in a Freddy Adu goal.
Head coach Dominic Kinnear is always looking for ways to keep things loose. He has organized flag football games, bowling matches and trips to a local go-kart track. On Monday, Kinnear went to his bag of tricks one more time and organized an intra-squad softball game after training.
It looks like Will Bruin was doing his best John Olerud impression by donning Calen Carr's head gear.
I don't normally write posts encouraging fans to watch non-Dynamo games, but Saturday's match between the Chicago Fire and the New York Red Bulls carries a lot of significance, on and off the field.
On the field, these are two teams ahead of the Dynamo in the standings. The Fire and Red Bulls are currently tied for second place in the Eastern Conference, four points ahead of the Dynamo. With three games to go in the regular season, the Dynamo would love nothing more than to clinch a playoff spot and finish in one of the top three positions, thus missing the one-game wild-card match between the fourth and fifth place teams.
Off the field, Saturday's match is the second MLS match to be broadcast on the main NBC channel. The first was on September 15, when the Portland Timbers played the Seattle Sounders to a 1-1 draw in front of a sold-out crowd at JELD-WEN Field.
MLS is in the first year of a TV deal with NBC Sports and by all accounts, the partnership has been a success, with higher ratings and top-notch broadcasts on both NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network. We encourage all fans to support the growth of the league and tune in to Saturday's match on NBC before heading to BBVA Compass Stadium for our match vs. the Montreal Impact. Below is a complete TV schedule for Saturday's matches.
Saturday, October 6