Major League Soccer
Good news coming out of Dynamo camp this morning as striker Omar Cummings, who was acquired by Houston from the Colorado Rapids in December, has returned to training with the first team.
Cummings has been sidelined since the end of January after undergoing surgery on January 25 to repair a right knee injury. According to Houston Chronicle reporter Jesus Ortiz, Cummings hopes to be available for selection within the next two weeks, meaning that the Jamaican national team forward could make his debut in the Dynamo's March 23 home match vs. the Vancouver Whitecaps.
This will come as good to news to the Dynamo, who have a busy schedule over the next few weeks. If Houston earns the necessary result to get past Santos Laguna in the Champions League quarterfinals, they could be looking at seven games (MLS + CCL) in a span of four weeks.
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|
Lost in the excitement of the Dynamo's 1-0 win over Santos Laguna Tuesday night at BBVA Compass Stadium was the fact that the win extended the club's home unbeaten streak in all competitions. The streak now stands at 32 games, dating back to a 2-0 loss to the Columbus Crew on June 11, 2011.
Since last night's win was in the CONCACAF Champions League, the Dynamo's home unbeaten streak in MLS play remains at 26 matches. Real Salt Lake holds the all-time record with 29 consecutive MLS home games unbeaten and 34 consecutive home games in all competitions unbeaten.
As it stands, the Dynamo will have a chance to tie Real Salt Lake's all competitions record on Saturday, March 30 when they host the San Jose Earthquakes at BBVA Compass Stadium. If Houston is able to keep its streak intact, they will be able to tie Salt Lake's MLS record when they host the Chicago Fire on April 14.
Dynamo broadcaster Eddie Robinson discusses the keys to the game for Saturday's match, presented by Kroger.
When the Dynamo take the field Saturday against D.C. United, it will mark the eighth season in Houston for the men in orange. Hard to believe that it's already been seven years since Brian Ching took the Bayou City by storm, scoring four goals in the first match at Robertson Stadium.
With that in mind, we take a look back at the past seven home openers in Dynamo history:
Houston Dynamo vs. Colorado Rapids
Date: April 2, 2006
Result: W 5-2
Recap: In the inaugural match for the Houston Dynamo, Brian Ching became an immediate Houston hero, scoring four goals in a 5-2 victory over the Colorado Rapids. Alejandro Moreno put the icing on the cake with a stoppage-time bicycle kick that earned MLS Goal of the Week honors.
Houston Dynamo vs. LA Galaxy
Date: April 8, 2007
Result: T 0-0
Recap: After raising the 2006 MLS Cup championship banner, the Dynamo were unable to pull out a win on the field in their home opener. Pat Onstad and the defense held on for a shutout despite a late red card to defender Ryan Cochrane.
Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas
Date: April 6, 2008
Result: T 3-3
Recap: In the MLS home opener, the Dynamo fell behind 2-1 and 3-2 to their in-state rivals, but a sensational 93rd-minute goal from rookie Geoff Cameron, making his first start, lifted Houston into a tie.
Houston Dynamo vs. Columbus Crew
Date: March 21, 2009
Result: T 1-1
Recap: Brian Ching and Guillermo Barros Schelotto traded second-half goals as the Dynamo earned a point against the defending MLS Cup champions.
Houston Dynamo vs. Real Salt Lake
Date: April 1, 2010
Result: W 2-1
Recap: Brad Davis converted two second-half penalties two minutes apart as the Dynamo pulled out a 2-1 win over defending MLS Cup champion Real Salt Lake in the 2010 home opener.
Houston Dynamo vs. Philadelphia Union
Date: March 19, 2011
Result: L 1-0
Recap: A fifth-minute Danny Califf goal was enough for the Philadelphia Union who pulled out a 1-0 victory to spoil the Dynamo’s 2011 home opener at Robertson Stadium.
Houston Dynamo vs. D.C. United
Date: May 12, 2012
Result: W 1-0
Recap: In the inaugural match at BBVA Compass Stadium, the Dynamo and D.C. United looked destined for a draw before Brad Davis’ 67th-minute goal brought the crowd to its feet and gave the Dynamo three points few will ever forget.
On Saturday, the Dynamo announced that the first five home games of 2013 are now sale to the general public. The first five games of the season represent some of the most important for the Dynamo, as they look to reassert themselves as a contender in the Eastern Conference.
The other important note about those games is that the Dynamo enter the 2013 season with a 30-game home unbeaten streak in all competitions. Real Salt Lake currently holds the all-time record with a 34-game unbeaten streak at home. If Houston gets through the first five games without a loss, they will pass RSL for the all-time record.
So who does Houston play in its first five games this year? Let’s take a look.
Game 1: Dynamo vs. D.C. United March 2 - 7 p.m.
The 2013 season opener is a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference championship series. Houston has never lost to D.C. United at home, entering this year’s opener with a 7-0-1 home record in the regular season, with a +13 goal differential.
United is once again led by former Dynamo midfielder Dwayne De Rosario (pictured, right), who was part of the Canadian squad that tied the United States 0-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium on January 29.
Game 2: Dynamo vs. Santos Laguna March 5 – 7 p.m.
The Dynamo clinched a berth in the 2012-13 CCL quarterfinal round with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Olimpia at home last October. As a reward for finishing first in the group, the Dynamo earned a date with Mexican club Santos Laguna, the 2011-12 CCL runner-up.
Santos brings a loaded squad to BBVA Compass Stadium including U.S. men’s national team forward Herculez Gomez (pictured, right), Mexican national team striker Oribe Peralta and former Mexican national team goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez. Entering the weekend, Santos is 2-1-2 in league play and sits in sixth place in LigaMX.
Game 3: Dynamo vs. Vancouver Whitecaps March 23 – 7:30 p.m.
The Dynamo will welcome the Vancouver Whitecaps to BBVA Compass Stadium for the first time this year, when the two squads square off on March 23. Both squads finished as the fifth seed in their respective conferences in 2012, but took very different paths once the playoffs began. The Dynamo defeated the Chicago Fire in the Wild Card round while the Whitecaps fell 2-1 to eventual champion LA Galaxy.
The Whitecaps will come to a Houston with a slew attacking talent including top draft picks Omar Salgado (No. 1 in 2011 SuperDraft), Darren Mattocks (pictured, right) (No. 2 in 2012 SuperDraft) and Kekuta Manneh (No. 4 in 2013 SuperDraft).
Game 4: Dynamo vs. San Jose Earthquakes March 30 – 7:30 p.m.
The Earthquakes took the league by storm in 2012, running away with the Supporters’ Shield and scoring a league-best 72 goals. San Jose is led by former Dynamo striker Chris Wondolowski, who has 65 goals in the past three seasons, including a record-tying 27 in 2012.
This will be San Jose’s first trip to BBVA Compass Stadium. The two sides met at AT&T Park last year with the Dynamo winning the match 1-0 on a Brad Davis penalty kick.
Game 5: Dynamo vs. Chicago Fire April 14 – 4 p.m.
Few teams were more active in the offseason than the Chicago Fire. Frank Klopas’ club brings back the core of a squad that finished 2012 fourth in the Eastern Conference, but added midfielders Dilly Duka (trade from Columbus) and Jeff Larentowicz (trade from Colorado) and forward Maicon Santos (Re-Entry Draft). With a full year of midfielder Chris Rolfe (pictured, right), you can expect the Fire to be a contender in the East once again.
The Dynamo are 3-2-3 all-time against the Fire in Houston, including two draws in their two home matches in 2012.
On Wednesday, the Houston Dynamo announced the full schedule for the 2013 regular season. Although this will be the Dynamo's second season at BBVA Compass Stadium, it's the first season in which Houston can play home games starting in March. Last year's home schedule did not start until May 12, and as a result, there were a lot of Houston home games in a short period of time.
Here are some key takeaways from the 2013 Dynamo schedule:
As previously announced, the Dynamo will open the season at home against D.C. United on Saturday, March 2. The re-match of last year's Eastern Conference Championship will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network beginning at 7 p.m. CT.
Similar to last year, the Dynamo and FC Dallas will square off only once in 2013. That match will take place on Sunday, March 17 as part of Major League Soccer's Rivalry Week. Since last year's match was played at BBVA Compass Stadium, this year's match will be played at FC Dallas Stadium. The winner of the match will take home El Capitan, a Civil War-era mountain howitzer.
The Dynamo and Sporting KC have played each other in each of the past two playoffs. In 2011, the Dynamo knocked off Sporting in the Eastern Conference Championship. In 2012, Houston defeated SKC in the Eastern Conference semifinals. In total, the two teams have played each other nine times in all competitions over the past two years. This year, the two squads will meet an additional three times, with the May 12 home match to be broadcast nationally on ESPN and the May 26 road match to be broadcast on NBC Sports Network.
Speaking of national broadcasts, the Dynamo will play on national TV 13 times in 2013. They will play three times on ESPN2, once on ESPN, three times on NBC Sports Network, once on NBC and five times in Spanish on UniMás.
Potential Road Trips?
The fun part of the schedule announcement is the chance to figure out which games Dynamo fans will be able to travel to. You can expect a large contingent will make the trek up I-45 for the Texas Derby on March 17. Chicago (Sept. 1) and Sporting KC (May 26) are also drivable for those fans wanting to see their club on the road. If you want to see the LA Galaxy this year, you will have to make the trek to California, as the two-time defending MLS Cup champions do not come to Houston in 2013 (at least not during the regular season).
In 2012, the Dynamo had five home games on weeknights and 12 on weekends. In 2013, the Dynamo will have only one weeknight game, with the remaining 16 MLS home games to be played on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. The lone weeknight game is Wednesday, Oct. 9 against Sporting KC.
So what do you think Dynamo fans? Do you like the schedule? Which match are you circling on your calendar?