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Countdown to Opening Day: 7 days -- Seven years of orange memories

23 February 9:56 am

Countdown to Opening Day: 7 days -- Seven years of orange memories

By Matt Pedersen

With the Dynamo set to begin the 2013 season in just 7 days – against D.C. United at BBVA Compass Stadium on March 2 – we are counting down to kickoff with a Dynamo-centric countdown to Opening Day. See the bottom of this post for the complete countdown list.

Each day, we’ll post a description of what makes the number significant. If you have any thoughts on the subjects, post them in the comment section below.

Today, we continue with #7:

Just seven days from today, the Dynamo will open their eighth season in Houston when they host D.C. United at 7 p.m. in a rematch of the 2012 Eastern Conference Championship. In the grand scheme of things, seven years is a short time, but the Dynamo have done their part to accomplish a lot in that time and reward fans with wonderful memories. Today, we look back at some of the biggest accomplishments and brightest moments in Dynamo history.

April 2, 2006: The Dynamo introduce themselves to Houston with a 5-2 win over Colorado in the club's inaugural match before 25,462 at Robertson Stadium. Brian Ching scores four goals and Dwayne De Rosario assists on all four as both players become early fan favorites. Random fact: It was 82 degrees that day for the first Dynamo game in Houston in 2006. Care to guess the temperature on May 12, 2012, for the Dynamo's first game at BBVA Compass Stadium? 82 degrees.

November 5, 2006: The Dynamo beat the Colorado Rapids 3-1 in the Western Conference Final to advance to MLS Cup in their first season. After the Rapids jumped in front with a fourth-minute penalty, the Dynamo rallied behind two goals from Paul Dalglish before the 21st minute. Brian Mullan added a third goal in the second half and the Dynamo were on their way to Frisco. Random fact: Not only was temperature eerily similar in the 2006 and 2012 home openers, but the Dynamo's path to MLS Cup was also familiar. In 2006, the Dynamo's first home game was against Colorado, and they went on to beat the Rapids in the Western Conference Final to reach MLS Cup. In 2012, Houston's first game at BBVA Compass Stadium was against D.C. United, the same team they beat in the 2012 Eastern Conference Championship to reach MLS Cup.

November 12, 2006: In the home stadium of their new rivals, FC Dallas, the Dynamo captured the MLS Cup on penalty kicks, 4-3, over the New England Revolution after the game ended 1-1 after extra time. After a scoreless 90 minutes, the game went to extra time, where Taylor Twellman scored in the 113th minute. Less than a minute later, Brian Ching headed home the equalizer from a Brian Mullan cross. Houston's answer matched the quickest response to a goal in MLS Cup history after the 2003 San Jose Earthquakes followed a goal from the Chicago Fire with a quick equalizer, with Mullan once again the provider. In the shootout, goalkeeper Pat Onstad stopped Jay Heaps' penalty, and the Dynamo celebrated in front of a large traveling party.

November 2, 2007: After FC Dallas won 1-0 in the first leg of the Western Conference semifinals at Pizza Hut Park, Carlos Ruiz scored the opening goal in the second leg at Robertson Stadium for a 2-0 aggregate lead. The two-goal margin looked unbearable until the 66th minute, when Stuart Holden scored to cut the margin in half. Six minutes later, Brian Ching found the net to even the series. In extra time, Ching and Davis each scored and the Dynamo had a dramatic comeback win over their rivals to return to the Western Conference Final.

November 10, 2007: With over 30,000 fans inside Robertson Stadium, the Dynamo continued their November magic with a 2-0 win over Kansas City to advance to their second straight MLS Cup. Nate Jaqua headed the Dynamo into the lead in the 35th minute on a cross from Richard Mulrooney. Then, in the 81st minute, Craig Waibel set up Dwayne De Rosario, who made it 2-0 and the Dynamo were on their way to Washington for another MLS Cup Final.

November 18, 2007: A year after rallying to defeat the Revolution in the 2006 MLS Cup, the Dynamo fell behind again, with Taylor Twellman providing New England a 1-0 lead in the third minute on a cross from current Dynamo assistant coach Steve Ralston. Joseph Ngwenya delivered the equalizer in the 61st minute after Brian Mullan and Dwayne De Rosario combined to create the chance. 13 minutes later, the Dynamo found their cup-winning goal. Brad Davis bent in a cross from the right flank, and De Rosario drove a header from the top of the box into the net for a 2-1 lead. After some big saves late from Pat Onstad, the Dynamo lifted the trophy for the second straight year, with De Rosario crowned as MLS Cup MVP.

July 28, 2010: The Dynamo brought Manchester United to Houston for the 2010 MLS All-Star game and 70,728 fans packed Reliant Stadium for the historic day in Houston soccer history. The sellout crowd was among the largest in the history of All-Star games in the United States, in any sport. United defeated the MLS All-Stars, 5-2, but it was a proud day for Houston, with Brian Ching and former Dynamo star Dwayne De Rosario scoring the MLS goals (and Ching assisting on De Rosario's goal). United featured Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Edwin van der Sar, Danny Welbeck, Nani and of its latest signings, Javier Hernandez, who scored a late goal for the Red Devils.

November 3, 2011: In the final MLS game played at Robertson Stadium, the Dynamo offered fans another lasting memory. Brian Ching, the man who introduced Dynamo soccer to the stadium with four goals in 2006, scored the final goal at the stadium, a header from a Brad Davis free kick, and the Dynamo earned a 1-0 win for a 3-1 aggregate series triumph over the Philadelphia Union. A year after the Dynamo missed the playoffs for the first time, they were back, and on their way to their fourth conference final in six years. 

November 6, 2011: Three days later, the Dynamo shocked 20,839 fans within Livestrong Sporting Park with a 2-0 win over Sporting Kansas City in the Eastern Conference Final. Less than two months before, the Dynamo were thrashed in a 3-0 loss in the same building. But with the stakes raised, the Dynamo turned the tables to advance to their third MLS Cup in six years. Despite losing 2011 MLS MVP runner up Brad Davis to a quadriceps injury in the 39th minute, the Dynamo rallied in the second half for the win. Andre Hainault tapped in the opening goal in the 53rd minute on a play set up by Jermaine Taylor, who entered the game in place of Davis. Carlo Costly put the game away in the 87th minute with a cool finish off an excellent through ball from Luiz Camargo. After struggling on the road all season, the Dynamo had their second road playoff win in a week.

May 12, 2012: After a six-year wait, the Dynamo finally opened their own stadium in downtown Houston. After passing on opportunities that may have led to a stadium sooner, but outside of downtown Houston, the Dynamo were rewarded with a soccer jewel. After raising 2006 and 2007 MLS Cup championship banners and honoring past legends, the Dynamo defeated D.C. United on a 30-yard goal from Brad Davis that was a worthy opening to the $95-million stadium.

October 20, 2012: A brilliant counter attack goal began with a short roll from goalkeeper Tally Hall to Brad Davis, who found Brian Ching at midfield, who carried the ball 30 yards before passing to Boniek Garcia, and the Honduran completed the excellent break with a game-winning goal. The Dynamo defeated the Philadelphia Union, 3-1, to clinch a place in the playoffs and complete the fourth unbeaten home schedule in MLS history.

November 4, 2012: In the first playoff game at BBVA Compass Stadium, the Dynamo produced an encore performance against Sporting Kansas City a year after a knocking the top seed from the Eastern Conference playoffs. Adam Moffat delivered a lead in the 18th minute with a strike he later called the best goal of his life, turning a bouncing ball into a 30-yard laser goal and a 1-0 lead. Will Bruin offered the eventual series-winning goal in the 75th minute, using a cool, side-foot finish from the penalty spot on a ball from Calen Carr for a momentum-shifting 2-0 win.

November 11, 2012: Trailing 1-0 into the 51st minute with a difficult second leg looming at RFK Stadium, the Eastern Conference Championship turned on a quick free kick. Brad Davis played a short, forward pass to Boniek Garcia with United players still jogging into defensive position. Garcia carried the ball toward the near post before spotting an open Andre Hainault at the back edge of the six-yard box, where he fired home for the tying goal. Two more goals arrived over the next thirty minutes. First, Will Bruin bagged his fourth goal of the playoffs for a 2-1 lead after a great run from Giles Barnes. Next, Kofi Sarkodie completed a nice one-two movement with Luiz Camargo for his first professional goal and a decisive 3-1 win.

November 18, 2012: Five years to the date after hoisting their second MLS Cup, the Dynamo lifted their fourth conference championship trophy. A moment of magic between Brad Davis and goal scorer Boniek Garcia offered a 1-0 lead (4-1 aggregate series advantage) just before halftime. All D.C. United could muster in the second half was a late goal to make the final series score 4-2, as the Dynamo celebrated a fourth trip to the MLS Cup Final in the same stadium they captured their second Cup. In a memorable moment, the Dynamo players carried the trophy into the lower bowl of RFK stadium to celebrate with their traveling supporters.

This list is merely a few of the great moments in Dynamo history. What moments are missing? Share your favorites in the comments section below.

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Return to the blog on Sunday for #6 on our Countdown to Opening Day.

Complete Countdown to Opening Day List:

#8 - Dynamo among eight remaining teams in CONCACAF Champions League

#9 - Dynamo treat fans to nine-point week

#10 - Boniek Garcia improved Dynamo's goal difference by +10 after arrival

#11 - Dynamo set another club record with 11 home wins in 2012

#12 - Tally Hall sets club record with 12 shutouts in 2012

#13 - 13 different goal scorers in 2012

#14 - Dynamo win 14 regular season games in 2012

#15 - Brad Davis' career goals and assists vs. D.C. United 

#16 - Will Bruin sets franchise record with 16 goals in all competitions

#17 - Dynamo scored 17 goals in final 15 minutes of games in 2012

#18 - Dynamo have lost just 18 MLS home games in seven years

#19 - Dynamo finish 2012 with franchise best +19 home goal differential

#20 - Brad Davis' combined goals and assists in 2011 and 2012