When the Houston Dynamo take the field on Wednesday in the Knockout Round playoff match, there will be a familiar face in the middle of the pitch. It was announced on Sunday, that Baldomero Toledo will be the center referee for the match against the Chicago Fire. Frank Anderson and Ian Anderson will patrol the sidelines, while Jorge Gonzalez will be the fourth official.
This will be the fifth Dynamo game of 2012 that Toledo has officiated. Houston is 0-1-3 in the previous four matches, including draws against the New England Revolution (5/19), Toronto FC (8/20) and Sporting Kansas City (9/14), and a loss to the Seattle Sounders (3/23).
In his career, Toledo has officiated 146 MLS games. He has averaged 25 fouls called per game and 3.4 yellow cards per game. Toledo has issued 48 red cards in his career and has given 52 penalty kicks.
In his four Dynamo games this season, Toledo has called two penalties against Houston, one in New England and one in Seattle.
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.
Getting in the Halloween mood? Check out these Dynamo stencil ideas for your pumpkins!
Look back on a memorable first year at BBVA Compass Stadium. Here's to a few more games in 2012...
BBVA Compass will host a one-hour live Q-and-A on Twitter with Brian Ching, who notched his 200th appearance with the Houston Dynamo in its 3-1 win last Saturday. Ching was introduced as the bank’s social media ambassador earlier this year to encourage fans to contribute to Building a Better Houston, BBVA Compass’ community-service initiative with the Dynamo.
DATE: Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012
TIME: 6-7 p.m. CT
WHERE: Fans can submit their questions via BBVA Compass’ Twitter handle @bbvacompass, using the hashtag #askching.
With the Houston Dynamo down a goal 64 minutes into Tuesday's CONCACAF Champions League match, there were any number of players on the field and bench that could have produced the necessary equalizer. It should be no surprise, though, that the equalizer came from Andre Hainault, a Canadian defender who has a knack for scoring big goals for the Dynamo. Let's take a look at some of his most important goals in Hainault's Dynamo career.
1. Houston Dynamo vs. Portland Timbers - 10/15/11
With the Dynamo's playoff fate in the balance, Houston went to the fortress of JELD-WEN Field and came away with a 2-0 victory. Hainault put the Dynamo on the board in the first half with a header off a Brad Davis corner kick. The win - and other results that weekend - clinched a playoff spot for Houston and helped kick start the Dynamo's run to the MLS Cup final.
2. Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City - 11/6/11
With a berth in the MLS Cup final on the line, the Dynamo traveled to LIVESTRONG Sporting Park to face the top seeded Sporting Kansas City. Although Houston lost team MVP Brad Davis in the first half to a quad injury, the Dynamo continued to fight, and took a 1-0 lead in 53rd minute. After goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen stopped Jermaine Taylor's initial attempt off an Adam Moffat free kick, Hainault was there to knock the loose ball into the net and punch the Dynamo's ticket to the MLS Cup final.
3. Houston Dynamo vs. Olimpia - 10/23/12
The Dynamo needed only a draw to win Group 3 and advance to the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals. But between Douglas Caetano's first half goal and and some questionable officiating, the Dynamo's chances of earning a point or more looked slim. That all changed in the 65th minute, when the Dynamo took advantage of one of their eight corner kicks on the evening. Nathan Sturgis curled a perfectly placed ball into the box and Hainault used his size advantage to redirect the ball past Olimpia goalkeeper Donis Escober, giving Houston a 1-1 tie and a berth in the quarterfinals.
4. Houston Dynamo vs. Philadelphia Union - 10/30/11
The Dynamo traveled to PPL Park for the first leg of a conference semifinal series with the Philadelphia Union. It did not take long for the visitors to prove they were a playoff contender, as Hainault's fifth-minute goal, set the tone for the match. Although Sebastien Le Toux leveled the match only minutes later, Calen Carr's goal in the 30th minute sealed the 2-1 win and brought home-field advantage back to Robertson Stadium.
5. Houston Dynamo vs. Chivas USA - 3/11/12
The Dynamo went 15 road games in 2011 without winning one. Hainault made sure that would not happen in 2012, scoring the decisive goal in a 1-0 win over Chivas USA in the season's opening match at The Home Depot Center.
If the Dynamo win or draw vs. Olimpia on Tuesday night, they will finish first in Group C and advance to the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions quarterfinals. The real fun begins next March, when the Dynamo play a home-and-home series with an opponent to be determined, for the right to advance to the semifinals.
Under CONCACAF regulations, the eight group winners will advance to the quarterfinals and will be paired based on their results in group play as follows:
1. Team 1 vs. Team 8
2. Team 2 vs. Team 7
3. Team 3 vs. Team 6
4. Team 4 vs. Team 5
The top four group winners with the best records will host the second leg in the quarterfinal stage. Should two or more group stage winners finish with the same number of points, tie-breakers will be used to determined the final eight seeds. Those tie-breakers are:
1. Best Goal Difference
2. Most Goals Scored
3. Most Goals Scored Away from home
4. Most Wins
5. Most Away Wins
6. Drawing of Lots
What does this all mean for the Dynamo? Currently, Houston has 7 points in their group and has a +6 goal differential. If the Dynamo win tonight, they will finish with 10 points. Only four group winners can finish with more than ten points, so depending on how the results go over the next three days, the final seeding could come down to goal differential. If the Dynamo can win and add on to their +6 goal differential, they will go into the quarterfinal stage in a better position.
To put this into perspective, if the CCL group stage ended now, the Dynamo would be seeded sixth, behind the four teams with 9 points and behind the LA Galaxy who also have 7 points but have a +7 goal differential. A lot can happen over the next three days, so we'll revisit this after Thursday night's matches.
Hopefully I didn't confuse you too much.
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