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22 February 3:16 am

With the Dynamo set to begin the 2013 season in just 8 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 comments on the subjects, post them in the comment section below.

Today, we continue with #8:

Today's choice for number 8 in our countdown to Opening Day was not easy. We could have selected the Dynamo's eight-game unbeaten streak in 2012, the club's longest since it was unbeaten in 11 straight in 2009. Or we could have highlighted Brad Davis' eight goals in 2012, a career-high for a player mostly known for gaudy assist totals. 

Instead, the focus today is the number of teams still standing in the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League: Eight. The Dynamo are one of the eight clubs remaining in the regional championship that began with 24 clubs last August. After winning Group 3 with a 1-1 draw against Olimpia of Honduras last October, the Dynamo advanced and are now approaching their quarterfinals assignment, Santos Laguna. The quarterfinal series is a two-leg aggregate series (same format as MLS Cup playoffs) beginning on March 5 when the Dynamo host Los Guerreros  at BBVA Compass Stadium. The second leg is on March 13 at Estadio Corona in Torreon, Mexico. The club with more total goals from the two games will advance to the semifinals. 

Santos is currently in seventh place in the Mexican League (2-3-2, 7 points) after finishing in ninth place in the fall season. Despite its current mediocre standing in LigaMX, Santos has been a force in the Champions League. The Torreon club fell to Monterrey, 3-2, in the Champions League final last May and will surely be motivated for another deep tournament run after outscoring its opponents 13-1 in the Group Stage last fall.

The quarterfinals features the following clubs: LA Galaxy, Seattle Sounders and Houston Dynamo (MLS); Monterrey (defending champions), Tigres UANL and Santos (Mexico); Herediano (Costa Rica) and Xelaju (Guatemala). If the Dynamo defeat Santos, they will advance to meet the winner of the Tigres UANL-Seattle Sounders series. On the other half of the bracket, the LA Galaxy will face Herediano and Monterrey will play Xelaju.

The Dynamo will try to advance to the semifinals for the third time after the club reached the final four in 2007, when it fell to Pachuca (Mexico), and 2008, when it was ousted by Saprissa (Costa Rica). 

With the March to Soccer down to its final eight days, the Dynamo are in the final stages of preparation for a busy 2013 campaign that will include the knockout rounds of the 2012-13 Champions League; the group stage of the 2013-14 Champions League (which they qualified for by advancing to the 2012 MLS Cup final); a 34-game MLS regular season and the U.S. Open Cup. If you're ready for soccer, there will be no shortage of games in 2013. As you contain your excitement for the March 2 MLS opener against D.C. United, don't forget about the sizzling Champions League home game with Santos Laguna just three days later. The Tuesday night meeting promises to offer one of the best atmospheres yet at BBVA Compass Stadium.   

BUY TICKETS FOR MARCH 5 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUARTERFINAL VS. SANTOS LAGUNA

BUY TICKETS FOR MARCH 2 OPENING DAY: DYNAMO VS. D.C. UNITED

Return to the blog on Saturday for #7 on our Countdown to Opening Day.

Complete Countdown to Opening Day List:

#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

21 February 11:16 am

 

With the Dynamo set to begin the 2013 season in just 9 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 comments on the subjects, post them in the comment section below.

Today, we continue with #9:

Heading into a Sunday night meeting with D.C. United on July 15, 2012, the Dynamo needed to make a statement on the field. After consecutive scoreless draws against Sporting Kansas City and Chicago, the Dynamo stood at 6-5-7 on the season entering a crucial three-game homestand against Eastern Conference contenders. The homestand was ultra-rare: Three games in seven days, against D.C. United (second place), Sporting Kansas City (first place) and Montreal (defeated the Dynamo 4-2 on June 23). 

With the team in need of results on the field, the front office made a bold statement away from it, declaring "3 Games, 7 days, 9 Points" as the homestand mantra. The Dynamo backed up the bold proclamation, securing three wins and a rare nine point week.

Houston opened the week with a 4-0 drubbing of D.C. United, capitalizing after the visitors lost goalkeeper Bill Hamid to a red card when he took down Macoumba Kandji in the penalty area. Four players - Brad Davis, Will Bruin, Boniek Garcia and Brian Ching - each scored as the Dynamo set the tone for a big week with their most lopsided win of the season.

Three days later, the Dynamo met Sporting Kansas City for the second time in 11 days. The clubs had played to a 0-0 draw on July 7, with a game time temperature of 105 degrees in Kansas. The rematch, in Houston, turned on a red card to Sporting KC midfielder Peterson Joseph moments before halftime. His reckless challenge on Calen Carr left Sporting KC with ten men for the second half, and the Dynamo won 2-1 behind Carr's two-goal performance. 

With two wins in the bag, a third seemed very possible with the Impact coming to town. After beating the top two teams in the Eastern Conference in a four day span, the expansion club from Quebec seemed like an easier assignment. Macoumba Kandji delivered an early lead in the seventh minute, and late goals from Bobby Boswell and Kandji's second of the night sealed a 3-0 win.

The mission was complete. The Dynamo had accomplished a nine-point homestand in resounding fashion, outscoring opponents 9-1. In a season full of memories in the first year at BBVA Compass Stadium, the week of July 15-21 stands among the best. 

Return to the blog on Friday for number 8 on our countdown to Opening Day.

BUY TICKETS FOR MARCH 2 OPENING DAY: DYNAMO VS. D.C. UNITED

Complete Countdown to Opening Day List:

#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

21 February 9:26 am

A huge thank you to the Vancouver Whitecaps who were able to cut a highlight package from yesterday's match at the Carolina Challenge Cup. Will Bruin and Adam Moffat scored second-half goals to lead the Dynamo to a 2-1 victory over the Whitecaps.

20 February 11:51 pm

Wednesday afternoon, the Dynamo announced the acquisition of English midfielder Andrew Driver on loan from Scottish club Heart of Midlothian. The versatile midfielder appeared in more than 150 games for Heart and was part of the club that won the 2012 Scottish FA Cup.

In his first interview as a member of the Dynamo, Drive spoke with Glenn Davis during Wednesday night's edition of Soccer Matters on ESPN 97.5 FM.

20 February 11:35 pm

Following tonight's results in Charleston, the Dynamo are now tied for second place in the Carolina Challenge Cup. Houston defeated Vancouver 2-1 behind second half goals from Will Bruin and Adam Moffat and the Chicago Fire defeated the Charleston Battery 2-1 behind a stoppage-time goal from Alex.

The Dynamo still have an outside chance of winning the preseason tournament, but they will need help from the Whitecaps in Saturday's finales. Here are the updated standings.

Current Standings
Team Games Played Points GF GA
Chicago Fire 2 6 5 3
Houston Dynamo 2 3 4 4
Vancouver Whitecaps 2 3 4 4
Charleston Battery 2 0 3 5

The Dynamo will conclude the Challenge Cup Saturday at 6:15 p.m. CT against USL Pro club Charleston Battery. Prior to that match, the Whitecaps and Fire will square off in their Charleston finale. For the Dynamo to win the tournament for the third time, they will need to defeat the Battery, the Whitecaps need to defeat the Fire and the Dynamo need to finish with a better goal differential than both Chicago and Vancouver.

All matches will be streamed on USLnation.com.

20 February 7:28 pm

Rusk Elementary School, a school in Houston's East End that has been adopted by the Houston Dynamo, saw the latest addition to its library arrive on Wednesday.

Last year, the Houston Dynamo donated the funds to upgrade the nook in the library as part of the Building a Better Mind program, presented by BBVA Compass.

On Wednesday, the nook saw the addition of a new area rug. The rug was donated by The Oriental Rug Gallery and Room ReDo Interior Design.

The Houston Dynamo would like to thank all of our partners as we continue to help the youth in our community and build a better Houston.

20 February 1:41 pm

The Houston Dynamo announced today the signing of Andrew Driver, an English-born midfielder who has represented both England and Scotland at the youth national team level. Let's take a look back at the key moments in Driver's career:

November 22, 2002

As a 15-year-old, Driver scored a goal for the Scottish U-16s in a 2-1 Victory Shield defeat over England. The Victory Shield is an annual football tournament competed for by the under-16 teams of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

August 25, 2006

Made his home debut and scored an 80th minute goal in a 401 win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the Scottish Premier League

January 6, 2007

Made his Scottish FA Cup debut at age 20 in a 4-0 win over Stranraer

April 29, 2007

Scored the game-winning goal in a 3-1 win over Celtic in front of 60,000 fans at Celtic Park

July 2008

Driver signed five-year contract extension with Heart of Midlothian

June 22, 2009

Played for England U-21 squad against Germany at the 2009 UEFA European Union U-21 Football Championship

August 3, 2011

Returned from injury and scores goal in 4-0 win over Hungarian club Paks in Europa League qualifying round

May 19, 2012

Played 84 minutes in 5-1 win over Hibernian in the 2012 Scottish Cup Final

February 20, 2013

Acquired by Houston Dynamo on loan

 

20 February 10:50 am

 

With the Dynamo set to begin the 2013 season in just 10 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 comments on the subjects, post them in the comment section below.

Today, we continue with #10:

When Boniek Garcia joined the Dynamo from Olimpia of Honduras on June 27, the club was 5-5-5 after one of the worst defeats of the season, a 4-2 setback in Montreal on June 23. Garcia was expected to help the club, adding a dynamic attacking dimension to the midfield. But few could have envisioned the significant impact the Honduran would have on Houston's 2012 season, which ended at the MLS Cup final. 

From Garcia's debut on June 30 through the end of the season, the Dynamo had a +10 goal differential, with 28 goals scored and 18 goals allowed in 19 games. Before his arrival, the club had scored 20 goals and conceded 23, for a -3 goal difference. Granted, Houston's first seven games of the season were on the road, so the first 15 games of the year were under different circumstances than the final 19 with Garcia. Still, one cannot deny that the crafty midfielder was a major part of the Dynamo's summer surge, as the club went 9-4-6 with Garcia after the 5-5-5 start to the season. 

The Dynamo did not lose any of Garcia's first eight games with the club, going 5-0-3 beginning with his June 30 debut against Philadelphia. At the end of the season, Garcia was voted by his teammates as the Dynamo Players' Player of the Year, the ultimate sign of respect from teammates. It seemed like Garcia impacted every game he played, and he played 90 minutes in all 17 regular season appearances, and 90 minutes in all six playoff games. Below are some of Garcia's stand out performances from his debut season in orange.

DATE OPPONENT SCORE NOTE
6/30 Philadelphia W, 2-1 After just two days of training with the club, assists on Brad Davis' opening goal just 19 minutes into debut
7/15 D.C. United W, 4-0 Assists on Will Bruin's goal and then scores his first goal with Houston, which he declares the first header goal of his career
7/28 @ Toronto FC W, 2-0 Combines with Davis to setup Brian Ching's late goal, sealing first road win since March as unbeaten streak reaches seven games
8/19 Columbus T, 2-2 Continues blossoming partnership with Davis, assisting on his goal in 19th minute
8/25 Toronto FC T, 1-1 Garcia is provider on Bruin's goal, marking fifth assist in 11 games with Houston 
9/14 @ Sporting KC T, 1-1 Garcia sets up Davis' second half goal as partners team up again
9/23 @ Philadelphia L, 3-1 Honduran provides first half equalizer with rocket off far post
9/29 New England W, 2-0 Garcia seals big win with stoppage time volley goal, followed by memorable knee-slide celebration in corner
10/20 Philadelphia W, 3-1 On night Eastern Conference playoff field is settled, Garcia's provides game-winning goal in 71st minute, followed by a two-fist celebration through raining streamers

Return to the blog on Thursday for number 9 on our countdown to Opening Day.

BUY TICKETS FOR MARCH 2 OPENING DAY: DYNAMO VS. D.C. UNITED

Complete Countdown to Opening Day List:

#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