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29 October 4:42 pm

Numbers don't always tell the whole story, but here are a few that help paint a picture of the Dynamo's 2012 regular season:

0 Numbers of losses at home during the regular season
1 Numbers of players who were suspended for yellow card accumulation
1 Numbers of red cards issued to Dynamo players (all-time low)
5 Longest winless streak of season (happened twice)
5 Penalty kicks conceded
6 Number of players who made Dynamo debut in 2012
7 Penalty kicks won
8 Longest unbeaten streak of season (6/30-8/3)
12 Number of shutouts by Tally Hall (regular season record for Dynamo goalkeeper)
12 Number of goals by Will Bruin (most by Dynamo player since Brian Ching scored 13 in 2008)
12 Number of assists by Brad Davis (fourth consecutive year with 12+ assists)
13 Number of different goal scorers for the Dynamo
14 Number of regular season wins (one shy of team record)
48 Number of goal scored (all-time record)
53 Number of total points (all-time record)
55.93 Possession percentage (highest in the league)
81.53 Passing accuracy (second highest in the league)
88 Tally Hall's total saves
136 Number of corner kicks taken (fewest in the league)
149 Number of corner kicks conceded (sixth fewest in the league)
157 Number of shots on goal (eighth most in the league)
372 Number of fouls committed (third fewest in the league
377 Number of fouls suffered (third fewest in the league)

 

29 October 1:32 pm

MLSsoccer.com polled the ten managers in the playoffs to see if they preferred to play the home leg first or second or if it didn't matter. Of course, this only comes to play if you are fortunate enough to advance to the conference semifinals where it is a two-game aggregate goal series.

Here is what Dominic Kinnear had to say:

Dominic Kinnear (Houston Dynamo): "In my opinion I think it's always better to have the second game at home. I feel more comfortable having the second game at home. I think in both cases you know exactly what you need to do. I think having the fans on your side for the last 90 minutes is a plus."

Click here to see what the other nine playoff managers had to say as well as to vote in the MLSsoccer.com poll.

29 October 10:35 am

October 29 has been a successful date in Dynamo history. The men in orange have played two playoff games, winning one and tying the other. Let's take a look back at those two historic matches:

October 29, 2006 vs. Chivas USA

After falling to Chivas USA 2-1 in the first leg of their Western Conference semifinal series, the Dynamo had their backs against the wall, as they headed back to Robertson Stadium. The Dynamo and Chivas USA had battled four times during the regular season, with the two teams splitting the series with two draws and a win a piece.

Down a goal in the series, things turned in the Dynamo's favor in the second half. Eight minutes after Chivas midfielder Juan Francisco Palencia picked up a red card, Dwayne De Rosario was taken down in the penalty box and the Dynamo were awareded a penalty kick. Brad Davis stepped up the spot and chipped it over the out-stretched arm of future national team goalkeeper Brad Guzan. 

With the series apparently headed to overtime, Brian Ching out-jumped a Chivas defender to head home the winning goal to send Houston to its first Western Conference final.

October 29, 2009 at Seattle Sounders

After trading Dwayne De Rosario to Toronto FC in the off-season, the Dynamo rebounded well, finishing the regular season tied with the LA Galaxy atop the Western Conference. After losing the regular season series with LA, the Dynamo were the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, and squared off with expansion club Seattle Sounders in the conference semifinal.

As the No. 2 seed, the Dynamo went to Seattle for the first match, where the Sounders held an impressive 7-2-6 record during their inaugural season in MLS.

In a hard-fought battle, between two clubs that had met three times earlier that season, the Dynamo earned a 0-0 draw, putting them in a comfortable position heading into the return leg at Robertson Stadium. The closest either team came to scoring was in the 14th minute, when Seattle defender Pat Ianni headed a shot to the back post, and Houston midfielder Brian Mullan, guarding the post, leaped and cleared the ball off the line with a header.

The Dynamo defeated Seattle a week later at Robertson Stadium, setting up the infamous Western Conference final match with the LA Galaxy.

28 October 4:35 pm

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.
 

26 October 5:58 pm

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.

VISIT HOUSTON DYNAMO PLAYOFF CENTRAL

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.

26 October 2:24 pm

Getting in the Halloween mood? Check out these Dynamo stencil ideas for your pumpkins!

25 October 8:34 pm

Look back on a memorable first year at BBVA Compass Stadium. Here's to a few more games in 2012...

24 October 3:07 pm

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.
 

24 October 12:22 am

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.

23 October 3:53 pm

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.

VIEW COMPLETE CCL STANDINGS

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.