In talking with Dynamo players and coaches after training on Monday, the word playoff was thrown around quite often. OK, maybe it was me asking them if Wednesday's match reminded them of a second leg of a playoff series, but since no one refuted the statement that counts, right?
Regardless, although the Dynamo are only one game into their MLS season, Wednesday's Champions League match against Santos Laguna is the type of situation the Dynamo have excelled in over the past seven years. Few coaches around Major League Soccer have been able to navigate a team through a home-and-away series better than Dominic Kinnear.
Since 2006, Kinnear and the Dynamo have participated in 12 home-and-away series. That stat includes the MLS Cup playoffs, CONCACAF Champions League and CONCACAF Champions' Cup. In those 12 series, the Dynamo have advanced eight times. Two of the four series losses came in the CONCACAF Champions Cup with a third coming in the Champions League and the fourth coming in the 2008 Western Conference semifinals.
In two of those eight wins, the Dynamo have closed out the series with a result on the road, something Houston will have to do on Wednesday if they want to remain alive in the 2012-13 Champions League.
|Dynamo in two-legged series (8-4 record all-time)|
|Year||Opponent||Leg 1||Leg 2||Competition|
|2006||vs. Chivas USA||L 2-1||W 2-0||Western Conference Semifinals|
|2007||vs. FC Dallas||L 1-0||W 4-1||Western Conference Semifinals|
|2007||vs. Puntarenas||L 1-0||W 2-0||CONCACAF Champions Cup Quarterfinals|
|2007||vs. Pachuca||W 2-0||L 5-2||CONCACAF Champions Cup Semifinals|
|2008||vs. Municipal||T 0-0||W 3-1||CONCACAF Champions Cup Quarterfinals|
|2008||vs. Saprissa||T 0-0||L 3-0||CONCACAF Champions Cup Semifinals|
|2008||vs. New York||T 1-1||L 3-0||Western Conference Semifinals|
|2008-09||vs. Atlante||T 1-1||L 3-0||CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals|
|2009||vs. Seattle||T 0-0||W 1-0||Western Conference Semifinals|
|2011||vs. Philadelphia||W 2-1||W 1-0||Eastern Conference Semifinals|
|2012||vs. Sporting KC||W 2-0||L 1-0||Eastern Conference Semifinals|
|2012||vs. D.C. United||W 3-1||T 1-1||Eastern Conference Finals|
|2012-13||vs. Santos Laguna||W 1-0||???||CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals|
A few months ago, when we first decided to commit to our digital platforms and provide more Dynamo coverage than ever to our fans, we made the decision to also use that same philosophy with regard to our gameday magazine. It was determined that our magazine, in the current form, was not reaching the audience that we desired and we were looking for new ways to engage our fans with the new content we were creating.
Thus sprang the idea of the digital gameday magazine. It's something that professional clubs around the world have had much success with and something that clubs have found to be an intricate part of their fans' gameday experience.
Ideally, we would have launched our first digital gameday magazine prior to the first match. Unfortunately, we underestimated the process of getting a magazine approved through Apple's Newsstand.
So after four rejections from the App Store, we are proud to announce that our first digital gameday magazine is now available for download for iPhone users. Moving forward, we hope to have each gameday magazine available for download at least 36 hours prior to each match. It will also be available on multiple platforms so fans who do not have an iPhone will be able to download and enjoy the content.
The first edition includes the following features, plus more:
We thank everyone for their patience and welcome their feedback on the first edition. Also, if you have content ideas that you would like to see in future editions please let us know in the comments section below.
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|