Breaking down the streak: Most memorable moments of Houston Dynamo's 36-home unbeaten run
HOUSTON – The streak is over. After 36 games unbeaten at home in all competitions, 30 of which were in the MLS regular season, a team got the best of the Dynamo in Houston for the first time since June 18, 2011.
After breaking the streak with a 1-0 win, Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes was profuse in his admiration for Houston’s accomplishment. For the Dynamo, the run will be something the they can point as an indicator of their dominance in Houston, where they are 65-18-33 all-time.
“I know we are going to be asked about the streak, but that’s why they are records,” said Brad Davis. “They are hard to get.”
Looking back on the streak there were some close calls and some games that encapsulated just what the streak meant and how it came to be. Here are the moments that stick out in our minds:
Best win: Twenty-six of Houston’s 36 games unbeaten were wins, but the top victory was when Houston used a three-goal second half to take a 3-1 victory over D.C. United in the first leg of the 2012 Eastern Conference Championship to cap the fourth undefeated season at home.
Most dramatic finish: Alex Dixon’s goal vs. Real Salt Lake in August 2011 was a magical moment. The homegrown player out of Humble, Texas, scored seconds before the whistle in a game that looked destined for a tie. The goal and celebration were priceless.
Toughest test: The Columbus Crew gave Houston everything they wanted, or didn’t, in an August midweek battle last summer and had the Dynamo on the ropes with 2-1 lead heading into the final eight minutes. Adam Moffat came to the rescue by hitting a left-footed shot that the sure-handed Andy Gruenebaum couldn’t handle. It was Houston’s best escape during the streak and the draw also helped them finish just one point ahead of the Crew for the final playoff spot in the East.
Hottest game: The pageantry of Houston’s home opener at BBVA Compass Stadium last year, a 1-0 win over D.C. United, was something to remember. So was the heat. Playing a day game in mid-May, Houston and D.C. felt the burden of the high temperatures in a game where both teams battled to keep their legs. It also spurred the motto, “Our heat, Our heart, Our home,” that hangs in the BBVA tunnel.
Best goal: Three weeks after being traded by the Portland Timbers for Mike Chabala and Lovel Palmer, Moffat crushed a 38-yard screamer to help give Houston a 2-1 win over his former team in 2011. It was the first of several “Moffat Bombs” unleashed in Houston.
Not a competition: While not in a competition, Houston lost twice at home during the streak, both times in what is now known as the BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup friendly match. With reserve-heavy lineups, Houston dropped a 2-0 result to Bolton in 2011 and a 2-1 decision to Valencia in 2012. Not official competitions, the losses didn’t disrupt the club’s competitive record run.
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.