Reading Jonathan Kaplan’s story “I Remember When ….” inspired me to reflect on this past year. After some thought, I came up with a list of my top 12 Dynamo memories from 2012. Here they are, counting down from No. 12 to No. 1:
12 – Open Practice at BBVA Compass Stadium on May 5
This was the first time the gates opened and fans got to see the inside of the new stadium. To see the smile on everyone’s faces as they walked through was a great moment and personally rewarding after all of the hard work that went into making the stadium a reality.
11 – Geoff Cameron Transfer to the Stoke City FC
The long and drawn out saga ended successfully for everyone. Geoff got his wish to go play in Europe; Stoke got a fine player, and we received a valuable transfer fee that will positively impact the team’s future. This dominated much of my time this summer and ended up being a very successful move for the club.
10 – Summer Signings: Boniek Garcia, Ricardo Clark and Giles Barnes
Other teams got the headlines when it came to their summer transfers, but in my opinion, no one had a better overall summer signing period than we did. Boniek Garcia, Ricardo Clark, and Giles Barnes all joined the club during the window. All three were key contributors to our success in 2012 and are expected to be a big part of our team’s future.
9 – Brian Ching Returns
In my mind, he never really left, but we had some work to do to officially get Brian Ching back from Montreal. This wasn’t a pleasant situation and consumed a great deal of time, but it ended happily with Brian making his return to the club in February. I can’t imagine opening BBVA Compass Stadium without him there as a member of the Dynamo.
8 – Summer Streak
Our season turned around in mid-summer when we went on a great streak. A 2-1 win over Philadelphia on June 30 started a streak where we went 6-0-2 and climbed to first place in the Eastern Conference. During this streak, we outscored opponents 15-2 and had six shutouts. Within this streak, we won three games at home in seven days, topping DC, KC, and Montreal.
7 – Snatching Victory at Chicago to Start Playoff Run on October 31
There was little hype and little expectation going into this game as we were the No. 5 seed playing on the road on a chilly Halloween night. But after two Will Bruin goals, we emerged as victors from this knockout match and started our memorable playoff run to the Cup.
6 – Clinching Playoff Result at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City on November 7
We lost the game 1-0 but won the aggregate series, 2-1. I remember thinking, “we got our butts kicked but teams with lesser heart would have collapsed and lost.” This team proved it had the heart to withstand a dire situation and get a result. This was a very satisfying moment - being proud of the team and knowing that we would advance to host one more game at BBVA Compass Stadium.
5 – Eastern Conference Championship at RFK Stadium on November 18
The 3-1 lead going into the game seemed safe, but we knew that anything could happen. The team played a great game, did the job, and got the result we needed to get back to the MLS Cup. Celebrating on the field at RFK was a very memorable moment.
4 – Playoff Victory Over Sporting KC at BBVA Compass Stadium on November 4
When I think about this game, I think about the huge crowd, the electricity in the stadium, Eddie Robinson firing the cannon, Adam Moffat’s goal, Will Bruin’s goal, and the happiness we all felt afterwards. The first playoff game at BBVA Compass Stadium lived up to its expectation.
3 – Playoff Victory Over D.C. United at BBVA Compass Stadium on November 11
It was a great game, a great crowd, and a great way to close out the 2012 season at BBVA Compass Stadium. The two-goal win set up a huge advantage going to DC for the second leg of the Conference Championship series and it completed an undefeated season at home.
2 – MLS Cup Final at Home Depot Center on December 1
It wasn’t a happy memory, but it is a memory from 2012 that stands out and can’t be forgotten. After all, it was the Cup Final. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the ending we had hoped for, but the loss didn’t erase all of the wonderful accomplishments in 2012. Getting to the Cup is a massive achievement and doing it for back-to-back seasons and the fourth time in seven years is a big deal.
1 – Inaugural BBVA Compass Stadium Match vs. D.C. United on May 12
There were other moments that made me more excited and happy, such as the victories on this list, but nothing was more memorable and made me more proud than this day. Everything about it was perfect, including Davis’ wonder-goal to claim victory. It was an historic day all around.
There they are, my top 12 from 2012. What are your most memorable Dynamo moments?
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See you in 2013 …