With the Dynamo set to begin the 2013 season in just 1 day – against D.C. United at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday – 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 thoughts on the subjects, post them in the comment section below.
Today, we conclude the countdown with #1:
By now, we have covered most of the big moments in the opening season at BBVA Compass Stadium. From the long-awaited opening last May to epic playoff wins over Sporting Kansas City and D.C. United in November, it was a magical first year at the downtown jewel. How do you match a debut season like that? The Dynamo will give it their best shot.
Here on the eve of the opening of the 2013 season, we feel a mixture of nostalgia for the incredible debut season at the new stadium with a sense of anticipation for what 2013 could bring. All 11 starters from the 2012 MLS Cup final return for the Dynamo in 2013 and the club will enjoy the benefit of beginning the season with Boniek Garcia and Ricardo Clark in camp, two key figures of the 2012 team who joined midseason. In addition, newcomers Omar Cummings and Andrew Driver will augment a Dynamo attack that produced a club-record 48 goals in 2012.
Here are some of the big dates for the new season:
March 2 vs. D.C. United: The Dynamo will raise four conference championship banners before facing United in a rematch of the 2012 Eastern Conference Championship.
March 5 vs. Santos Laguna (Champions League quarterfinals): For anyone inside BBVA Compass Stadium for the Dynamo-Valencia game last May or the Dynamo-Olimpia Champions League duel in October, they can attest that there is a different feel when an international opponent arrives in Houston. With a unique opponent to watch and vocal support of the visiting clubs from its fans, international games offer something different. On Tuesday the Dynamo and Santos Laguna will meet for the first time in a home-and-home quarterfinal series.
March 30 vs. San Jose Earthquakes: The Dynamo face the club from their original home in a meeting of the 2012 Supporters' Shield winners and MLS Cup finalists. There are also longtime friendships between the coaching staffs, including Dominic Kinnear and Frank Yallop, who shared the same bench in San Jose from 2001-03.
April 28 vs. Colorado Rapids: If the Dynamo win or tie their first four regular season home games of 2013, a win against the Rapids would set a new MLS record for the longest home unbeaten streak in league history, at 30 regular season games, surpassing Real Salt Lake's record (29 games).
May 12 vs. Sporting Kansas City: On the anniversary of the stadium opening, the Dynamo will meet their Eastern Conference rivals in a rematch of the 2012 Eastern Conference semifinals, when the Dynamo knocked out top-seed Sporting Kansas City for the second straight season.
August 17 vs. Seattle Sounders: The club that very easily could have been the Dynamo's opponent in the 2012 MLS Cup final, the Sounders visit BBVA Compass Stadium for the first time. In last year's Western Conference Championship, the Galaxy carried a 3-0 lead into the second leg in Seattle. The Sounders scored two early goals and were pressing for a series equalizer before a Galaxy penalty goal sealed the series win for LA. The Dynamo and Sounders met in the 2009 playoffs and Brian Ching scored a goal in the 96th minute of the second leg at Roberston Stadium for a 1-0 win after the clubs played 185 minutes over two legs without a goal.
October 9 vs. Sporting Kansas City: The Dynamo finish the 2013 schedule in the exact manner as 2012- with three home games before a finale on the road. This meeting with SKC is the middle game of the final three-game homestand and could be vital for both club's playoff position.
October 20 vs. New York Red Bulls: A year to the date of Houston's 3-1 win over Philadelphia that capped an unbeaten home season, the Dynamo will finish the 2013 home schedule against the Red Bulls with a season finale at D.C. United looming a week later.
*It was a lot of fun writing these posts every day as we celebrated Dynamo history over the past twenty days. I hope some of you learned a little bit about the club's history and its accomplishments over the first seven seasons. Here's to more memories in year eight!
Complete Countdown to Opening Day List