Countdown to Opening Day: 8 days -- Dynamo among 8 remaining teams in Champions League quarterfinals

With the Dynamo set to begin the 2013 season in just 8 days – against D.C. United at BBVA Compass Stadium on March 2 – 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 comments on the subjects, post them in the comment section below.

Today, we continue with #8:

Today's choice for number 8 in our countdown to Opening Day was not easy. We could have selected the Dynamo's eight-game unbeaten streak in 2012, the club's longest since it was unbeaten in 11 straight in 2009. Or we could have highlighted Brad Davis' eight goals in 2012, a career-high for a player mostly known for gaudy assist totals. 

Instead, the focus today is the number of teams still standing in the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League: Eight. The Dynamo are one of the eight clubs remaining in the regional championship that began with 24 clubs last August. After winning Group 3 with a 1-1 draw against Olimpia of Honduras last October, the Dynamo advanced and are now approaching their quarterfinals assignment, Santos Laguna. The quarterfinal series is a two-leg aggregate series (same format as MLS Cup playoffs) beginning on March 5 when the Dynamo host Los Guerreros  at BBVA Compass Stadium. The second leg is on March 13 at Estadio Corona in Torreon, Mexico. The club with more total goals from the two games will advance to the semifinals. 

Santos is currently in seventh place in the Mexican League (2-3-2, 7 points) after finishing in ninth place in the fall season. Despite its current mediocre standing in LigaMX, Santos has been a force in the Champions League. The Torreon club fell to Monterrey, 3-2, in the Champions League final last May and will surely be motivated for another deep tournament run after outscoring its opponents 13-1 in the Group Stage last fall.

The quarterfinals features the following clubs: LA Galaxy, Seattle Sounders and Houston Dynamo (MLS); Monterrey (defending champions), Tigres UANL and Santos (Mexico); Herediano (Costa Rica) and Xelaju (Guatemala). If the Dynamo defeat Santos, they will advance to meet the winner of the Tigres UANL-Seattle Sounders series. On the other half of the bracket, the LA Galaxy will face Herediano and Monterrey will play Xelaju.

The Dynamo will try to advance to the semifinals for the third time after the club reached the final four in 2007, when it fell to Pachuca (Mexico), and 2008, when it was ousted by Saprissa (Costa Rica). 

With the March to Soccer down to its final eight days, the Dynamo are in the final stages of preparation for a busy 2013 campaign that will include the knockout rounds of the 2012-13 Champions League; the group stage of the 2013-14 Champions League (which they qualified for by advancing to the 2012 MLS Cup final); a 34-game MLS regular season and the U.S. Open Cup. If you're ready for soccer, there will be no shortage of games in 2013. As you contain your excitement for the March 2 MLS opener against D.C. United, don't forget about the sizzling Champions League home game with Santos Laguna just three days later. The Tuesday night meeting promises to offer one of the best atmospheres yet at BBVA Compass Stadium.   



Return to the blog on Saturday for #7 on our Countdown to Opening Day.

Complete Countdown to Opening Day List:

#9 - Dynamo treat fans to nine-point week

#10 - Boniek Garcia improved Dynamo's goal difference by +10 after arrival

#11 - Dynamo set another club record with 11 home wins in 2012

#12 - Tally Hall sets club record with 12 shutouts in 2012

#13 - 13 different goal scorers in 2012

#14 - Dynamo win 14 regular season games in 2012

#15 - Brad Davis' career goals and assists vs. D.C. United 

#16 - Will Bruin sets franchise record with 16 goals in all competitions

#17 - Dynamo scored 17 goals in final 15 minutes of games in 2012

#18 - Dynamo have lost just 18 MLS home games in seven years

#19 - Dynamo finish 2012 with franchise best +19 home goal differential

#20 - Brad Davis' combined goals and assists in 2011 and 2012