Countdown to Opening Day: 3 Days -- Three road celebrations on way to 2012 MLS Cup final

With the Dynamo set to begin the 2013 season in just 3 days – against D.C. United at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday, 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 thoughts on the subjects, post them in the comment section below.

Today, we continue with #3:

The Dynamo orchestrated a historic run to the MLS Cup final a year ago, becoming the first team in league history to advance to the Cup final with the last game of three consecutive preliminary playoff rounds on the road. While they didn't win all three road playoff games on their way to L.A., they did enough in each of the three road games to win each series. Now, the MLS Cup playoffs have only featured three rounds of playoffs in advance of the Cup final since 2011, so the history with three preliminary rounds is very brief. Still, the list of teams to advance to the Cup final with the deciding game of each round coming on the road is brief.

In 2009, Real Salt Lake reached the MLS Cup final (and won it) with road victories at Columbus and at Chicago. The 2008 New York Red Bulls reached the final with road wins at Houston and Real Salt Lake, before falling to Columbus. In 2005, the LA Galaxy reached the final (and won) with road victories at San Jose and Colorado.

The Dynamo followed those three clubs and added a third road celebration for good measure. Here is a brief look at the three road triumphs: 

Houston began its run in Chicago on Halloween Night and earned a 2-1 road win, its first road victory since July 28 at Toronto. Will Bruin scored two goals in his first career playoff start and Houston's win was reminiscent of a 2-1 win at Philadelphia in the 2011 Eastern Conference semifinals that also began a journey to the Cup final.

In the first leg 2012 Eastern Conference semifinals, the Dynamo secured a vital 2-0 home victory over No. 1 seed Sporting Kansas City on beautiful goals from Adam Moffat and Bruin. The second goal from Bruin was the difference when Houston travelled to Kansas three days later. Under attack from Sporting KC for 90 minutes, the Dynamo conceded a late goal, but turned away Sporting's late charges for a memorable series win. For the second time in eight days, the Dynamo were celebrating a victory on their opponent's field.

The 2012 Eastern Conference Championship against D.C. United followed a similar script. The Dynamo rallied in the second half of the home leg for a 3-1 win on goals from Andre Hainault, Bruin and Kofi Sarkodie. In the second leg a week later at RFK Stadium, a goal from Boniek Garcia just before halftime widened the series lead to 4-1. A late goal from United made the final minutes interesting, but the Dynamo reached full time with a 4-2 series win, and for the third time in as many weeks, staged a celebration inside the enemy's stadium.

The 2012 Eastern Conference Championship rivals will reunite on Saturday in the opener of the 2013 season. The schedule makers further stoked the budding rivalry by pairing the Dynamo and D.C. United in the season finale on Oct. 27 at RFK Stadium. After a memorable playoff series a year ago, the regular season for both clubs will start and end against a familiar foe.


Return to the blog on Thursday for #2 on our Countdown to Opening Day.

Complete Countdown to Opening Day List

#4 - Dominic Kinnear is fourth on MLS all-time wins list

#5 - Dynamo have played in five conference championships in seven years

#6 - Only six coaches in American pro sports have longer tenure than Dominic Kinnear

#7 - Seven years of Orange memories

#8 - Dynamo among eight remaining teams in CONCACAF Champions League

#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