What to watch for in the next 200 games

This article appeared in the August 21, 2010 issue of the Houston Dynamo Gameday Magazine.

With the first 200 Dynamo games in all competitions in the books (see players' most memorable Dynamo games), it is time to take a look at what Houston fans can expect and root for in the next 200 games:

Dynamo Stadium
Well, duh. After years of haggling, all appears on track for the Dynamo to finally play in their own venue in 2012. Being the primary tenant should do the club a world of good, and hopefully the snazzy orange and black seats will be filled by rabid orange-clad fans.

Big Names
On the heels of the wildly successful MLS All-Star Game in Houston last month, managing partner AEG hinted that Houston fans might see a designated player or two wearing Dynamo colors once the new stadium opens. What player would be most beneficial to Houston remains the $400,000-plus question.

More Academy Products
The next 200 Dynamo games should take us to 2015 or so, which should give young players in the Dynamo Youth Development System a chance to mature into professionals. From current college players like Josue Soto, Alex Dixon, and Sebastien Ibeagha to younger prospects like brothers Bryan and Brandon Salazar, the future is bright for kids from the Houston area.

Youthful Production
If the 2010 season has taught us anything, it is that young guns of all ages can be productive in the Dynamo lineup. Tally Hall, Andrew Hainault, Geoff Cameron, and Danny Cruz are among Houston’s players 25 years or younger who could be around for the long haul.

Major Events
With a new stadium comes new possibilities in terms of hosting non-Dynamo events. The Dynamo’s downtown venue should host the MLS Cup championship game, another MLS All-Star Game, the NCAA College Cup (men’s and/or women’s), the U.S. national team (men’s or women’s), and much more.

Houston Residency
This may be a stretch to happen in the next five years, but the Dynamo Academy could become residential. The creation of Dynamo Juniors programs in markets throughout the South has provided an expansive base of talent, and the Houston Sports Park, set to open next year, is a step toward providing the field capabilities. Are dormitories next on the horizon?

More Silverware?
Championships must be won on the field, not via promises, but the Dynamo expect to be competing for championships – domestic and international – for the next 200 games and long after. Here’s to a few more MLS Cup trophies coming to Houston in the near future.

Emotional Goodbyes
All good things must come to an end, and the Dynamo will lose some of their veterans over the next 200 games. From the ageless wonder, Pat Onstad, to all-time leading scorer Brian Ching, some great players are likely to retire in Dynamo orange and will be well-celebrated when they do.

Major Opponents
Houston fans will see major clubs from Europe (a club from Spain is a safe bet) and even South America play against the Dynamo in Houston in the next five years. The downtown stadium should open up new revenue streams that allow games against international opponents to be far more feasible than in the current set-up.

Fernando Piña
Not to put too much pressure on one (16-year-old) pair of shoulders, but this emerging talent and Dynamo Academy product is on track to be the No. 1 goalkeeper for the United States at the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup. If he continues to progress, can a pro deal with the Dynamo be far behind?

Have Your Say
What do you want to see inscribed in Dynamo history over the next 200 games?
Comment on this article or direct message us on Twitter (@HoustonDynamo).