On Saturday, the Dynamo announced that the first five home games of 2013 are now sale to the general public. The first five games of the season represent some of the most important for the Dynamo, as they look to reassert themselves as a contender in the Eastern Conference.
The other important note about those games is that the Dynamo enter the 2013 season with a 30-game home unbeaten streak in all competitions. Real Salt Lake currently holds the all-time record with a 34-game unbeaten streak at home. If Houston gets through the first five games without a loss, they will pass RSL for the all-time record.
So who does Houston play in its first five games this year? Let’s take a look.
Game 1: Dynamo vs. D.C. United March 2 - 7 p.m.
The 2013 season opener is a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference championship series. Houston has never lost to D.C. United at home, entering this year’s opener with a 7-0-1 home record in the regular season, with a +13 goal differential.
United is once again led by former Dynamo midfielder Dwayne De Rosario (pictured, right), who was part of the Canadian squad that tied the United States 0-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium on January 29.
Game 2: Dynamo vs. Santos Laguna March 5 – 7 p.m.
The Dynamo clinched a berth in the 2012-13 CCL quarterfinal round with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Olimpia at home last October. As a reward for finishing first in the group, the Dynamo earned a date with Mexican club Santos Laguna, the 2011-12 CCL runner-up.
Santos brings a loaded squad to BBVA Compass Stadium including U.S. men’s national team forward Herculez Gomez (pictured, right), Mexican national team striker Oribe Peralta and former Mexican national team goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez. Entering the weekend, Santos is 2-1-2 in league play and sits in sixth place in LigaMX.
Game 3: Dynamo vs. Vancouver Whitecaps March 23 – 7:30 p.m.
The Dynamo will welcome the Vancouver Whitecaps to BBVA Compass Stadium for the first time this year, when the two squads square off on March 23. Both squads finished as the fifth seed in their respective conferences in 2012, but took very different paths once the playoffs began. The Dynamo defeated the Chicago Fire in the Wild Card round while the Whitecaps fell 2-1 to eventual champion LA Galaxy.
The Whitecaps will come to a Houston with a slew attacking talent including top draft picks Omar Salgado (No. 1 in 2011 SuperDraft), Darren Mattocks (pictured, right) (No. 2 in 2012 SuperDraft) and Kekuta Manneh (No. 4 in 2013 SuperDraft).
Game 4: Dynamo vs. San Jose Earthquakes March 30 – 7:30 p.m.
The Earthquakes took the league by storm in 2012, running away with the Supporters’ Shield and scoring a league-best 72 goals. San Jose is led by former Dynamo striker Chris Wondolowski, who has 65 goals in the past three seasons, including a record-tying 27 in 2012.
This will be San Jose’s first trip to BBVA Compass Stadium. The two sides met at AT&T Park last year with the Dynamo winning the match 1-0 on a Brad Davis penalty kick.
Game 5: Dynamo vs. Chicago Fire April 14 – 4 p.m.
Few teams were more active in the offseason than the Chicago Fire. Frank Klopas’ club brings back the core of a squad that finished 2012 fourth in the Eastern Conference, but added midfielders Dilly Duka (trade from Columbus) and Jeff Larentowicz (trade from Colorado) and forward Maicon Santos (Re-Entry Draft). With a full year of midfielder Chris Rolfe (pictured, right), you can expect the Fire to be a contender in the East once again.
The Dynamo are 3-2-3 all-time against the Fire in Houston, including two draws in their two home matches in 2012.