What a night it was last night for the city of Houston, the Houston Dynamo and the soccer fan! A night of nationalistic pride greeted fans at BBVA Compass Stadium in the form of a unique sporting event in Houston.
The Dynamo in the end accomplished the mission of advancing in the Concacaf Champions League to the quarterfinals after drawing 1-1 with Olimpia of Honduras a soccer club that is a mere 100 years old.
When I looked at the official lineup I saw a Dynamo squad that included a number of players who have not gotten alot of playing time as of late and wondered how cohesive the unit would be.
In the first half the squad had moments but struggled to create during the run of play and looked most dangerous off corners.
With twin strikers Brian Ching and Cam Weaver the squad did not get them the needed delivery.
After a free kick from Douglas Caetano caught Tyler Deric in goal for a 1-0 Olimpia lead and a sense of nervousness crept throughout the crowd as the Dynamo needed a draw or win to advance it this significant tournament.
In the second half the Dynamo would get the needed tying goal via a header from Andre Hainault off a Nathan Sturgis corner and the momentum changed and the Dynamo became the better team on a night of crazed refereeing from Juan Carlos Guerra of Guatemala.
A DIFFERENT VIBE:
The feeling was much different last night at BBVA Compass Stadium with the crowd split between fans of Olimpia in blue and Dynamo fans. It was a fantastic atmosphere with give n take from fans in a healthy, passionate way.
The like minded nature of the international game brought to rivals together and gave us something unique as sports fans.
This was much different from an MLS game and was a win win for the Dynamo as many of the Honduran fans could ultimately be won over to the MLS product!
Many times throughout the night I saw fans of both teams connecting in a positive way celebrating their game.
For the night we were in the larger picture of the international game and there was so much to be learned by all!
CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
My want is that this league becomes more important to the soccer fan in Houston.
For those that did not come last night you missed something special. You missed international competition of meaning between a team 100 years old and won only 6 years old.
The education of what the Concacaf Champions League is must continue and did not get any help from the mainstream media. For those who know what it is you must be the “influencers” in explaining to others.
I loved the nationalistic , Dynamo pride on hand and in some ways this was the U.S. v. Honduras, MLS vs. Honduran First Division.
Oh, the storyline of Oscar Boniek Garcia playing against his old team was never picked up in Houston. Simply a tragedy due to the fact that he has been such a revelation for the Dynamo and as an athlete in our city.
Little effort was made an in the general sports media to give reasons as to why this was an important night for MLS/Dynamo and the growth of the franchise.
Lets hope coverage gets better in the future and you can demand more as soccer
ANOTHER WORD ON OFFICATING
This poor officiation comes with the territory in Concacaf Champions League so to just dwell on this is a mistake. Focus on emotional control and how powerful that becomes in games like these.
The definition of a foul and officiating is at different levels in Concacaf and that is one of the predictable challenges in navigating the tournament.
The Dynamo deserve credit for remaining focused on the mission of advancing and did well in this category. In the end it contributed to a significant result and advancing to the quarter-finals.
They were excellent throughout the night and truly added to the atmosphere that was so much different from an MLS regular season games from the point of nationalism. I saw many scenes of great interaction between Olimpia and Dynamo fans.
Lets hope that some of the great Olimpia fans that reside in Houston now become Dynamo fans!!
KEY PLAYERS: Andre Hainault-stepped back in lineup and scored game winner.
Nathan Sturgis-solid and dependable at cb.
Tyler Deric-got caught on free kick but produced good covering play
in goal late. Mistake on free kick did not phase him.
JeVaughan Watson-off bench brought a positive energy.
A great result for the Dynamo and now as fans you have the opportunity to be involved with more Concacaf Champions League matches and international soccer!!
A night of positive all around and if you did not attend make plans to make it out to the next match!!