Dynamo a dynasty?
By Joey Sabet
In the second to last game of the regular season, the Houston Dynamo clinched a spot in the postseason. After Sunday, for the second straight year, they will play in the last game of the MLS season.
This time, they’re looking for a different outcome.
A thoroughly sensational postseason continued Sunday afternoon at a raucous RFK Stadium in Southeast Washington D.C., and the Dynamo coolly collected the opening goal to keep the pressure squarely on the D.C. United. Despite conceding an equalizing tally late, the hole of a two-goal deficit was too much for D.C. to overcome, and the Dynamo advanced to the MLS Cup Final on the strength of a 4-2 aggregate win.
Again it was Oscar Boniek Garcia providing the fireworks; the Honduran international joined Houston as Designated Player in June, and made an immediate impact offensively that continued through Sunday. Garcia, demonstrating his nose for goal, cut through the United defense and roofed a Brad Davis cross over D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid in the 33rd minute, keeping the pressure squarely off Houston, and it withstood a late barrage on net from United to earn the tie for the game, maintaining the two goal advantage it built the previous Sunday at BBVA Compass.
It was a special goal on a special day for Garcia; it was his daughter’s birthday and during the postgame celebration ceremony Garcia was sporting a shirt with a special birthday wish for his daughter.
With that result, a familiar foe is looming: the Los Angeles Galaxy. LA faced similar circumstances that the Dynamo stared down entering the playoffs; both had to win an elimination game to make the quarterfinals; both never had homefield advantage in the quarters and semis; both were considered long shots to play for a title.
Unfortunately for the Dynamo, again the game will be played at Home Depot Center, the site of last year’s 1-0 defeat in the final, with Landon Donovan providing the deciding goal in the 72nd minute.
However it is a much different Dynamo side; last year they pushed the Galaxy to the brink without the benefit of Davis, Ricardo Clark, and the aforementioned Boniek Garcia. Both teams are playing at their peak, and both are battle tested, so neither will shy from the stage; LA is appearing in an MLS-record eighth MLS Cup, while Houston is in its fourth final in the seven year history of the club.
It’s a paradoxical final – two teams so similar in circumstance and yet so different in identity: the star power of the Galaxy against the methodical, efficient precision of the Dynamo.
One thing is for certain – we will have a winner on December 1st, and the champion with lay claim to a well-deserved crown.