Major League Soccer released its 2013 schedule Wednesday morning, providing the Houston Dynamo with a more clear look at the path they’ll have to conquer if Dominic Kinnear and company are to make a third straight trip to MLS Cup.
We broke down Houston’s 34-match slate and picked five dates that should already be circled on any Dynamo fan’s calendar.
Here they are – in chronological order:
March 2 vs D.C. United
If the league is actively trying to promote rivalries, they’re doing a heck of a job with Houston and United. Folks in D.C. are still smarting over Andre Hainault’s takedown of Raphael Augusto in the first leg of the Eastern Conference finals, and pitting these two against each other in another high-profile regular season affair (BBVA Compass Stadium opener last year) won’t help those memories fade any quicker. D.C. has never won in Houston, a well-known fact in United’s locker room.
March 17 at FC Dallas
The Texas Derby isn’t the premier rivalry in MLS, but it may be the most competitive. Only once in the last eleven meetings between Houston and Dallas have the two sides been separated by more than a single goal. This encounter will be the first MLS road match for the Dynamo, and - after last year’s rough run away from BBVA – a good start could go a long way.
May 5 at Los Angeles Galaxy
David Beckham won’t be there, and Landon Donovan may not be either – but an MLS Cup rematch is still an MLS Cup rematch. The Home Depot Center hasn’t been kind to Houston, and exercising some demons will be crucial ahead of the brutal summer months. Add the fact that the game falls on Cinco de Mayo and the viewing party at Lucky's becomes a can't-miss event.
May 26 at Sporting Kansas City
Eliminating a team from back to back postseasons will make them not like you, and it is clear that Kansas City and Houston have a budding rivalry. Sporting Head Coach Peter Vermes pointed to everything but the opposition (heat, field, refs, etc.) before finally crediting the Dynamo after his team fell in the first leg of last year’s Eastern Conference semifinals.
October 27 at D.C. United
The Dynamo celebrated their 2012 Eastern Conference championship on RFK’s aging field – and in front of D.C. United’s biggest crowd of the year. With playoff implications likely to be a factor for one - or both - teams going into the last match of the MLS regular season, expect this to be a heated affair.