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Houston Dynamo Games
Houston is the largest city by population in Texas, with over two million people in the metropolitan area. It makes sense that there is a massive market for sports in this city. In 2005, when Major League Soccer (MLS) began to expand its enterprise, Houston was an attractive location, with existing major leagues in other popular sports such as basketball, baseball, football and more. However, few people remember that Houston’s MLS team has a tight connection to San Jose.
When owners of the San Jose Earthquakes – Anschutz Entertainment Group – were granted permission by MLS Commissioner Don Garber to relocate the team in 2006, it was partly because of difficulty creating a soccer-specific stadium in San Jose. MLS Commissioner Don Garber reported that Houston was the next location on the horizon for soccer in America, due to interest of sponsors, investors and media. It was an inevitable development for MLS, but Anschutz Entertainment Group expedited that process by jumping on this opportunity. The San Jose franchise at the time – the players, coaches, and anyone with a contract – went to Houston. The San Jose Earthquakes quickly became the Dynamo, or the modern-day Houston Dynamo. Their nicknames include Orange Crush and La Naranja (“The Orange”).
Building a soccer-specific stadium was a top priority to build a foundation for the MLS in Houston. In 2010, plans were finalized for the BBVA Stadium – formerly BBVA Compass Stadium – in Downtown Houston. Ground broke in 2011, and it opened in 2012. 20,000 to 22,000 seats are at BBVA Stadium, which is typical for many MLS stadiums. The venue was designed to have unobstructed views in both seating bowls, which means that any ticket holder can see the action. Besides for Houston Dynamo, residents include the Houston Dash (National Women’s Soccer League) and Texas Southern Tigers (football).
In terms of team successes, Houston Dynamo has won two MLS Cups (2006, 2007) and one U.S. Open Cup (2018). Internationally, they competed in the 2008 North American SuperLiga. They were runners-up. One of their natural rivals is FC Dallas, the only other MLS team in the Lonestar State. Unlike Houston’s team, Dallas’ team was around from the start of the league. However, some fans believe that FC Dallas is not their biggest rival at this point in time. It could be Sporting Kansas City. Frequent competitors, the teams have had their fair share of close matches. Their rivalry is not one of geographic relationship but of skill and head-to-head battles.
Regardless, Houston Dynamo’s path as a team is a fascinating one. They started off unlike any other team in MLS, jumping from California to Texas. Soccer fans, sport devotees, and Houston lovers alike should follow Houston Dynamo to see what route the team will take next.