2011 Club by Club
New England Revolution
New York Red Bulls
Real Salt Lake
San Jose Earthquakes
Sporting Kansas City
The Houston Dynamo weren’t meant to be in rebuilding year, but they instead claimed their third conference title and an appearance in the MLS Cup final.
Houston finished strong and their record of 12-9-13 was good enough for second place in the regular season standings in the eastern conference.
Along the way to their fantastic finish, Houston went through some tough times as well, including an 11-game stretch between May and July that saw them win just one game. But the Dynamo were sparked by both key summer acquisitions (Adam Moffat, Carlo Costly and Luiz Camargo) and a shift in the lineup, which saw them go undefeated in nine of their last 10 games – the only loss a 1-0 defeat to the LA Galaxy in the final.
While Houston can lean on their MLS Cup appearance as proof of a great season, they also answered a lot of questions in regards to their lineup going forward. Geoff Cameron has found a home at center back and led a dominant late-season defense. Brad Davis had a banner year and the team found a young group of players that could keep the Dynamo on top for years to come.
One of the most electric moment of the year came when first-year Home Grown player Alex Dixon hit a sterling strike in stoppage time to pull out one of the most dramatic victories in franchise history on Aug. 20. Dixon cut in on his left and laced a shot to the far post to beat Nick Rimando as the clock expired to give Houston a 3-2 win over Real Salt Lake, sending Dynamo fans, players and coaches into a frenzy.
Houston was also introduced to the so-called "Adam Bomb" in 2011, as Moffat showed off his long-range ability against his former team, the Portland Timbers, on Aug. 14. Moffat gathered a deflected set piece and crushed a knuckling 38-yard bomb to the upper 90 for the Dynamo’s first goal of the night. The Scotsman’s strike began a cult following and was a candidate for MLS Goal of the Year.
Tally Hall’s reputation as an elite shot-stopper started in Week 2 against the Seattle Sounders when the native Washingtonian made a reaction save on an O’Brian White header. The Sounders were bombarding the Dynamo, forcing Hall to make six stops. His snap reaction on White was a sign of things to come for the first-year starter, who is garnering national team attention. Hall had a great season in goal, and helped led the Houston defense to a strong showing in the playoffs.
Simply put, Brad Davis was the engine to the Dynamo’s 2011 season. The MLS MVP runner-up notched 16 assists and four goals, outstanding numbers, but his biggest influence was as a leader. He filled in at captain when Brian Ching went down and was a standard-setter for the Dynamo in regards to work ethic and consistency.
Scottish midfielder Moffat was a revelation for Houston. After languishing in Portland, he took the bull by the horns with the Dynamo, staking claim to the defensive midfield spot after arriving in July 21. His tough play restored the midfield bite and he showed underrated passing and possession ability to propel Houston so close to MLS Cup glory.