HOUSTON – The Dynamo waited 16 long years for a home to call their own. That wait is about to come to an end.
A franchise that has gone through meeting after meeting, navigated two political landscapes and moved cities will finally see their hard work and dreams realized Saturday when Houston open BBVA Compass Stadium against D.C. United (4:30 pm ET, NBC Sports Network, LIVE CHAT on MLSsoccer.com).
“It’s fantastic, it really is,” said Brad Davis, who along with Brian Ching is one of two players remaining from the move from San Jose. “It’s far exceeded my expectations. I know when we come in May 12, the fans are going to be extremely loud and it’s going to be a moment we’re not going to forget.”
Ching, Davis and Boswell on BBVA Compass Stadium
Houston left San Jose in 2005 when it became apparent that a stadium was not in the cards despite the club being one of the most successful in MLS history with two championships under the Earthquakes banner.
The club found a home in Houston, a city ready to welcome them with open arms, and secured the promise for a new stadium. The club quickly rewarded their new city and fans by reaching the pinnacle of MLS in each of their first two seasons in Houston.
Despite all that success, the club was still on the outside looking in regarding a stadium.
“In the beginning, nobody paid attention,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “In the beginning of it, you didn’t think about it, but the league has changed a lot. The reason we moved here was for a stadium and better facilities. Now when you see other ones and see Red Bull [Arena], Colorado’s and Salt Lake’s, you’re anticipating getting one yourself. The first year nobody thought about it, but over the years, you weren’t jealous but you felt a little bit left out.”
On Saturday, the club will no longer have that feeling as BBVA Compass Stadium hosts its first MLS match, introducing fans to the brand new jewel that was promised long ago. Even better, it’s one that meets the very profile of what a soccer stadium should be in regards to location, size and intimacy.
Houston face United NBC Sports Network
“One of the things Oliver [Luck, former Dynamo president] and Chris [Canetti, current Dynamo president] have harped on is they wanted it downtown,” Ching said. “If it was out in the suburbs, you lose a lot of your fanbase. They did it right, even though it took longer than many wanted it to.”
While it may have taken longer than anyone expected, BBVA Compass looks to be well worth the wait, as the stadium is already drawing rave reviews and promises to be the primary beacon for soccer in Houston.
And, of course, that beacon is saturated in Dynamo orange, just like the fans that will occupy it for the first time against D.C.
“It’s a pretty important game, not just for ourselves, but for MLS,” Davis said. “It’s a step in the right direction for where this league is going and growing and will become one day. But without a doubt, I’m more excited about this one than any other stadium opener.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.