HOUSTON – In the midst of the excitement of an impending playoffs and a new stadium progressing at light speed, the Houston Dynamo’s final home regular-season home game at Robertson Stadium is upon them.
And it’s a home that, while not the most modern of abodes, is the place where the Dynamo established their franchise as a permanent part of the Houston sports landscape.
“[Leaving’s] always bittersweet because there’s been some great memories [at Robertson] for the fans and everyone involved,” said defender Eddie Robinson, who came with the club to Houston from San Jose. “Any game against Pachuca and all our home playoff games, except the one against New York [Red Bulls], stick out as great moments.”
The great moments have come with challenges. Robinson talked about the challenge of playing on a “field of sand” in the playoffs because of overuse of the field in the fall and being shuttled around because of college football games.
Still, Robertson has seen some truly magical moments starting with Houston’s first game in their then-new home.
“Our first game where we didn’t know what to expect and coming into a packed house and the game going the way it did is something I’ll never forget it,” said Brian Ching who scored four goals in a 5-2 win over the Colorado Rapids in front of more than 25,000 fans on April 2, 2006. “Seeing Robertson turn orange that first day was awesome.”
Since then the Dynamo have won two MLS Cups and played six playoff games in the stadium, winning five. And the old home has come alive for the Dynamo when they've needed it most.
“My favorite game here was the playoff game in 2007 against Kansas City, because from minute one to minute 90 and beyond everything was great that night,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said of the 2-0 Western Conference Championship win in front of 30,972 fans. “Everyone was in orange and it was the best atmosphere. For me, and I’ve been in some great atmospheres, that crowd was the best atmosphere ever in MLS.”
Of course, there could be more postseason memories to come. The Dynamo have already booked passage into the playoffs and could host either a wild card match or one of the games in the conference semifinals.
“With the playoffs coming,” Robinson said, “there’s another chance for us to make one or two more good memories.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.