HOUSTON — With a win or draw on Sunday against the Chicago Fire (5 pm ET, UniMas) the Houston Dynamo will set the home unbeaten record by an MLS team in all competitions. During their 34-game streak, the Dynamo have treated their hometown faithful to a number of memorable moments. Here are four that stick out since they last lost at home on June 18, 2011.
1. November 11, 2012: Houston 3, D.C. United 1
The Dynamo capped their undefeated first season at BBVA Compass Stadium in style with a treat of a second half to clinch the first leg of the Eastern Conference Championship over D.C. United. After conceding a goal to Nick DeLeon early, and getting a bit of luck with Andre Hainault escaping a red card, Houston rallied back in the second half with three unanswered goals from Hainault, Will Bruin and Kofi Sarkodie to cap a perfect season in downtown Houston. The win propelled the Dynamo to a second straight MLS Cup appearance.
“It’s not about a streak or a number of games it’s about that moment and a lot of the postseason is about will and digging deep and that’s what we pride ourselves on having,” said Brad Davis. “We knew just because we’re down a goal it didn’t mean anything. We just had to rise to the occasion and this team did that.”
READ: Dynamo are being cautious with returns of Bruin and Boniek Garcia
2. August 20, 2011: Houston 3, Real Salt Lake 2
In the feel-good moment of the streak, the Dynamo looked destined to settle for a comeback draw against RSL. That was until Homegrown midfielder Alex Dixon stepped up. With nothing to lose, the youngster took his chance, lacing a left-footed strike from the top of the box to the far post and past a diving Nick Rimando. The goal whipped the team and fans into a memorable frenzy while clinching the comeback victory.
“I don’t think we were too worried about the streak then,” Davis said with a laugh. “Every young kid wants to have a moment like that, where you score a game winner and then the next kick the whistle blows. Obviously the emotions were running high getting that goal to win the game.”
3. June 20, 2012: Houston 3, Toronto FC 3
At no point did the streak look as shaky as it did at the half of this one. After possibly the worst 45 the club has played at home during the streak, the Dynamo were in a 3-1 hole courtesy of a Danny Koevermans brace that had the Reds primed to end Houston’s run. Enter Bruin. The sophomore sensation set a franchise record for total goals in a season with 16 in 2012 and his pair in the final 17 minutes, including a 90th-minute equalizer, made for one of the loudest crowd reactions that the new stadium has seen.
“That was maybe the most hyped-up I’ve been in a long time,” Bruin recalled. “That was one of those games that we had a feeling that we weren’t losing that game. We have that fight, we don’t give up and don’t stop playing until the final whistle and that game’s a perfect example of it.”
READ: Dynamo's Sarkodie no stranger to home unbeaten streaks
4. July 30, 2011: Houston 3, Seattle Sounders 1
A week after serving a suspension in the season’s worst loss, 3-0 at Chivas USA, Brian Ching notched a vital brace to push Houston over the top in a 3-1 victory over the Sounders. Ching served a suspension for a red card given two weeks before, which he got for kicking out at Aurélien Collin. The captain’s return led to a win that spurred a 7-3-4 finish to the season, a second-place finish in the Eastern Conference and an eventual run to the first of two MLS Cup final appearances during the streak.
Already having plenty of moments at both BBVA Compass and Robertson Stadiums to reminisce over, Houston could well make a memory to top them all on Sunday afternoon.
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com