We did a top ten for the Dynamo this past week on the 1560 Soccer Show, but I didn't draft that list. Here's my 2008 Top Ten List for the Houston Dynamo:
10. Victory over Atlante
In July, the Dynamo hosted Atlante in SuperLiga, and walked away with a 4-0 victory thanks to a Stuart Holden brace, and goals from Dwayne De Rosario and Brian Mullan. This victory is the match that Coach Dominic Kinnear always pointed to as the turning point for the 2008 Dynamo.
9. Second Half Success
Starting with that Atlante match, the Dynamo went on to have 13 wins, 3 losses, and 7 ties in all competitions up through the end of October. The slow start was erased and the Dynamo looked solid once again.
8. 4-4 Draw against Pumas in Mexico City
With a fascinating match that saw Craig Waibel score a brace, the Houston Dynamo became the first MLS club to get a result against a FMF club in Mexico City.
7. Bobby Boswell Success
After being the MLS Defender of the Year in 2006, Boswell had a lackluster season in 2007, and was scapegoated for all of DC United's woes. Boswell came to Houston last December, and while DCU had one of its worse seasons, Boswell shined in the Dynamo backfield. Boswell is out of contract and on a trial in Turkey, but hopefully he'll return to Houston.
6. Hurricane Ike
On September 13, Hurricane Ike blew through Houston, Texas wrecking havoc across the city. Meanwhile the Dynamo were in San Jose taking on the Earthquakes. When they came home they found a city that looked like a war zone. Due to the infrastructure damage across the city, the Dynamo agreed to postpone two matches scheduled for Houston during the week after the storm hit, and Dynamo players and fans lent a hand by distributing water, ice, and MREs to the storm victims.
5. The End of the DeRo Era
As winter grew near and 2008 lurched to a close, the Houston Dynamo dropped the surprising news that star midfielder Dwayne De Rosario had been traded away to Toronto FC in exchange for defender Julius James and allocation money. Everyone knew that DeRo wanted to play for Toronto at some point, but nobody expected it this soon. Goodbye DeRo, and may you never score against the Dynamo.
4. Kei Kamara becomes a Dynamo
In July, the Dynamo acquired forward Kei Kamara from the San Jose Earthquakes. Part of the offensive prowess shown by the Dynamo in the second half of the season has to be credited to this young, talented striker. He wasn't the first and won't be the last player to flourish under the coaching of Dominic Kinnear.
3. No Threepeat
The main goal of the Dynamo, as made clear by Coach Kinnear at his press conferences, was to win the MLS Cup again. After winning it in 2006 and 2007, heading into the playoffs the Dynamo looked poised to take it again. Despite fixture congestion, the Dynamo were in form and looked formidable, and had home field advantage locked up. But the surprising Red Bull New York did not go away quietly, instead the stepped up and knocked the favored Dynamo out of the first round of the playoffs.
2. Ownership Changes
Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions along with its partner the Brennen Group joined AEG in ownership of the Houston Dynamo. While ODLH has focued on his boxing career this year, I expect to see him take a more active role with the Dynamo in 2009.
1. Dynamo Success in the CONCACAF Champions League
This past year the CONCACAF Champions Cup was replaced with a Champions League similar to the EUFA Champions League. The Houston Dynamo are the only MLS team to get out of the group stage and advance to the knockout round, which will take place in March & February. The winner of this competition will play in next year's FIFA World Club Cup.
2008 was an exciting year for the Dynamo and Dynamo fans, here's a toast to 2009 being an even better year!