Archive for October 2011

Thank you Dynamo Coaching Staff

This is a bit different of a story, focused more on Dominic Kinnear and how this season was handled, rather than the players themselves.  As a Dynamo fan, I love the players and team as much as any fan.  But as I was reading a few posts from some popular forums regarding the up and down play of the Houston Dynamo this year, I started thinking about the coaching staff and front office (collectively the ones making the personnel decisions).  Fire Dom became an anthem mid year after similar whispers started last year.  I'll be honest, I never really had a firm opinion on what to do if I had to make a coaching decision.  But as I look back on this season, I realized, I didn't put that much thought into the heated debate because the front office did a pretty good job this year.

Let's take a look back down memory lane - 2011. 

In the offseason, we lost a legendary goal keeper, addressed some needs and brought in a couple of defensive talents.  We drafted some decent college kids.  But we failed to "find a DP and go big." There's a saying that makes me nearly laugh when I say or type it.  I for one know that we did attempt to go after some big talent, but I'll just say I don't think our ownership really understood the meaning of "go big."  I also know we do not need a big star to win, so I'll end the DP discussion here.

The front office got rid of one of the most frustrating players in orange very early in the year after a depressing "are you kidding me" miss and brought in a question mark.  Regardless how that player finished the season, you must remember he didn't and wouldn't achieve success here.  If you ask me, he should be grateful to Dom for reviving a career.

Around the same time, we brought in a decent midfielder and a striker whose outcome had nothing to do with our front office.  Just a case of a immature decision from a person and end no one saw coming. 

In terms of record, the season started brightly.  Through the first seven matches, the Dynamo compiled a 3-1-3 record.  We beat the teams we should, fight for some draws with some tough opponents, and lost our opener on a painful slow game.  Not a bad start at all.

Then came the panic zone - in the next nine games, we lost five.  During games 8-16, we compiled a record of 1-5-3.  This is where the questions starting being asked, the whispers started escalating and soon became screams for change. 

Behind closed orange doors, Dom and his team continued to work.  We traded away a Houston fan favorite and a somewhat newer player (both underachieving) for someone we never heard of (but had a cool beard).  Rumors began around some foreign players that could give us a spark and help make a run.

A little noticed fact is from the 17th week to the last game this past weekend, the Dynamo lost only 3 games.  Again, only 3 games in their last 18 contests.  Were there some other games that ended as draws that should have been wins?  Sure, but there always is.  But the stats don't lie; those are pretty good results.  8-3-7 is how they performed in the last half of the season.  Those foreign players finally arrived and integrated quickly into the starting lineup, which triggered some shuffling of positions, which drove this run.  That question mark we traded for early in the season made an inspiring comeback and was a breath of fresh air.  All strategy, all planning, all coaching.

The regular season is over and ultimately it was a huge success.  The coaches job is watched on game days by fans like us.  When the team performs badly in a stretch, we start looking for people to blame.  Sometimes we have to remember that the coaches and front office really do work during non game days and are dedicated to strategizing, planning, and coaching us back to the top.

So for those who have called for Dom's job, not so fast.  Two championships, only one missed postseason, and a hell of a comeback in 2011.  Way to show others how to coach.  There is no one else I want leading the team I cheer for into OUR stadium.

Dom - Thank you for leading this team to where we are now.  This year was challenging, but you took what was given to you and had all the answers in the end.  There is a reason you are one of only five coaches with 100 MLS victories.
Tim - Thank you for grooming the young back up to be the starter we needed in goal.  So many other things took attention away from this, but recognition truly deserved.
Wade/Steve - Thank you for whatever it is you do.  Your support of the team is appreciated and you are learning from one of the best.  Take lots of notes.

I'm looking forward to cheering for our team on Sunday, and am even more excited about our next home game in Robertson Stadium on November 3rd.  I know that everyone will cheer our starters during introductions, but let the coach know you appreciate him when the PA announcer says, "You're Houston Dynamo are coached by Dominic Kinnear."  We don't always do.

UPDATE: Houston Dynamo are MLS Cup bound!!!!

That's right fellow fans, just moments ago, we beat Sporting KC (convincingly) in front of about 25K fans on our way to our third championship appearance in six years.  In addition to a simple "win" it must also be noted, we lost our MVP for the game and the MLS Cup.  So the thoughts I put into this story originally are only enhanced.  The "Fire Dom" crowd was silenced long ago, and now is so far behind us that it's probably time to stop talking about them.  In case you didn't notice, he DID NOT pull a certain central defender from his star role into midfielder; he chose to go with someone who also has experience at the left mid position and used a very good sub to go to left back.  Again - great strategy, great planning (on the fly), great coaching.

I'm about ready to start watching the "other game" that will determine the team I believe we can beat for another championship.

One final thought... do you think one of our newer midfielders with a certain famous beard may have been a shot of good luck because he already had a classic playoff beard?  Just sayin...

Good luck Houston Dynamo!

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Dynamo Playoff Scenarios

Dynamo fans, are you ready for this afternoon?

As we approach the final regular season game and the final game at Robertson Stadium, we now know the three possible opponents we will the MLS Playoffs. Colorado took care of business with a comeback to win their final game 2-1, and Sporting KC wrapped up the Eastern Conference top spot with a 1-0 victory.

So that leaves the fun debate - who do you want the Dynamo to face?
Let's breakdown the possibilities.

Win vs. LA Galaxy gives us Philadelphia
This puts us at 49 points and would place us second in the Eastern Conference and we would face Philadelphia Union in a home/away series. Philadelphia could be a tough opponent. As you may remember, we started the season vs Philadelphia and dropped a painful 1-0 loss after a fifth minute goal.  The second time we faced the Union, this time at PPL park, we walked away with a 1-1 tie.  This was the case of another early goal (this time in the 19th minute) and not much after that until an 85th minute goal by Geoff Cameron.

Tie gives us Colorado
This would put us in a situation against the defending champion Colorado Rapids. We lost at Robertson Stadium after three goals were scored between both teams in roughly 14 minutes, which also put a stop to a Dynamo six game unbeaten streak and only the second loss at home.  In Colorado, neither team could break through with a 0-0 tie.  This result would place the Dynamo in 9th place and we would play a single game elimination in Colorado.

Loss gives us our friends up the road = FC Dallas
This would also put is in a single game elimination on the road in Frisco.  This is interesting, because with this being a playoff game, I wouldn't be surprised if there was just as many Dynamo fans as FC Dallas supporters (or even more).  This season, the Dynamo tied at Robertson 2-2 and got a 1-0 result in Frisco.

So this leaves the question to you... what scenario do you prefer in terms of our playoff opponent? Why?
And are you ready for tonight??

Go Dynamo - see you at the game!

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Dynamo set to Dream. Scream. Believe.

Welcome to my new fan blog - Ordinary Orange Fan.  I am simply that - an ordinary orange fan of the Houston Dynamo.  I have enjoyed writing and reading material related to the Houston Dynamo, so in my spare time, I have decided to start a blog.  This is a serious work in progress, with many changes and additions coming to the site in the future.  I appreciate any feedback you have and hope this becomes something fun and interesting that readers can enjoy whevever you are catching up with the Dynamo.

With the final regular season game this weekend, my thoughts turn to the playoffs.  Not too sure who we will face off against, but hopefully we can get a spot that secures a playoff game in Robertson Stadium to see if we can get a bit of magic one last time...

Well, it seems like forever, but the Dream. Scream. Believe. theme is back in full effect.  The soccer world is seeming more normal in Houston these days with the team pulling together with some big wins over the last few weeks.  Is this the start of something special?  In case you missed it, has the Dynamo ranked #4 on their latest power rankings.  While these rankings don't translate into anything on the field, for Dynamo fans, it's nice to see others believing what we have been the whole season.  The fact is, if you are a true Dynamo fan, you just knew this day would come when we could turn it around and contend for another title.  If you did not see it, get off the bandwagon and find another team to root for - we don't need the typical "Houston" fans here.

Take a close look at the Dynamo playoff scenarios on the link below.  Depending on the outcome of some important games, we could finish in 1st in the East.  Not bad.

One final thought - If you take a look at the Dynamo results over the season, the only black eye of the season was May 4th-June 18th.  During this time, we lost 5 of 9 games, winning only one.  Since that loss on June 18th to Columbus, the Dynamo have only lost three times in the last 18 games.  I would say this season had had it's ups and downs from a fan prespective, but if you look at the stats, it's one bad 1.5 month and we would probably be the Eastern Conference frontrunners.  So regardless of Sunday's results, we are just as dangerous of a team than anyone else in the MLS playoffs.

Hope each and everyone of you have your playoff beard on, I know I'm ready.

Some good reading...
MLS Power Rankings
Dynamo Playoff Scenarios

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