This is the 10th part of a series in which we introduce Orlando City fans to the teams our Lions will be facing in 2015 when the team starts play in Major League Soccer. Today we take a look at the Houston Dynamo.
What are the three most important things Orlando City fans need to know about the Dynamo?
Derek Stowers: The Dynamo is a club rooted in success even from the beginning. When the team came from San Jose, we won back-to-back MLS Cups and deep runs in the playoffs are expected nearly every year, even though we tend to fly under the radar when compared to New York, LA Galaxy, and other big money clubs. Currently, as you may have heard, we’re in the process of getting a new coach and a technical director after nine years with Dominic Kinnear. It’s a time of uncertainty, but things will soon shape out and Dom has set whatever future coach we get on a strong start. Lastly, our club has a reputation for being strong and physical on the field. These are traits that sometimes get read as ‘dirty,’ but the reality is far from dirty. That type of play can be frustrating to other teams as we slow the game down to our level, which is why we’ve developed a handful of rivalries.
What nicknames, chants and slang are unique to Houston, and can you please explain them if they aren’t readily apparent to the outsider?
DS: The Dynamo go by the Orange or the Orange Crush, but most of us just call them the Dynamo. As far as songs and chants, we have a few, but one of our best-known chants among the Dynamo faithful is “Dale Dynamo” which roughly translates to “Let’s go Dynamo.”
What are the can’t-miss things to do when Orlando City fans visit a Houston Dynamo game?
DS: One of the benefits of being in a large, diverse city is the number of places to eat (in fact, Houstonians eat out more than anyone else in the country). If you want Mexican food (or Tex-Mex) The Original Ninfas is a must. BBQ? Try Gatlins in the Heights. Tacos? A small stand outside the West Alabama Ice House called Tacos Tierra Caliente serves some of the best tacos around. Moon Tower Inn serves exotic meat hot dogs, which are the best hot dogs (more like sausages really) that I’ve ever had. Bars? The Hay Merchant in the Montrose neighborhood is a must, as is The Gingerman, located in Rice Village. Of course, closer to downtown, where the stadium is located, is The Flying Saucer and Lucky’s Pub. Entertainment options include our extensive museum and theatre districts, but if you want to make the drive, Johnson Space Center is great for kids and families.
Who are the key players on the Dynamo that we should know about?
DS: Brad Davis is our captain and other teams should be wary if he’s over the ball. His left foot delivery is among the best and he racks up large assist numbers every year. Oscar Boniek Garcia is one of our designated players and is very good over the ball. He adds creativity and energy to our side and can easily dismantle defenses with his dribbling prowess. Luis Garrido and Ricardo Clark have come into their own as a central midfield partnership and the two are very good at making play through the center difficult with amazing tackling and intelligent spacing, which allows them to intercept passes well. Giles Barnes is another great player and Will Bruin had a knack for getting a good many goals as well.
Which Houston players do you think might get exposed in the upcoming MLS Expansion Draft?
DS: It’s hard to say exactly who is safe and who isn’t, considering the team’s performance and the new management coming. I think some players that aren’t safe may be CB David Horst, MF Servando Carrasco, MF Andrew Driver, MF Brian Ownby, FW Jason Johnson (if he isn’t still GA protected), DF Anthony Arena, and possibly CM Ricardo Clark and GK Tally Hall. But it’s all speculation.
We really appreciate Derek’s insight into the Houston Dynamo. We can’t wait to see the awful color clashes when his Orange face our Purple Pride.
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