Dynamo win inaugural game at new stadium

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter flies over the new BBVA Compass Stadium, home of the Houston Dynamo, before an MLS soccer match between the Dynamo and D.C. United on Saturday, May 12, 2012, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
May 12, 2012 6:03:50 PM PDT
Saturday was a big day for the Houston Dynamo -- a day filled with firsts for the team and the fans who watched them play -- and win -- the first home game in their brand new stadium. The opener drew a sellout crowd of 22,039, nearly all of them clad in orange.

The rain cleared in time for a beautiful afternoon as the Dynamo opened BBVA Compass Stadium downtown and took on D.C. United.

Opening ceremonies for the new digs included the unveiling of the Dynamo's championship banners and the ceremonial first goals by original Dynamo players Brian Ching and Brad Davis.

Minority team owner Oscar De La Hoya, former Dynamo President Oliver Luck and former Houston Mayor Bill White were introduced before the game. MLS Commissioner Don Garber and BBVA Compass CEO Manolo Sanchez shook hands at midfield as the Dynamo's championship banners were uncovered on the stadium's south canopy.

"There's an old saying that success has many fathers, and failure is an orphan," said Luck, now the athletic director at West Virginia. "A lot of people deserve a lot of credit for this building opening up today. It's just nice to see it happen."

Two orange Coast Guard helicopters thundered over the field at the end of the national anthem and fireworks exploded as the game began.

The fans also got to join in the excitement ahead of the game. A change in law for the city of Houston allowed fans to tailgate at the stadium for the first time.

Fans set up tents in the parking lot across from the field beginning at 11:30am, and some waved flags and pounded drums as they filed in.

It was a game to remember.

The Dynamo ended up dominating, outshooting D.C. United 10-1 and controlling possession throughout the second half.

"I wanted to win the game," Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear said. "It's not often you get to open up the stadium, and the place is sold out, and there is so much activity around. You want to give the fans what they are coming here for. They are coming for the event, but they are also coming to see their team win. That's the last impression they will remember is the scoreline."

And that ceremonial first goal wasn't enough for Davis. He scored the first official goal ever at BBVA Compass Stadium, allowing Houston to defeat D.C. United 1-0.

"To be here and to have that happen is pretty special," Davis said. "Obviously, a day I won't forget. It is a moment that I won't forget and our fans won't forget -- the first goal at BBVA Compass Stadium."

Orange streamers rained out of the stands as Davis and his teammates ran to the cheering fans in one corner of the stadium.

"I think it's a testament to the soccer community of Houston. Houston is a football city, we know it, but this is true football. This is the international game of football," Larry Bittner said.

The Dynamo had played in run-down Robertson Stadium, on the University of Houston campus, since moving here from San Jose in 2006. The new stadium on the city's east side will also be the home for Texas Southern football games, concerts and international soccer matches.

But the stadium was built with soccer in mind and its supporters of all ages.

"The stadium turned out awesome. I'm so happy," one child told us.

"I like the games and I want them to win today," another young fan said.

The Dynamo built the franchise not only with success on the field, but by cultivating a fan base that involves both the diehards and families.

"It's wonderful. Both of my kids play soccer, and it's great for my kids to see this," Jennifer Bittner said. "Great family atmosphere."

The true testament will come as the Dynamo play their games here season after season, and fans are hoping to cheer on a lot of wins.

If you went to the game, we want to see your photos! Upload them at iWitness.abc13.com or email them to news@abc13.com.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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