Houston Dynamo

Champions for two straight seasons after moving from San Jose, the Dynamo took a tumble in 2010 but didn’t stay down long, returning to the final the next two years.

Trophies: 2006 MLS Cup, 2007 MLS Cup (as San Jose Earthquakes: 2001 MLS Cup, 2003 MLS Cup, 2005 Supporters’ Shield)

Fan personality: Proud. The supporters made the most of long-term temporary quarters in Robertson Stadium, buoyed by a successful team from the get-go. They travel in numbers. And now they have a place of their own.


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Stadium situation: Depending on your zoom level, you may still see a vacant lot in that Google Map. Rest assured — it’s now BBVA Compass Stadium. While “downtown” might not have the same feel that it has in Toronto or Seattle, this is still conveniently located alongside other major Houston sports venues.

History

Dominic Kinnear and previous coach Frank Yallop had already built the San Jose Earthquakes into a perennial contender and frequent trophy-winner by the time they moved from stadium-less, owner-less San Jose to Houston. The team had a PR misstep right away by choosing the name “Houston 1836″ after a key year in Houston and Texas history that many in the Mexican-American community did not remember fondly. They swiftly chose the name “Dynamo” instead and set about winning two straight MLS Cup finals, with goalkeeper Pat Onstad, forward Brian Ching and offensive force Dwayne De Rosario leading the way.

Also in those early days, the team brought in new ownership — a partnership that includes boxer Oscar De La Hoya. AEG kept a stake but is planning to shed it, officially knocking Philip Anschutz’s share of the league down from six teams in the early 2000s to one today.

The Dynamo Academy started churning out players early in its existence. Between that, the early success, Kinnear’s ability to keep a solid core together and the new stadium, the Dynamo may not be the oldest team in MLS but has firm roots in place.

And Kinnear has yet to do a massive overhaul. He tweaks. They lose players like Geoff Cameron (to Stoke), but they either bring up players who’ve been developed over the years or bring in a spare part here and there. Brad Davis seems content to set up goals and take devastating free kicks until his leg falls off. Granted, Honduran Designated Player Boniek Garcia is more than a spare part. For 2013, add scorer Omar Cummings.

2013 previews: MLSSoccer.com, ESPN, Soccer America, SB Nation

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