By Kim DeRaedt
Houston Dynamo had its fair share of critics following a second-rate2010 season for the distinguished club, and questions and qualms swirled around like the sea of orange towels before anxious fans could settle in from their tailgate gaieties on Saturday.
The clean slate that purifies each team from any previous season’s woes was tainted just five minutes in when the Philadelphia Union drew first blood. Defender Danny Califf drove the dagger into the Dynamo’s upbeat spirit by notching his first goal in 29 career appearances for the Union. Defensive counterpart Sheanon Williams launched a throw-in toward the heart of the box, and Justin Mapp’s shot ricocheted off the crossbar. Califf alertly reacted and buried the ball from close range to the left of a helpless Tally Hall in the Dynamo net. The goal would stand for 85 minutes to lift Philadelphia to a 1-0 victory.
It was not the show that seasoned MLS coach Dominic Kinnear hoped to unveil nor was it the will of the four players selected from a swarm of Dynamo newbies to feature in the starting lineup. However, when the Dynamo veteran trio failed to capitalize on the best chance of the night, the team’s fate was all but sealed. In the 67th minute, Geoff Cameron linked with Brad Davis whom delivered a pinpoint low cross from the left only to see an onrushing Dominic Oduro squander the golden opportunity well high of the frame. Disappointment and fragmentary became the theme of the home-opening documentary.
The story began with the 2011 Houston squad composed of 10 players whom had yet to make their club debuts. That number was reduced to six when international signings Jermaine Taylor (Jamaica) and Hunter Freeman (Norway) took the field alongside offseason acquisitions Jason Garey (Columbus Crew) and Will Bruin (11th overall SuperDraft pick). Bruin, a 21-year-old forward out of Indiana University, became the first rookie to start on Opening Day in Dynamo franchise history. He led the team with six preseason goals but could not produce a wonder strike in his 61 minutes in front of Robertson Stadium loyalists. Find out more!