June 21st, 2011
The Houston Dynamo: Bright Orange Under Blue Sky
Last weekend, I was lucky enough to experience the Dynamo win over Chivas USA. Tonight they battle the Columbus Crew. Even in these days of record and near record setting temperatures an outdoor soccer match is hard to beat.
When Robertson Stadium is only at three quarters capacity and the Dynamo are playing as well as any team in the nation, the enthusiasm and energy alongside the Texian Army’s consistent beats and brass makes for a sporting evening unlike any other in Houston.
Sweat is as punctual as ever, courtesy of the walk from the car and the stadium entrance waiting line. We grab some waters and beers from the inconspicuous cooler holstered men spaced every ten feet along the walkways. As 7:30 PM arrives, we anxiously sit in our seats.
The National Anthem is sung. Some lucky fans and players take the field along with the players in the name of charity as the teams are announced. In a lethargic manner, more of the orange clad crowd meanders towards their purchased plot of a bleacher. It’s not lack of intensity, but rather warm bottlenecks.
As the game gets underway around 7:45 PM, the Texian Army’s unstoppable music begins with drums and horns. The songs themselves light with a march-like rhythm, provide their own lyrics. The tune, however, often derived from a song I’m already familiar with—Karma Chameleon being the most recognizable.
Having just watched a great performance last week I’m anticipating a great match tonight. The teams on the field, however, are a complete contrast to the vigor and finesse that was present just seven days before.
[Dynamo Goal Keeper, Tally Hall anticipates a high shot as a member of the Columbus Crew expresses his disappointment that a foul was not called in his favor. Typical.]
The two sides continue dueling, back and forth as neither team has a strong advantage at any point early in the match. Just as I think we’ll go into the half scoreless, the Crew finally put together an attack and bang in the first goal of the match at minute 41.
With stoppage time the only time being left, I figure I had better get a refill on my beer before the half-time crowds swarm the vendors. It’s no Southern Star or Saint Arnold, but a Ziegen Bock will suffice this fine June evening.
The Dynamo are down by one and already a group of fans next to me begin the negative tirades about their season tickets being worthless. C’mon, Fairweather, keep it to yourself.
Not minutes later, Palmer is ejected from the game with his second yellow card. A man down, the Dynamo fight on, all be it scrappily—as a number of things, the ref included, are not in their favor.
The Dynamo struggle to maintain possession. The strongest attack they can muster comes with a break away by Will Bruin on the left side using a pass from Brad Davis. The shot is deflected. Minutes later the Crew take the remaining wind out of the Dynamo and score a second goal.
Is it the heat? Is it an unfocused attitude that can often come after a big win like the one they had the previous week over Chivas USA? Sluggish foot work and inaccurate passes plague both teams.
Maybe, it is just a bad day. As I am reminded by my friends, everyone’s allowed to have “off days”—even in the world of professional sports. A collective groan is heaved in the stadium as the last seconds of stoppage time wane. I get up from the aluminum bleachers and begin the trek back home.
Just one more fan moving along Cullen, I can’t help but feel this was still a successful evening. Even at a distance, grumbling folks all around, I can still hear the Texian Army playing in support of Houston’s team, even when fans and players alike lack the motivation.