The MLS is growing quickly in America. ISH writer Adam Leightman gives you a first hand experience of an MLS game in Houston, Texas.
It’s an overcast Friday Night in Houston. Orlando City are in town to play the Dynamo in the second week of the MLS Season. The Rodeo is in town, and Pitbull is playing. Over 80,000 people will be at the Rodeo that night. 5 years ago, the Dynamo would not have been able to compete with the Rodeo, but tonight is a sell out, the second sell out in two games to start the season. The 6 o’clock kick off was tricky for a lot people, with Houston traffic at it’s worst on Friday afternoons, and people trying to finish up their week of work. It took a while to fill up, but when it did, the stadium’s atmosphere was electric.
Orlando City was in town, and they brought a lot of hype with them. This was Orlando City’s second ever game and first ever trip to Houston, but most importantly, their captain is the world-famous Kaka.
Kaka has won The World Cup, The Champions League, and in 2007 was crowned FIFA’s best player, by winning the Ballon D’or Award. This is a world class player, who at 32 years old, still has a lot of talent and energy left in his tank. Brazilians were scattered throughout BBVA Stadium, and a few “international soccer fans, not MLS fans” also decided to show up.
Unfortunately for those fans, they were at an MLS game, so they must be MLS fans. The Dynamo have done a good job at getting big names to the club as well. Last Summer, the team signed Demarcus Beasley, a former US World Cup Player. Recently, they signed Eric “Cubo” Torres, a 20 year old Mexican Striker, who will join the club in June. With a large Mexican-American population in Houston, this will without a doubt boost attendance once he arrives. At the game against Orlando, I saw more “Cubo” Dynamo jerseys, then any other player, and he is not even on the team yet! The quality of the league is going up fast, and the fans are showing their appreciation by being loud and supporting the home team.
35 minutes in, the game was still scoreless. Both teams were pushing up the field, trying to find the opening goal. Brek Shea played a long ball to Kaka who controlled it 25 yards from goal. Kaka was pulled down by a Dynamo defender, and a free kick was rewarded to Orlando City. The stadium grew quiet, as Kaka approached the ball. Dynamo Goalie, Tyler Deric, set up his wall. Kaka, a world class free kick taker, had already scored a direct kick the previous week against NYCFC. Everyone, including myself was expecting a goal.
The teams went into halftime tied at 0-0. Tyler Deric made an outstanding save, and the team and fans were ready to rally around his performance in the second half. The second half had end to end action, just like the first half. In the 70th minute Orlando City took the lead after a scramble in front of the net. The Dynamo were determined to get at least an equalizer and earn a point from this contest.
Unfortunately for the Dynamo, they could not get a goal, and lost the game 1-0. The crowd of 22,000 went home frustrated with the team’s performance on the night. However, the fans have so much to be happy about. They have a team that has made the playoffs 7 out of 9 times in their history. They have an unbelievable soccer-specific stadium in downtown Houston. They have World-Class players, and each week they will play an MLS team with World-Class Players. The MLS is growing fast, and Houston is a major reason why.
There is a huge future for the MLS, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.