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Although it feels like the regular season ended just yesterday, Houston Dynamo FC and the rest of Major League Soccer is already looking forward to 2022. Next season’s opening games were announced on Monday morning, and the Dynamo will welcome Western Conference foe Real Salt Lake to PNC Stadium on Sunday, February 27 at 6 p.m.

Next year’s opening match will be as exciting as any in recent Dynamo history, as the announcement about newly-appointed General Manager Pat Onstad, and the forthcoming announcement about who will be the Dynamo’s new coach have breathed new life into the club.

The Dynamo have fared well in season openers throughout the franchise’s history, with a 7-2-7 record overall since the franchise relocated to Houston in 2006. In that time, the team has opened the season with some impressive wins, such as the club’s 4-0 victory over Atlanta in 2018 and Houston’s inaugural match in 2006.

Let’s look back at some of the most notable opening matches in Dynamo history.

2019: 1-1 draw vs. RSL

It has not been a long time since the Dynamo and RSL have started their respective seasons against each other. The two sides squared off in an opener just two years ago, in 2019, when the two sides each scored once to draw 1-1.

After RSL’s Albert Rusnak put his squad up a goal in the 41st minute, the Dynamo came back in the second half when defender Maynor Figueroa found defender Adam Lundkvist outside of the 18-yard-box. Lundkvist was able to get a cross off to forward Mauro Manotas, who found the back of the net for the equalizer in the 62nd minute. Manotas scoring the first goal of the season for the Dynamo would prove fortuitous, as the Colombian national would go on to register a career-best in goals accounted for, with 13 goals and eight assists.

The Dynamo nearly took the lead late, legendary midfielder Boniek Garcia, whom the club recently announced it had parted ways with, scored what would have been the winning goal. His shot, however, was ruled offside by VAR and the score remained level at one.

2018: 4-0 victory over Atlanta

Undoubtedly the most dominant opening game in franchise history, the Dynamo routed eventual MLS Champions Atlanta United on Opening Day in 2018.

Houston made quick work of their opponent, scoring all four goals in the opening half of the match. The scoring opened in the fifth minute, when forward Andrew Wenger tapped in a cross from Alberth Elis. It was a nice way for Wenger to open his final MLS season, as the veteran retired at the end of 2018.

This game also saw the regular season debut of midfielder Darwin Ceren after being acquired by Houston in an offseason trade. The midfielder, who has been a stalwart with the club since his debut, scored a leaping goal just before halftime to extend the Dynamo lead from three goals to four and put the game away for Houston.

2017: 2-1 victory over Seattle

Whereas the Dynamo defeated a team that would go on to win the MLS Championship in 2018, the 2017 opener saw Houston secure an upset victory over defending MLS Cup Champion Seattle Sounders FC.

There was much excitement to begin the year, as 2017 was the first season with head coach Wilmer Cabrera at the helm. And the opening game lived up to those expectations.

Forward Erick Torres put Houston on top in the 20th minute, when he scored his first goal for the Dynamo off of a free-kick screamer into the bottom right corner of the net. Later in the first half, forward Romel Quioto doubled the Dynamo lead with a beautiful curling shot from outside the 18-yard-box in the 41st minute.

Even though the Sounders got one back in the second half, it was not enough to compete against the Dynamo that day, and Houston proved victorious. This match would prove to be a fortuitous one for the season, as these sides would go on to meet in the Western Conference Finals, where Seattle advanced to the MLS Cup final.

2012: 1-0 victory over DC United

The 2012 home opener was a special one for the Houston Dynamo, as it marked the first game in the team’s brand-new stadium. BBVA Compass Stadium, as it was known at the time, opened to much fanfare.

After starting the season with the first seven matches on the road, the Dynamo finally returned to Houston for the first match at their new home stadium on May 12, when they took on D.C. United. This meant that club legend and recently appointed General Manager Pat Onstad was in attendance for the match, as he was an assistant coach with D.C. from 2011-2013.

The match was primarily a defensive affair, as both teams were level through the first 66 minutes of the game. Finally, in the 67th minute, midfielder Brad Davis put home the only goal of the match to give the Dynamo a 1-0 victory.

This victory set the stage for how the Dynamo would play for the rest of the season, as Houston became just the fourth team in MLS history at the time to finish a season unbeaten at home.

2006: 5-2 victory over Colorado

Any list of Dynamo openers would not be complete without touching on the first match in Houston Dynamo franchise history. The first kickoff in Houston Dynamo history came on April 2, 2006 in front of a raucous crowd of 25,462 people in Robertson Stadium.

Houston was led on that day by forward Brian Ching, who accounted for the first four goals in franchise history, and forward Dwayne De Rosario, who set up each of Ching’s goals that day with an assist. The game was punctuated by a stoppage-time, bicycle kick goal from forward Alejandro Moreno, who won MLS Goal of the Week for his efforts.

The Dynamo went on to win the MLS Cup that season, the first of the franchise’s back-to-back league titles in 2006 and 2007.

The next era begins on Feb. 27 at PNC Stadium and tickets for the 2022 opening match will be available at http://houstondynamo.com/tickets.