One of the Houston teams is going to the PLAYOFFS, yes you read that right, PLAYOFFS.
Houston Dynamo 2, the reserve team or second team Houston Dynamo FC are going to the postseason in the first year of MLS NEXT Pro. The first team unfortunately have only made it into the postseason once in the last eight years. Under the direction of coach Kenny Bundy, DynaDos, as they are affectionally known by, employed a high press and strong defensive style with a focus in keeping and moving the ball quickly up the lines to be dangerous against the opponent. Unfortunately (and some would say fortunately), a few weeks back first team head coach Paulo Nagamura was relived of his duties as which subsequently led to Bundy taking command of the first team as interim head coach. This left assistant coach Daniel Roberts to take over the coaching duties of DynaDos for the remainder of the games in the regular season and the post season as their interim head coach.
Funny enough, Roberts had to sit out this last match of the regular season due to yellow card accumulation. This final match was a very important one. Even with a clinched spot in the playoffs, Dos were fighting for a potential number one or two seed whichwould mean that the first playoff match would be a home one instead of an away one. Jeremy Hurdle, the under 15s coach, would step up and become the interim of the interim, some Dwight Schrute vibes for sure.
Like I mentioned before, not only was it the last game of the regular season, but it was a Texas Derby, a match against North Texas SC, the FC Dallas affiliate. You knew going in that it was going to be a feisty one.
The first and only encounter these two had before was in Frisco, when DynaDos traveled up and played their match after the first teams had their match and it did not disappoint. It was a tough game but in the end the victory went to the boys in orange with a 3-3 score line and with a win by DynaDos after a shootout. So, this was a rematch or revenge match for the northerners who now had to make the trip to southeast Texas.
The game itself was a competitive and close one as you might think a derby match would be. Dynamo Dos tried to open up the field, using their outside men to push forward on the right with Mujeeb Murana and Beto Avila and on the left with Jathan Juarez and Isaiah LeFlore. Jacob Evans was a pivot in the middle as the lone number nine to serve as a wall where the ball could be dropped off and he would try to create for himself or open up the field with the wingers. Juan Castilla, Brooklyn Raines and Marcelo Palomino were the distributors in their own accord in the midfield as Talen Maples and Micael held it down in the defense. A few times, the Houston center backs had to step in and close some opportunities down that North Texas would try and create. In goal. we had a new face in Justin Stewart, an academy product. Xavier Valdez was out with a head injury and Andrew Pannenberg was called up for the first time in his career to be part of the gameday roster of the Houston Dynamo FC match against in LAFC in Los Angeles. Stewart had a great night with a clean sheet. It didn't come easy as he had to make some game saving stops to keep the team with a fighting chance in the game. Stewart finished with four saves on the night.
Just how good was @JustinStewartGK last night? #HoldItDown pic.twitter.com/VdII4pG8CI— Houston Dynamo 2 (@houstondynamo2) September 19, 2022
Let’s get to the goals, before we talk about the environment and what is next for DynaDos. The first goal came off a left-footed cannon from Palomino right at the beginning of the second half. Castilla took the ball in the midfield circle and found Avila behind the the defender. Beto was able to control the ball and it was a play that came straight from the drawing board. Avila dropped it off to top of the 18 for Palomino to be able to get the ball with the outside of the foot curling it away from the goalkeeper, making it impossible for him to get a hand on the ball.
The second goal would come in minute 67. Once again Avila came in the picture, winning a 50/50 battle right outside the box. He drove forward into the box. Castilla made a nicely timed run on his left side and Beto saw him and dropped it off. Castilla curled his shot around the goalkeeper with the inside of his left boot two double the lead. After both goals, DynaDos would try and dominate possession and put the game to bed. The supporters groups chanted, waved flags, and played instruments on the south side of AVEVA Stadium in a fantastic atmosphere.
️ DALE DALE DALE DYNAMO ️ pic.twitter.com/RfkhXczVrV— Houston Dynamo 2 (@houstondynamo2) September 19, 2022
As soon as the referee blew his final whistle, the group quickly gathered and joined the supporters in the festivities to celebrate a great regular season and a boost going to next week match. Shoutout to El Battalion and the Surge for bringing the great atmosphere and love for the club and crest.
DynaDos finished the regular season with 14 wins, 5 draws, and 5 losses. Houston ended up third place in the Western Conference with 49 points (tied on points with Saint Louis and Tacoma but losing out on tiebreakers).
So what do the playoffs look like?
The Conference Semifinals will take place this upcoming weekend, with Houston making a trip to the Pacific Northwest to take on Tacoma Defiance.
Saturday, September 24
Columbus Crew 2 (1) vs. Rochester New York FC (4) – Historic Crew Stadium (3:00 p.m. ET)
Toronto FC II (2) vs. Philadelphia Union II (3) – BMO Field (7:00 p.m. ET)
Sunday, September 25
St Louis CITY2 (1) vs. North Texas SC (4) – TBD (7:30 p.m. ET)
Tacoma Defiance (2) vs. Houston Dynamo 2 (3) – Starfire Sports Complex (10:30 p.m. ET)
The 2022 MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs will continue the weekend of October 1 with the Eastern and Western Conference Finals and will culminate with the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro Cup on October 8.
HOUSTON WE HAVE A PLAYOFF TEAM!!!! LET’S SUPPORT THE BOYS FROM DYNADOS AND CONGRATULATIONS ON AN AMAZING INAUGURAL REGULAR SEASON.