Opponent watch: Expansion season forever linked with the Dynamo
Despite being at different ends of the continent, the Impact and the Houston Dynamo have some interesting parallels in Montreal's inaugural season in MLS.
Both clubs have opened a new, soccer-specific stadium, in mid-season. The Dynamo opened BBVA Compass Stadium on May 16, built at cost of $95 million, and seats 22,039 spectators. The Dynamo played on the road for the first two months of the season going 2-3-2 over that span. Houston played its first regular season game on May 12, 2012, winning against D.C. United by a 1-0 score.
The Impact inaugurated its official home last Saturday in a 4-1 victory versus the Seattle Sounders FC at the new Stade Saputo. Before opening its new home, the Impact played 14 regular season games (3-7-3), playing eight matches on the road (1-6-1). Home games over that span were played at a temporary installment at Olympic Stadium, going 2-1-2.
Arguably, one of Houston’s best defenders Andre Hainault (see photo above) is a Quebec native, who started his pro-career back in 2004-2005 with the Impact, appearing in three games, two as a starter. He has become a stalwart in central defence for the Dynamo, playing in 87 games for the Orange, 84 as a starter, scoring six goals and playing over 7,000 minutes. He’s also become a regular on Canada’s backline, representing his country 27 times with the senior team.
And then there is Brian Ching. Left unprotected by Houston in the 2012 Expansion Draft, Montreal selected the Hawaiian native in hopes of convincing the MLS veteran of over 200 games (97 goals) of joining the expansion team north of the border. Despite effort made by the coaching staff, Ching repeatedly let it be known that his heart truly lay in Houston, and he was returned to the team from the lone star state in a preseason deal without ever playing a regular season game with Montreal.