Seas of orange-clad fans flood downtown’s East End from March to October for the electric atmosphere at BBVA Compass Stadium. The two-time MLS Cup champion (2006 and 2007) Houston Dynamo have been thrilling soccer fans since 2006. The team played its home games at UH’s Robertson Stadium before moving downtown in 2012. The stadium is central to the trendy EaDo district for plenty of entertainment and dining option before and after games.
Best in the West
The Dynamo have had 7 winning seasons since their inaugural 2006 season. Regardless of the outcome of the game, they are known for their energetic performances and comeback wins. The Dynamo remain fierce rivals with Sporting Kansas City and in-state opposition FC Dallas (Texas Derby). There is no struggle to fill seats at home game as attendance averages at over 20,000 of 22,039 seating capacity. Pro tip: Avoid expensive parking and crowds by using free street parking in the streets south of the stadium.
Some of the loudest, most enthusiastic fans support the Dynamo at every home game. The Texian Army occupies a special section just behind the south goal. La Bateria, Brickwall Firm and El Batallón supporter groups also add to the atmosphere. Throughout the game, the rambunctious groups provides custom chants, beating drums, soaring trumpet anthems, and other theatrics. Whenever the Dynamo score, an orange smoke screen is set off in the section with flags waving and music playing. Half the fun of the game is watching the supporter groups react to the excitement of the game! Membership is open for the fan-driven sections. The Texian Army hosts an independently organized tailgate party in Lot C of the parking lot before every game.
World Cup Favorites and Hometown Heroes
Over the years, the Dynamo have boasted Olympian and World Cup-caliber players. Brad Davis (midfielder) and DeMarcus Beasley (defender) currently play with the US men’s national soccer team. The pair helped to take the US to the round of 16 in the 2014 World Cup. Tyler Deric, the team’s current goalkeeper hails from the Houston suburb of Spring, TX. Though only in his first seasons as a starter, Deric has already proven to be an excellent defender with 7 shout outs and over 90 saves.
Before and After the Game
Looking for food and entertainment before or after the game? BBVA Compass Stadium is in the trendy EaDo district of downtown. The area has an endless list of restaurants, nightlife, and even a craft brewery. For pure Tex-Mex, check out Houston favorites El Tiempo Cantina and the Original Ninfa’s on Navigation. Walker Street Gastropub is a perfect hangout for a pizza or burger and local Houston craft beers including EaDo’s own 8th Wonder Brewery. The area also offers great nightlife options that are perfect for post-game celebrations. Voodoo Queen is a great dive bar option close to the stadium. To slow things down a bit, head to the chic Tout Suite Café for late night drinks and pastries.
The Houston Dash organized as a team in 2013 when they joined the newly created National Women’s Soccer League. Since then, they have drawn thousands of fans to BBVA Compass Stadium and attracted some of the best players in the league to their roster. The Dash enter their second season in 2015 already in pursuit of the coveted NWSL Championship and Shield. Don’t forget to check out the great culinary scene and nightlife around the stadium in the EaDo neighborhood.
World Cup Heroes
Although still new to Houston, the Dash have already attracted World Cup and Olympic athletes to the team. The U.S. Women’s national soccer team won the 2015 World Cup with the help of 3 goals in 16 minutes of the final game against Japan by Dash midfielder Carli Lloyd. Defender Meghan Klingenberg started every match for the USWNT during the tournament and provided spectacular saves. At only 22, midfielder Morgan Brian has quickly risen to fame as a starter for both the USWNT and the Dash.
The Dash maintain close ties with their older brother the Houston Dynamo. Legendary Dynamo forward Brian Ching was made managing director of the Dash at the beginning of the team’s inaugural 2014 season. Randy Waldrum was named the Dash’s head coach after taking the women’s team at the University of Notre Dame to two National Championships and over 300 wins in 14 seasons.
The Orange Brigade is the primary fan-run supporter group of the Houston Dash. You’ll find them “loud and proud” in a special section behind the south goal for all home matches. With chants, a drummer and trumpet player, the squad provides the momentum and excitement that keep the Dash going throughout the game. To become a part of the Orange Brigade, purchase special tickets at the Dash box office.
BBVA Compass Stadium
The 340,000-square foot, 22,000-seat stadium was first opened at the beginning of the Dynamo’s 2012 season. It is also the first downtown soccer-specific stadium in Major League Soccer. Along with the Dynamo, the stadium hosts the Houston Dash, Texas Southern University football games, concerts, international rugby competition, and even gaelic football. The facility also accommodates MLS and FIFA standards, often holding World Cup and CONCACAF qualifying matches and friendlies. The Dynamo and Dash also practice at Houston Sports Park just south of downtown, a world-class facility with numerous fields where fans can watch practices for free.
Behind the Scenes
The Houston Dynamo locker room has seen many soccer greats. From Brian Ching to Brad Davis and Carli Davis, the locker room sits next door to a conference room that is used for post-game press conferences. Just outside the locker room doors you’ll find the long walkway leading to the field. Players can feel the rumble of the crowd on their feet, the pounding of drums by the Texian Army, all as they run under a Dynamo banner into a roar of cheers from Houston fans.
Club Seats and Suites
BBVA Compass Stadium offers numerous suites of varying sizes for an exclusive Dynamo/Dash game experience. All suites are just nine rows from the field, complete with private cushioned outdoor and indoor seating. The suites also offer catering options and VIP team meet and greet options. The stadium also features larger party suites for up to 48 guests. Special Dynamo and President’s Club seats are also a popular game option. Club seats offer a private entrance to the stadium as well as the West Club lounge area. The West Club offers private indoor dining options.
Levy Restaurants handles all of BBVA Compass Stadium’s concession and catering options. Renowned for their James Beard Award-winning restaurants, Levy’s and Chef Atanacio “Nacho” Zamora offer everything from Tex-Mex originals to Bayou City BBQ and stadium grill favorites. Try the al carbon tacos at Taqueria Naranja or a BBQ pulled pork sandwich with jalapeno coleslaw. BBVA is also famous for its various nacho options – don’t forget to add extra cilantro crema sauce to your mound of awesomeness. Stadium food not your thing? BBVA sits right in the heart of the EaDo (east of downtown) neighborhood. Known for it’s great nightlife and up-and-coming restaurants, planning pre- or post-game celebrations in the EaDo is a must.
Metro Rail Access and Parking
Traffic and parking around BBVA can be a bit hectic on game days. Expect to pay $15-$20 for parking directly across from the stadium. For a cheaper alternative, the downtown MetroRail purple and green lines drop fans off right in front of the stadium and run every 10-20 minutes before and after games. Fans can also park in the numerous street parking options just a block or two from the stadium. Parking downtown is free after 6 pm and all day Sunday.
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