HOUSTON—Brad Davis scored the goal, ran over to the southeast corner of BBVA Compass Stadium and disappeared in a mob of cheering Houston Dynamo fans.
It was their moment as much as it was his.
Davis scored in the 67th minute and the Dynamo beat D.C. United 1-0 on Saturday in the first game at the long-awaited $95 million venue.
"To be here and to have that happen is pretty special," Davis said. "Obviously, a day I won’t forget. It is a moment that I won’t forget and our fans won’t forget—the first goal at BBVA Compass Stadium."
The Dynamo had played at run-down Robertson Stadium, on the University of Houston campus, since moving from San Jose in 2006. Davis and Brian Ching are the only players left from that team and they took every chance they got to visit the construction site when the team’s new home was being built.
Saturday’s grand opening was a long time coming and lived up to their highest expectations. A sellout crowd of 22,039 mostly orange-clad fans waved flags, pounded drums and hurled orange streamers onto the field at the end.
"I was in a bit of awe," Davis said. "You’re focused in the game, but it was one of those days where you are in awe and you want to soak it all in."
Houston played its first seven games on the road as it waited for its new home to reach completion.
Ching, the franchise’s top career scorer, said the Dynamo were nervous early in the game.
"You just kind of walk around with a smile on your face," Ching said. "You get out on the field, you’re out there for the national anthem, you kind of get a little emotional. You saw that in the first 20 minutes of our play. We were kind of scattered, but we settled down after that."
The Dynamo ended up dominating, outshooting D.C. United 10-1 and controlling possession throughout the second half.
Houston (3-3-2) snapped a five-match winless streak with its first win since March 17.
"I wanted to win the game," Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear said. "It’s not often you get to open up the stadium, and the place is sold out, and there is so much activity around. You want to give the fans what they are coming here for. They are coming for the event, but they are also coming to see their team win. That’s the last impression they will remember is the scoreline."
D.C. United (5-4-3) lost for the second time in five games.
"It was going to be a tough task here," United coach Ben Olsen said. "When we saw this on the calendar, that we were going to open up Houston’s stadium, we knew it was going to be a tough task for us."
Minority Dynamo owner Oscar De La Hoya, former Dynamo President Oliver Luck and former Houston Mayor Bill White were introduced before the game. MLS Commissioner Don Garber and BBVA Compass CEO Manolo Sanchez shook hands at midfield as the Dynamo’s championship banners (2006, 2007) were uncovered on the stadium’s south canopy.
"There’s an old saying that success has many fathers, and failure is an orphan," said Luck, now the athletic director at West Virginia. "A lot of people deserve a lot of credit for this building opening up today. It’s just nice to see it happen."
Two orange Coast Guard helicopters thundered over the field at the end of the national anthem and fireworks exploded as the game began.
Dynamo forward Will Bruin got a clear shot from outside the goal area in the 31st minute and D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid went low to scoop it up. Houston’s Bobby Boswell tested Hamid a minute later, redirecting a deflection toward the crossbar.
Hamid made four saves in the first half, then leaped to intercept a cross by Calen Carr early in the second half, as the Dynamo kept D.C. United on the defensive.
Houston finally broke through when Davis broke free outside the penalty area and hammered a left-footed shot. Hamid jumped and got a hand on it, but the ball dropped into the net.
"I saw where it was going, and I knew Hamid was going to get a touch on it," Davis said, "but I was hoping he wouldn’t get enough, and that’s what happened."
D.C. United generated its best scoring chance in the closing minutes, but Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall scooped up Daniel Woolard’s header.