A November afternoon in Houston
July 16, 2012
On November 9, 2008, Metro entered Houston for a playoff game as a decisive underdog. The Dynamo were two-time defending MLS champions. Metro, fresh of a 1:1 draw in the home leg, hadn't won a playoff series in eight years. They were written off before the game even started, but emerged spectacular victors, dumping the champions with a spectacular 3:0 rout. For on that November afternoon, Metro had Dane Richards.
Any discussion of Richards' Metro career must begin at that magnificent day. On that day, the second-year midfielder did what many thought was impossible. No, the victory can't be placed single-handedly on his shoulders; goalkeeper Danny Cepero was magnificent as well. But Richards turned in a complete performance that legends are made of.
The speedy Jamaican torched the vaunted Houston defense with blazing runs up the right side. He scored the first, taking a long pass from Sinisa Ubiparipovic, slicing through defenders, and blasting it home. He set up the second, a penalty by Juan Pablo Angel, by sending a cross off a hand of a Houston defender. The third, coming late in the game, the one that signaled that yes, this victory is not just possible but happening, came off the foot of John Wolyniec... again set up by Richards, who hurdled one defender and blazed past two others.
Richards leaves Metro near the top of most statistical lists. Second in games and minutes, third in assists, eighth in goals... But no statistics can measure that one game, that one November afternoon in Houston. We'll always have that one.
And so will Dane Richards.