Sounders Insider

Seventeen down, two to go: San Jose and Houston will add soccer-specific stadiums to MLS

Last week while nothing much was happening up here other than the acquisitions of Eddie Johnson by the Sounders and Hope Solo by the Sounders Women, I was down south getting bonked on the head by Mardi Gras beads and flying in and out of Houston.

While on my way through Houston's downtown, I took a freeway that steered me past the Houston Astros ballpark on one side, and some structure on the other that looked a lot like an orange version of the Experience Music Project at Seattle Center. After an instant, I realized it is the rising new home of the Houston Dynamo.

Unfortunately, I didn't double back to take pictures. But you can get a bit of a look in this MLS Soccer Talk article on the rise of soccer-specific stadiums in the league. I've always thought Houston was a sleeping giant of MLS, and given that market and that stadium at that location, I think it is about to fulfill its destiny as one of the genuine success stories of United States soccer.

Meanwhile, there also was good news from San Jose last night where the Earthquakes got the go-ahead for their SSS on the fringe of the San Jose airport.

When that stadium is complete, that MLS Western Conference will be made up entirely of clubs playing in soccer-specific stadiums (Dallas, Colorado, RSL, Galaxy/Chivas, Quakes, Portland and maybe with Vancouver testing the limits of the definition) ... with one clear single exception: CenturyLink Field. And that one seems to work out pretty well as an exception to the rule.

However, there are two in the East -- Gillette and RFK -- that prove the rule. Still, 17 acceptable stadiums out of 19 shows great progress for the league. And, of course, it will eventually become at least 18 out of 20, because no one -- not New York, not Orlando, not anywhere -- is getting into the league without a fully acceptable stadium as part of the deal.