Saturday, February 28, 2009

Marked Men, Episode Deux

Marked Men Episode II from Chance McClain on Vimeo.

Heading over to Robertson today for the Season book party and friendly with Montreal. What could get me more in the right frame of mind than this? Read more!

Next time someone asks you How Can You Be a Footy Fan?

First Nevada Smith's, and in Houston how about the Bull and Bear, or the Richmond Arms or the Bull and Bear or the Mezz...or...or...or...

Sunday at Smith's: A Soccer Ethnography from Nisha Ligon on Vimeo.

Big shout-out to SF for tipping me to this. What a great 15 minutes this was to watch. Hell, I think I'll rewind and watch it again! Read more!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Dynamo's Deric signing raises a few questions (for me at least)

The player signing today of course was Dynamo Academy keeper Tyler Deric, shown with his mom right there on the Dynamo Web site. (Dynamo's release here.)

Now I am not one to downplay the value of signing a Dynamo Academy guy. First homegrown player. Nice. (Stewart Holden was actually first Greater Houstonian to play for Dynamo as he went to Awty and his family lives in Sugar Land. But no need to quibble here.)

But there are a couple of questions this brings up, not the least of which is why the team is loading up so much in the back? Deric's signing as a third string keeper means that he probably will not see much, if any time with the team this year. In fact, unless Dynamo were to loan him out (to the USL? Maybe Houston Leones? That brings up the whole related topic of developmental needs, the role of the USL, etc. etc. A post for another time.), he'd probably have seen more action with Dynamo Academy now that the Reserve League is kaput.

If they sign eventually sign Canadian Andrew Hainault, then that's a mighty crowded back line. Starter quality and ready to play players include: Captain Wademerica, Boswell, Eddie Robinson, Richard Mulrooney, Orange Julius, Hainault, Craig Waibel and Mike Chabala. That is eight, people! Now factor in three keepers and suddenly you see a big crowd back there.

So I have to wonder, what are the talent firm of Luck, Canetti and Kinnear up to here? I think there are a number of factors at play.

First, instead of wishing and hoping for a player at the position you want (uhhh, that would be forward), you sign the guys you can. So Messrs' Deric and (probably, according to Glenn Davis) Hainault, here are your orange jerseys.

Second, these are all quality players and easily starters. There are too many. Which means, some individual or combo can be traded without sacrificing the needs of the team at the time of the trade. Hard calls there. Which of that group gets dealt? Chabala? James? Deric? Tally Hall? What do you think?

Third, or perhaps someone gets released to make way for the forward we'll eventually need. Same question: Who are the candidates?

Fourth, and this is an unpleasant thought. With call-ups throughout the year likely coming for Brian Ching, Rico Clark and possibly Stewart Holden and Kei Kamara, is Dynamo going to be forced into a double down play for the 0-0 or the 1-0 win on a counter strategy. That could get snore-ific real quick.

What do you think? Read more!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Quickie review of Dynamo-Atlante

El Naranja over on Dynamo Planet has posted what I think is the finest analysis I've seen of last night's 1-1 draw at Robertson Stadium. (Read that here.)

I think my favorite part of EN's piece is this (though I encourage you to link over there and read it all) is this:

Really, though, I cam away from this game gutted but very optimistic. For MLS. Julius showed lots of smart play out there, our defense was solid. Our midfield was first class, as usual, and Kei and Ching had their moments. If rumors of Omar Bravo coming to Houston are true, or another strong striker, than we will be a very, very good team. This is certainly a team that can do well and win a trophy or two (or three?) this season.

In regards to this game, there isn't much to say, really. We killed them from the 15-45 mark and fell asleep around 60 onwards.

Say hello to the start of the soccer season, MLS fans.

I couldn't agree with El Naranja's assessment more. That stretch from 15-45 was truly inspiring, and if THAT'S an indication of what's to come this season, then look out.

As I was saying to Mister3D after the game, it's hard to argue with the result as it was clear that Atlante deserved a goal by the end. What I argue about was the phantom call that led to the corner kick to begin with. That was absolutely a goal kick and out on an Atlante player. Terrible, terrible call that led to their goal.

And that is the last you will hear me complain about calls. Refs' calls are like birds: Some fly towards you, some away and you only remember the ones that either have pretty colors or poop on the car you just washed. As Sparky Anderson once said, "Don't put yourself in a position where the Ump can take it away from you." And that was what Dynamo and their preseason conditioning did.

Taking the long view, as EN did, it's hard not to feel optimistic. In a more immediate look, one week from now Dynamo will be that much more conditioned. The mentally soft Atlante will be that much more confident and I give the only team in the history of MLS to get a point against a Mexican team in Mexico a 50-50 shot at quadrupling that total. And that is an amazing thing to say, when you come to think about it. Read more!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fired up! Ready to go!

One more time. Going into tonight. Tired of talking about it. Time to win. Read more!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Marked Men with Ching Kong

Marked Men Episode I: Ching Kong from Chance McClain on Vimeo.

This is from 1560 Am here in Houston. Enjoy. Read more!

Why, oh why, do they hate us so?

Kartik Krishnaiyer on the Major League Soccer Talk blog has published a very interesting screed on the hatred directed at footy from American sports commentators and publishers. (Read the story here.)

Recently, Fox News in particular has been particularly hateful, airing two different attacks on the beautiful game, specifically the American 2018/22 World Cup bids and in an immigrant-bashing way trying to draw some sort of forced connection between soccer and terrorism. I won't bother repeating the attacks. You can see them here.

Krishnaiyer makes some very cogent points, though to be fair I do think he does at times lapse into clear frustration and reverse finger-pointing, especially at the expense of American football. Among what I think are his best points are these:

That the Rupert Murdoch owned Fox News Channel would take on football and link it with terrorism is no surprise. The network in the past have exaggerated just about every hooligan incident abroad and had news anchors who were simply masked social commentators make statements like “this is reason 10,000 why soccer will never succeed in America,” or ” Europeans behaving badly.” Some commentators on the channel have even used a fear of the game to rile up xenophobic sentiment against Mexicans and other Latins in the US, claiming if we do not stem immigration, Soccer (again the term they choose to use, but I rarely if ever use: the proper term is Football) will eclipse Baseball as the national pastime.

And this one:

The irony is that FOX is owned by the very same man whose brainchild the English Premier League, has helped turned formally football adverse countries like India and China into football mad nations. SKY Sports made the Premiership into the world’s leading sports brand name. Murdoch has even taken advantage of the passion for football in nations such as Mexico (the country whose citizens FOX News commentators ironically fear most) by pushing his Innova satellite TV system which gives Mexicans more football viewing options than ever before. As more football has become available on Mexican TV, more domestic based FMF players have sought transfers to European clubs.

And this one:

Many sportswriters in the US are not only lacking intellectual curiosity about the outside world, but like their conservative brethren they will promote international events only when the United States is winning. Case in point: does anyone outside the US, or the handful of totalitarian regimes that exploit athletes for political purposes really believe the Olympics are a bigger sporting event than the FIFA World Cup? Are the Olympics a bigger event than the regional Euro finals, or Copa America? Are they even bigger internationally than the UEFA Champions League finals.

Why is it that Olympic Football doesn’t get the attention in the United States that Olympic Swimming or Olympic Track and Field does? Is it because those sports are more popular than football in the states, given that almost 12 million people in the US watched the most recent US National Team World Cup qualifier, while the aforementioned sports never get that sort of viewership outside the Olympics? Clearly that is not the case. It is simple: American success determines media coverage and the “worldwide importance” of an event.

Now clearly a conundrum of sorts is set up here. If American media outlets will only cover sports (Krishnaiyer insists that the proper term is Football, and will only use that. But I think that's one instance where he gets a mite carried away.) that Americans are winning, then will they cover soccer if the Americans win?

My feeling is that the answer is only grudgingly so, and that the Americans will have to keep winning and winning and winning to get any respect at all. Now, this is one area in which us Dynamo-followers are perhaps more fortunate than others in that the local media coverage here, both professional and amateur, is easily the tops in MLS, a point which Fearless Leader V of Dynamo Planet has made repeatedly. No MLS team gets this kind of support from so many different sources, though there are some teams that are well-supported.

Krishnaiyer makes multiple, and pointed, comparisons between soccer and American football, frequently pulling down the latter as unintelligent, nativist and anti-intellectual (though giving a nod to Florida head coach Urban Meyer as an "intellectual."). That brings up my all-time favorite point comparing these two sports, that Jamie Trecker makes in his book Love and Blood (Not read it? Do so, and before the next World Cup if you can.) Trecker says that NFL people all speak glowingly and with awe about worldwide Super Bowl viewership numbers being around 1 billion people, a number he
points out is about the same as tune in to the World Cup draw.

My attitude on this whole football v. football argument is that, as far as I'm concerned, Sports is Sports. They're all good. They're all fun. I enjoy some more than others, and clearly prefer football/futbol/soccer (Thank you, MLS marketing dudes). NONE is morally superior to any other. And if you stick my home town's name on your jersey, I'll root for you.

Still Krishnaiyer's piece puts a spotlight on this whole "attack soccer" phenomenon in the American media. Fellow Nutmegger Playtherapy's wife, who hails from Ireland, was struck dumb/flat out mystified that in the US soccer fandom or indeed playing the game is seen as synonymous with homosexuality. Now personally, I have never encountered this, but when i was a kid, my basketball-enjoying dad, taking me to see an old NASL Houston Hurricane game, said he found it hard to respect a sport where players ran around in shorts. I'm still struck by that irony.

Also, if you want to purchase that T-shirt design up top, check out this site here:

What do you think about Krishnaiyer's article in particular and the issue of attack journalism aimed at soccer as a whole? Read more!

VideoSignals a quick, waaay unvarnished look at CONCACAF

While this is about as dry a presentation as it gets, if you're looking for information from around CONCACAF, here's something for you. You can subscribe to this here. Read more!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

On the value of being led by Bob Bradley as well as thoughts on Mexico's future

Earlier today, I put the following comment up on Dynamo Planet:

You know, so many people have been saying that clearly two of the three automatic CONCACAF slots in South Africa will be the US and Mexico. But last night I think we all saw that Mexico is in real danger of not being included in that equation. If I were Honduras or El Salvador or even T&T (there you go V. I included them for you) I would be salivating at the tape of that game last night.

Mexico has become a very, very beatable squad and I would not be at all surprised if, barring something drastic like a coach firing, El Tri is sitting at home next year.

And that prompted the following exchange with my fellow DynaPlaneteer Bandido, he of the corazon verde. His response:

As much as it may pain me to say it; Congratulations to the American National Team and their fans on your well deserved victory last night. Converting two of the five shots on goal was enough to gain you the first three points for a trip to South Africa. The practical style of play by the Americans has worked against Mexico time and time again. If you wish to label the USNT as dominate because of their five corners to Mexico’s one, then so be it.

I thought the game was pretty even with both sides playing their game. both made mistakes and both were affected by the strong winds. It is odd that with the slick grass neither side tried the long shot more.

But to those that salivate the apparent demise of Mexican Soccer, I hold some things against thee; Mexico did not look like Guatemala nor the U.S. look like the German National team. If people would like to believe that the Americans were so clinical why did they only score two goals?? Because they’re nice guys??

Mexico will be in South Africa and you better hope the Americans play with the same focus as when they play the Mexicans. Don’t under estimate the rest of the teams now that you beat the “Giant” in your own territory.
You need only sixteen points, it is easier to make it to the World Cup than to miss out because Concacaf has 3.5 spots.

Dot worry about Eriksson’s future or if Marquez will remain as Captain. The Coach stays and our Captain will be the same. The team will get up from the ground and will have more time together for our next match. The road is still long until we get to the end.

Bandido, I think you may be right, but if I were a Mexican team fan (and in a certain way, I am because the US and Mexico are clearly partners as the two beasts of the CONCACAF. If your club is only two, then when you're not competing, you kinda root for the other. Strange how that works sometimes.) I would be highly concerned.

I think the Mexicans are possibly in very deep trouble, and I'm not at all certain Sven-Goran Erikkson is the guy to get them out. I think they need a Mexican coach at this stage to restore the pride and cohesiveness. But I could be wrong. What do you think?

My friend Martek;

The comparison a would make with this situation is to compare the Galaxy and what is and was the Dynamo. Where one organization wants the quick fix and the other has a system that regardless of who leads it they will stay true to it.

Back since the San Jose days as I understand from the people that followed the MLS back then, they had Yallop as the coach and Kinnear as the assistant. Here we have the Dom and hopefully Spencer will continue the same system with the same core players. While the Galaxy go with the flavor of the month as the coach and in players. Of the players that won the last MLS Cup for the Galaxy, who is still with L.A.???

Mexico has good players but has no elite system according to what one Tomas Boy said about the Mexican National Team in a recent interview. Meaning that anyone can play for Mexico no matter if you’re a foreigner or not. If you have a Mexican passport and play soccer , you are an elite player. In the American system a player hopes Bradley will call him up, he waits by the phone eagerly. And he knows the Donovans and Howards and Beasleys are the elite players. Guzan knows his place and doesn’t rock the boat.

So while the American system can plug in players at will. The Mexican change systems every time they change coaches and then the same players rebel against that coach and get him fired. The next coach comes in and calls players that he thinks he can work with, and that batch rebels against him………….and so it goes. Add to that all the owners of the Teams like Vergara who feels he has a say on all matters and you get too many chiefs and not enough Indians.

For a long time there would be players from Mexico City and maybe one from Chivas and that was it. America would have six at a time, Cruz Azul six at a time and Pumas six at a time. It was elitist but a form of having a core group playing together. They were not the best players but played where the power was.

The solution for Mexico is to leave a coach to coach. Give him what he wants and give him goals and a time frame.

Bandido, I think your solution would be right on. And that brings up my amazement at the phenomenon that is Bob Bradley.

No one, or at least no one I know, wanted that guy to replace Bruce Arena, not even, and this is important, Sunil Gulati. They wanted Klinsman, Peckerman and on and on. I think at one time there was even a move to try to get Fabio Cappello!

But after they all said no, Bob Bradley was pretty much last man standing, and that only on a provisional basis! Then he wins some, wins some more and wins still more. Still there are rumors of flirtations with other coaches and then FINALLY, Bradley gets the job.

And what has he done with it? He has instituted the exact system you describe. Everyone on that team knows there role and is of the same tactical mindset. This is what we have. This is what we are going to do. Now that we do that well. THIS is what we are going to do. When you saw the link ups, the parallel runs, the basic teamwork the US displayed last night, was that the sort of play you would have expected to see the US play for an entire game, in all reality, under previous coaches/regimes?

Bradley has done what all coaches want and few ever achieve. He has gotten his players to buy into a single tactical system in which they all know and operate with a series of roles that, collectively, produce a greater good.

Which then brings up how Bradley has integrated younger players with veterans, and I think this is key to the overall approach. The more established stars know what it means to play under pressure, but even they learn new things about pressure on the world football stage. However, with younger players, how are they ever going to learn? Well, Bradley seems to think, and I agree, that the only way to learn that is to experience it. By prioritizing tournaments and putting the focus on the development of a coherent tactical mindset instead of the lure of "winning every game," Bradley has provided large stages for younger players to mature and find their way into (or out of, as the case may be) the larger framework. Thus, in 2007, the top players played in the Gold Cup. The next tier played in the Copa America. The Gold Cup was the most important tournament, the championship of our region. Copa America was a venue to let our less experienced players take their lumps on a fairly largish stage. And it was all looking to get that younger group, or at least the ones who survive, in shape to deal with pressure and progressively tougher competition on the road to South Africa. Does the strategy hurt our FIFA ranking? It sure does. But, really, who cares a rat's behind about FIFA rankings. Bruce Arena did, and look where that got us. Bradley does not, and look at where we are now as opposed to where we were in 2005.

When I said Mexico needs at this stage to be coached by a Mexican. That's what I meant. They desperately need a Mexican Bob Bradley, whether it's Paco Ramirez or someone else, to install a system like that, an overarching tactical framework on and off the field with ultimate success coming in the longer view, or we will see more and more games like we saw last night. And one of these days, that will happen at Azteca. If it's this year, the Mexicans will have only themselves to blame.
Read more!

Hey Paco, what did Frankie Hejduk ever do to you?

Here's video of Mexico assistant coach (and former future head coach?) slapping Frankie Hejduk in the tunnel after the game last night. CONCACAF should force him to sit out the next game over at Rafa Marquez' house.

UPDATE: Got this from Off the Post about what really happened:

The way Hejduk tells it, Paco Ramirez took exception to his post-match celebrations. He said: “I was just trying to pump the crowd up. I was actually saying, ‘F*** yeah!’ I think they thought I was saying, ‘F*** you.’ It was a misunderstanding and I can see why they would be a little bit upset if they thought I was saying the other one, which I wasn’t.

“At the end of the day, no one was hurt. There was a little love tap and that was it. I still have my face. No damage done. It was fun. That’s just how emotional this game is and that’s how passionate they are about their sport. It was none of their players - I want to make that clear to everyone.”
Read more!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

US 2, Mexico 0 First thoughts

I have never, ever seen Mexico look that bad. Hmmm, let's see, in how many games has the US dominated the Mexicans in the midfield? The all-time list:

1. 2/11/09 in Columbus Ohio, a 2-0 US win.

And that's it folks.

If Sven-Goran Erikkson makes it back to his apartment in Mexico City without being fired, it'll be a miracle.

Seriously, those guys looked more like Guatemala tonight. Is it finally time to add the "once-proud" prefix before we type the name "Mexico" from now on? They looked terrible.

US thoroughly controlled the match. Nice game from the entire team, with the possible exception of Jozy Altidore, who looked every bit as if he had not played since he wore a Red Bulls kit.

2-0 was my prediction, but I only wish I had put money down on that!!! :< Nice win for the Snakes tonight.

More thoughts to come as they occur. Anyone else? The floor is yours. Read more!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Two sick goals for the Samba Boys today vs. Italy

That was the first for Elano. What ball movement!! Wow.

And here's the second courtesy of Robinho. Holy moley!

Read more!

Snakes in the snow, plus Rico strike

Studio 90 updates the progress of the guys on the frozen tundra of central Ohio prior to tomorrow night's rivalry game. They look like a relaxed, confident group to my untrained eyes. And Rico's strike at the end of the clip is a great sight for these orange eyes to see.

Go Snakes! Read more!

Monday, February 9, 2009

US/Mexico preview I

Thought you'd like to see this one. I think Shaka is right on with this one.

And you know, watching this show, as much as it pains me to admit this about a former FC frisco player, I really like Shaka Hislop. The guy withstands the barbs thrown his way by Smythe and presents some pretty good points. Read more!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Trifecta, a fistfight and Juuuuuuuulius. Now that's the way you start a season

First off, I would like to add that the fine old 3-0 butt-whuppin' of FC What's-the-name-of-that-team-again? we saw this morning was one fantastic way to begin a season. It had everything, total domination, a nice goal from Juuuuuulius James (channeling my inner J. Fred Duckett here) to start his Dyna-career and a fist-flyin' brouhaha in the third half (not to mention having a third half!).

Dynamo has posted the official game story here, and it's a nice read (not to least of which because it names names for the other team, of which I only knew numbers).

But having my notepad with me, I took notes throughout the game (old writer's habit) and am sharing them now.

Not seeing much of the new kit. I'm wearing mine, but, HEY, the players' practice jerseys. Two blue sleeves. Haven't seen that look before. If it had the two stars on it, I'd be all over that. Ah well.

Wade's hair. Yes!!! Captain Elvis.

watching Holden run laps before the game I'm reminded of how pro athletes are not like you and me. If I had a quad injury I definitely would NOT be running laps at a field. I'd be going "Oomph. Ow!" and then sit down.

Corey Ashe is sitting watching practice. Why? Is he hurt?

Ooh, getting ready for the game. Dario Sala is jawing with Bandido and Bandida here. All fun and games.

Until now. I just caught site of those candy-striped kits and wow. Feel that blood pressure rise!

El Battalon is in the house! Drumming and chanting. Great. Wave of sound overtakes me as they're right behind me. Boy, that's a sound I missed.


Barrett(On the left wing!!!)-- Davis-Mulrooney-Mullan

I guess you could say the Dynamo are Mulling it over in the right midfield. Ha. Ha.

Nice try early for KK. Open net.Bad angle. Cross to no one and out.

Rocha fouls from the opening. No surprise there!

Richietti is his usual whining self. Pablo's pablum.

Mully cross into Wondo. IT'S IN!!!!

1-0 to the good guys

Remind me which one of these teams has been training since Jan. 21? We're kicking their asses all over the field.

FC Worthless

Midfield back and forth. Rocha fouls again. How do you say "a-hole" in Portuguese?

Bozzie hard foul on Dallas No. 9. Nice payback.

Another chance. Wade on the left, (should have shot), passes to KK in center. Burse saves.

Davis corner. Found Waibel's noggin!!! It's IN!!!

2-0 and it looks like this isn't done yet.

5 shots, 3 on goal, 2 in the net to Dynamo
All zeroes for Dallas.

Long ball. Damn it Wondo! Break to goal! Think!

Dallas shot. Weak. Off target Left.

Mully cross to Wondo, shot, wide left.

6-3-2 Dynamo
1-0-0 Dallas

Hey anotehr weak FCD shot. Is that all they've got. On target this time, but it dribble to Onstad.

6-3-2 Dyn
2-1-0 Dal

Action in the box. Bad communication. Pass back to Dallas. Arrgghh. Missed opportunity.

Goo pressure. Chance. Chance. Chance. Keep it up.

Dallas has no coordination, no communication. Is this really a professional team? Wow, they look terrible.

First Dale, Dale chant!!
Wow. That feels good.

Lower bowl about 2/3-3/4 full on our side. Looks about the same number of people who REGULARLY attend dallas games in Pizza Hut Park. Nice crowd.


Second half start. Same Lineup for Kinnear.
Dallas has Serious now.

Quick corner. Nothing. Pressure still on.

Anotehr corner. Nothing. Pressure STILL on.
Mullan cross. Wondo heads it in BURSE KICK SAVE!!!!

Whoa. Another corner.

GOAL!!! Mulrooney sent it over to far post. Bozzie sent it back and Julius James heads it in!

3-0 us.

Another bad touch for KK

Waibel gets away with a hand ball just outside the box.

Dave Van Den Bergh brings the pressure up the left. Waibel fouls him to stop. Had to do that. Gets a yellow. Deserved that.

VDB takes the free kick. Ugh. Terrible. Ugly. Did you do that in New York all this time Dave? Weak shot from -- is that mcCarty? -- fro distance. Wide right.

8-5-3 Dynamo
3-1-0 Dallas

No. 27 for Dallas (name?) is one large human. A forward.

Some Dallas pressure.

Back the other way. Another corner for Dynamo. Still no corners from Dallas all game yet.

Dallas the other way. No. 27. Weak shot with Waibel on his back. All he could manage really. Rt. to Onstad.

8-5-3 Dynamo
4-2-0 Dallas

El Batallon insulting Dario Sala in Spanish chants. Hilarious.

Man, Kinnear doesn;t even sub in friendly blowouts. This is the same group that started the game.

Mully working along the side. Another corner.
Sala deflects away. Nice move Dario.

Serious yellow for big foul on Julius James. Foiled a breakout. Bummer.

This is just an old-fashioned ass-kickin'. Men against boys.

More Dallas pressure. McCarty weak header right at Onstad

8-5-3 Dynamo
5-3-0 Dallas

All three of Dallas on target shots weak and easily handled)

Nice run up the left KK. Run. Run Run. SHOT!
Sala deflects it high. Sala is the only FCD player showing any signs of a pulse at all.

At all.

Dynamo 9-6-3
Dallas 5-3-0


Finally a few subs. Here's the structure

Eric Quill-- JM Hayden--Mulrooney--Mullan
Stephen Wondolowski--Andrew Hainault--Julius James--Chabala
Tally Hall

Juuuuulius gets a yellow. What a bad call. What the heck is that?


Mullan and Brek Shea. Shea was clearly holding Mullan down with his forearm. Bad move dude. Mullan comes up swinging! Does he connect? I think so.

Everyone's out on the field now! Pulling them off of each other. Man, Mully's pissed. Shea doesn't seem to know what's happening. Yelling back weakly.

Both ejected. Shea's going back to his position. Does he even know what state he's in? Dude, exit's over there.

A fight in a preseason friendly. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Amazing. And here I thought it was just the fans that didn't like each other. This is great. :>

Midfield, midfield, midfield. No chances either way.

Whoops. Wrote too soon. S. Wondo chip. Right at Sala.

10-7-3 Dynamo
5-3-0 Dallas

Dallas pressure. Hainault clears.

Richietti fouls. Whines. Like a broken record.

Drew Moor almost an own goal on a back header. Sala letting him hear it. That's the closest thing to a goal I've seen generated from Dallas all morning.

Hayden intercepts again. Nice defensive instincts there.

Cross to Eric Quill. SHOT! ON A ONE TOUCH

11-7-3 Dynamo
5-3-0 Dallas

Another Hayden pick. Quick feet on that kid.

Chabala give and go cross. Nothing.

Dynamo pressuring up the left.


12-7-3 Dynamo
5-3-0 Dallas

Cameron on for Barrett, who came back to replace Mullan after the fight.

Still can't believe there was a fight. That's hilarious.

Boy, Cameron has some nice moves over there. Three times he's gotten out of jams and headed straight upfield along the right flank.

KK SHOT!!!! Sala juuuuuust deflected wide left. Another corner.

No corners for Dallas at all.

Sala punches out. Another long cross back in. Just too tall.

13-8-3 Dynamo by my count
5-3-0 Dallas


3-0 Dynamo. Nice way to start the preseason.
Read more!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dynamo Park renderings. Hey, it's a start right?

I know this has been posted in several places (specifically here and here), but Dynamo Park's renderings are what SF over at The Offside Rules refers to as "stadium porn." I, er, see what he means.

Watch the Channel 11 story here.

Here's the Channel 11 story:

HOUSTON—On the east side of downtown sits the future site of the new Dynamo stadium.

“We think it’s about an $80 to $85 million stadium. (It will have) 21,000 seats, but nothing fancy though. It’s very functional,” said Dynamo GM Oliver Luck.

Many say that the stadium will be functional enough to keep in Houston a championship team that has made noises about moving into the suburbs. It’s hoped it will be functional enough to keep the fans happy.

“It’s gonna be much more fan friendly in terms of concessions and restrooms and some of those things that we just don’t really have over at Robertson Stadium. Most importantly, it’s going to be much easier to get to in terms of the parking and access. A rail line will literally run right next to the stadium,” said Luck.

The new stadium is expected to encourage new development. When it’s finished, it’s expected to increase the property values of everything around it.

It’s reported that after the Dynamo moves in, that extra property tax money would kick $20 million into the project.

Reports indicate that the city is already in the game, but county commissioners still have to approve the deal.

“No one’s taxes are increased. It’s just taking the increased taxes, some of that money and allocating that to help build the stadium,” said Houston council member Peter Brown.

TSU will also pass along $2.5 million for the right to play its football games there, said TSU Athletic Director Charles McClelland.

“We’re gonna’ have our own locker rooms. We’re gonna share the sales for concessions, on ticket sales so it’s gonna’ be the home of the Texas Southern University fighting tigers,” said McClelland.

The players should take to the new field in the first part of 2011.

Read more!

Monday, February 2, 2009

MLS sez: Downturn, what downturn?

Bringing back Playtherapy's question from the other day on how the economic downturn might affect MLS. The answer so far: Not so much.

That is at least the conclusion from a piece by Tripp Mickle (Is that his real name?) at Street and Smith's Sports Business Journal . In an article entitled MLS ticket renewals bucking the economy that published this morning, Mickle reported that:

Less than two months before the start of the MLS season, the league’s clubs are reporting that ticket sales are keeping pace despite the economic downturn.

Business executives at 10 of the league’s 15 clubs who could be reached for comment reported that season-ticket renewals were flat or ahead of last year. Only the Houston Dynamo reported being behind compared with renewals at the same time in 2008, while several clubs reported being ahead, including the Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake.

“We’re cautiously optimistic because I believe there will be a flight to value and we offer value,” said Jeff Plush, Rapids managing director. “That’s important in times like these.”

(Houston Dynamo?!? Mister3D and I have already renewed for 2009, maybe we all need to take a long look at ourselves. :>)

But just one minute Pardner. Later in the piece, Mickle writes:

D.C. United, which averaged 19,835 fans last season, has an 82 percent renewal rate right now, slightly behind the same period last year, said Stephen Zack, executive vice president. As season-ticket holders decline to renew, the club plans to reach out to them on a game-by-game basis throughout the season to encourage them to buy individual tickets.

“We believe people who can’t afford season tickets are still fans and will want to attend games,” Zack said. “We’re hopeful that will help us get through this economic downturn.”

So Dynamo is not the only team behind. C'mon Mickle, as Steve Garvey once said (and got booted for), "Bear down!"

Anyway, Mickle goes on to list several ways clubs are being creative in going after renewal sales, like this one:

The San Jose Earthquakes are working the youth soccer ranks and the Hispanic community to unearth new season-ticket sales. The club is working with hundreds of youth soccer clubs to sell tickets in exchange for a percentage of the sales, and it partnered with local Hispanic grocery stores to have them sell season and group tickets, as well as a Mexico match to which the franchise is playing host.

Tell me exactly why that wouldn't work here. Speaking from personal experience only, I have seen so many Dynamo shirts, bumper stickers, etc. at my local Fiesta in the Heights than I do just about anywhere else.

But then Mickle brings the piece home with this series of observations, including a money quote from our resident team-building genius:

Three MLS clubs are weathering the recession without any problems. Toronto FC, which sold out its first two seasons in MLS, renewed 95 percent of season-ticket holders by October and sold 5 percent of remaining inventory in December. Expansion franchise Seattle Sounders FC has sold more than 18,000 season tickets. Real Salt Lake, which opened its new stadium with just two games left last season, also is weathering the recession. The interest in its new stadium has put its renewal rate at 83 percent and new business ahead of last season, President Bill Manning said.

Executives at Chivas USA and FC Dallas didn’t return calls for comment. Spokespersons for the Kansas City Wizards and New York Red Bulls declined to comment.

“It’s harder now,” said Chris Canetti, Houston Dynamo chief operating officer. “I’m not sure if it’s an excuse or a reality, but what I’m sensing is people are doing less or waiting a lot longer to make a decision.”

I find it interesting that Mickle reports Dynamo as the only team behind then goes on to state the DCU is behind. Perhaps he meant to say that DCU is the only team behind. For support on this guess, I turn to our very own Brian Zygo, Dynamo Planeteer and co-host of the 1560 Soccer Badasses Show. Brian just posted an interesting piece over on that paints a somewhat rosier picture for the O Range. To wit:

We shall start with the MLS, using figures garnered from ESPN. In 2008, the Los Angeles Galaxy, despite its poor performance on the pitch, had the largest total and average attendances with 390,762 throughout the season and an average of 26,050. Not surprisingly, Toronto FC took second place with a total of 303,623 and an average of 20,241. The top five was rounded out by DC United with an average of 19,835, Houston Dynamo with an average of 17,752, and Chicago Fire with an average of 17,052. Meanwhile, the Kansas City Wizards had the lowest attendance with a total of 170,769 throughout the season and an average of 10,673 per game. But don’t let those figures fool you, since one figure I found indicates that capacity of CommunityAmerica Ballpark for soccer matches is 10,385. Wonder how they squeeze in another 300?

So, the dishonor of having the worst MLS attendance for 2008 actually goes to FC Dallas. Despite having its own soccer specific stadium with a capacity of 20,500, Dallas only averaged 13,097 throughout the 2008 season.

(BWA HAHAHAHAHAHAH. Well, maybe the Candystripers would do better if they could outdraw Dynamo fans at Robertson North this year. Might be a nice change for those guys. However, official forecast probability: Low.)

So tell me again how the team with the fourth-best attendance in MLS is behind in ticket sales for 2009.

Anyway, the point is that while on the surface it looks like MLS might suffer from the economic downturn, actually it looks like it might just turn out good or even better. Professional athletics are generally recession-proof as long as their product is affordable and they keep their marketing and activities community-based. The leagues I think will suffer most in the US, if at all, are the bloated Major League Baseball and the NBA.

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A piece of news to celebrate the opening of camp

Dynamo's "friendly" with FC Worthless on Friday is free and open to the public and will be held at 10 a.m. at Robertson Stadium.

I will be there. Will you be there? Read more!

What a nice young man this Garcia is...

...or so my mother would say.

Really, though, he's a long way from starting, but I like the focus on youth. And on the day practice starts, today, a focus on a fine future is a good thing to have.

Check out this interview:

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