Win the crowd, Win the game.

Posted in US Soccer with tags , , , , on August 12, 2009 by geojock

It is game day folks. USA vs Mexico. 3PM CST on Mun2.

There has been talk about the altitude, the smog, and the new found youth of Mexico. I want to talk about he fans at Azteca. Everyone knows how they can make the game tough for opponents.

Mexican fans, however, have no problem expressing their displeasure with their home side. The key for the USA is to make Mexico look bad for their fans. That doesn’t necessarily mean scoring early goals, but ball control. Not easy to do versus Mexico.

The Gold Cup win eased up a little pressure from Mexico, but if Mexico looks bad early, the fans could change just as they did in 1997. Nothing helps more than 105k fans booing the home team. How about Mexicans ‘ole’ing for the USA? It’s happened before and the USA got away with their only point ever that day.

Trip Down Memory Lane

Posted in Dynamo with tags , , , , on August 8, 2009 by geojock

After watching parts of the Superliga final this week, it got me thinking about the Houston Dynamo losing in the final in 2008. Then I realized the entire 2008 Dynamo season was all about highs and lows.
Dynamo_Pachuca

In 2008 the Dynamo:

-Advanced to the final of the Pan Pacific Championship –but lost to Gamba Osaka.

-Advanced to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup – but lost to Saprissa.

-Advanced to the final of Superliga by beating rival Pachuca- but lost to New England (PKs).

-Became on of the first MLS team ever to get a point in Mexico City with a 4-4 thriller against Pumas-but lost to Pumas at home.

-Advanced to the quarterfinals of CONCACAF Champions League-but failed to win group.

-Won the MLS Western Conference-but fell 6 point shy of the hardware (Supporters Shield).

-Won the MLS reserve title- but MLS promptly canceled the reserve league.

-Hosted a playoff game in front of 30,000+ people for the 3rd straight time – but lost to New York Red Bulls.

-Played an unprecedented 56 games in 2008 (not including reserve games) – but failed to come home with any hardware.

What will 2009 hold? The Dynamo have already lost after advancing to knockout stages of both tournaments this year. Lets hope the MLS playoffs are different. Oh, and how bout winning that supporters shield as well as beating Pachuca and wining the Champions League group??

Pachuca Qualifies for Group Stage in a BIG Way

Posted in Dynamo with tags , , , , on August 5, 2009 by geojock

pachuca

Pachuca has advanced to the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League with a 7 – 1 road win at Estadio Las Flores in Jalapa, Guatemala. Pachuca wins on a 10-1 aggregate.  I caught some of the game and Jalapa showed a ton of effort and energy for a team that was completely outmatch. Pachuca, however, showed us again, why they have been the most successful team in Mexico recently.

The win places Pachuca in Group A which includes the Houston Dynamo. The two teams have matched up three times in the past three years for a total of 4 games. Only D.C. United has faced a Mexican team (Chivas) more times (plus 9 extra years).
Here’s the history:

03/15/07 – CONCACAF Champions Cup – Dynamo Win First Leg
Recap
Video

04/05/07 – CONCACAF Champions Cup – Pachuca wins in extra time.
Recap
Video

08/14/07 -Superliga- Dynamo go down in PKs
Recap
Video

07/29/08 – Superliga – Dynamo win outright for the first time
Recap
Video

Mark you calendars.
09/16 – Wednesday at Estadio Hidalgo,
09/30 – Wednesday at home

Dynamo Rumors

Posted in Dynamo with tags , , , on July 28, 2009 by geojock

Lots of Dynamo rumors flying out there.
-Joseph Ngwneyu wants to come back to MLS. Dynamo own his rights. Chris Canetti said on Glenn Davis show that an offer is on the table for Ngwenyu.
-Italian Serie A team Livorno looking at Rico Clark. Chris Canetti said initial offer was not acceptable.
Injury Update.
-Pat Onstad out of All Star game with back strain.
-Richard Mullrooney out for the rest of the season with knee injury.
-Brian Mullan out at least 3-4 weeks.

Dynamo Continue Slump

Posted in Dynamo with tags , , , on July 26, 2009 by geojock

The Houston Dynamo dropped another game late, falling 1-0 to the New England Revolution in the 76th min. The Dynamo had 17 shots and 8 on goal, compared to NE’s 11 and 5. Despite having more shots and losing, it was a fair result; NE had plenty of chances and right-back Hainault lead the Dynamo will shots on target if that tells you anything.

At first I was critical of Geoff Cameron’s position at attacking mid. He did not seem to be effective in his role. Don’t get me wrong, Cameron has an impact on the game no matter what position he’s playing, but I continually saw forward Kei Karmara receiving the ball where Cameron should be receiving it. Cameron should be there, receiving those balls and feeding them to our forwards. But whatever, its a big jump from a defensive minded position to an offensive one.

I did finally realize that moving Cameron from center back to attack mid wasn’t a bad choice from Dominic Kinnear, it was his only choice. With Stuart Holden, Brian Mullan, and Richard Mulrooney unavailable, Kinnear’s only other option was to start MLS rookie and 19 year old Danny Cruz (thus bumping Corey Ashe to LM, Brad Davis to CM, and Cameron to CB). Don’t get me wrong, Cruz has looked good (and looked good tonight), but I’m not sure here’s ready for a full 90.

I really don’t wanna make more excuses, but it has been a tough stretch. Considering that tonight, the only players left on the Dynamo bench were an injured player, the reserve keeper and two development players, I guess a loss at home is a little more bearable.

Mexico, You’re Better Than This

Posted in Uncategorized on July 24, 2009 by geojock

As a kid growing up watching soccer I always found myself rooting for Mexico.  I don’t know whether it was the influence of my Mexican friends, or just that Mexico was good so who else would I root for in the knockout rounds of the World Cup.  I have had good times partying with Mexico fans.

USA and Mexico Party Peacefully

In the past few years, however, Mexico and its fans have begun to rub me the wrong way.  Maybe it’s because my team (and Mexico’s chief rival), the U.S. of A., is actually competitive.  Maybe it’s the now infamous Mexicans like Oswaldo Sanchez (swipe at Eddie Johnson; one of the most blatant dirty plays I have seen in a long time) Javier Aguirre (Panama kick), Paco Ramirez (Frankie Hejduk tunnel assault).
Maybe it’s the fans.  Panama vs Mexico in Houston was a mad house.  Fights in the stands, throwing things, you name it.  I was one of those who thought that the ref let everything get out hand and I know from personal experience that Reliant is always understaffed for soccer games.  I tried to take the blame off the fans for their behavior.

But then came Mexico vs Costa Rica.  Again, Costa Rican players were hit by thrown objects.  Hit me with a bottle once, shame on you; hit me with a bottle twice, shame on me.

Sorry Mexico, I no longer have your back.

Dynamo Fail to Make Open Cup Final, Again

Posted in Dynamo with tags , , on July 24, 2009 by geojock

For the third straight year, 90+ is needed to eliminate the Dynamo from the US Open Cup.  In a rough affair, the Dynamo concede a late goal and one more in extra time to lose to Seattle.  It is their second loss in 10 days to the Sounders.  The Dynamo were heavily criticized for their ‘stall tactics.’  I honestly believe that the Dynamo were not looking to waste time, but rather, the limited roster and long road trip finally caught up.

True, the Dynamo have performed admirable in the last month with a limited roster, on the road, and on bad turf.  They have endured call-ups, injuries, suspension, bad calls.. you name it, but I’m still tired of the excuses.  The Dynamo haven’t look good in weeks.

The question is, will the return of our stars really put this team back in the form we had in May?  Remember it took two months to get the chemistry we needed to go on that unbeaten run. How long will it take this time?

Don’t forget our toughest stretch last year came with the CONCACAF group play, and we haven’t even started that yet. Anyone remember 4 countries, 4 games in 13 days?

P.S.  I am also a little disappointed that Dominic Kinnear chose to start a younger lineup despite the likes of Ricardo Clark and Geoff Cameron being available.  I figured first loss to Seattle would motivate him to give us a stronger lineup.