Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Top Ten List for the Houston Dynamo

We did a top ten for the Dynamo this past week on the 1560 Soccer Show, but I didn't draft that list. Here's my 2008 Top Ten List for the Houston Dynamo:

10. Victory over Atlante

In July, the Dynamo hosted Atlante in SuperLiga, and walked away with a 4-0 victory thanks to a Stuart Holden brace, and goals from Dwayne De Rosario and Brian Mullan. This victory is the match that Coach Dominic Kinnear always pointed to as the turning point for the 2008 Dynamo.

9. Second Half Success

Starting with that Atlante match, the Dynamo went on to have 13 wins, 3 losses, and 7 ties in all competitions up through the end of October. The slow start was erased and the Dynamo looked solid once again.

8. 4-4 Draw against Pumas in Mexico City

With a fascinating match that saw Craig Waibel score a brace, the Houston Dynamo became the first MLS club to get a result against a FMF club in Mexico City.

7. Bobby Boswell Success

After being the MLS Defender of the Year in 2006, Boswell had a lackluster season in 2007, and was scapegoated for all of DC United's woes. Boswell came to Houston last December, and while DCU had one of its worse seasons, Boswell shined in the Dynamo backfield. Boswell is out of contract and on a trial in Turkey, but hopefully he'll return to Houston.

6. Hurricane Ike

On September 13, Hurricane Ike blew through Houston, Texas wrecking havoc across the city. Meanwhile the Dynamo were in San Jose taking on the Earthquakes. When they came home they found a city that looked like a war zone. Due to the infrastructure damage across the city, the Dynamo agreed to postpone two matches scheduled for Houston during the week after the storm hit, and Dynamo players and fans lent a hand by distributing water, ice, and MREs to the storm victims.

5. The End of the DeRo Era

As winter grew near and 2008 lurched to a close, the Houston Dynamo dropped the surprising news that star midfielder Dwayne De Rosario had been traded away to Toronto FC in exchange for defender Julius James and allocation money. Everyone knew that DeRo wanted to play for Toronto at some point, but nobody expected it this soon. Goodbye DeRo, and may you never score against the Dynamo.

4. Kei Kamara becomes a Dynamo

In July, the Dynamo acquired forward Kei Kamara from the San Jose Earthquakes. Part of the offensive prowess shown by the Dynamo in the second half of the season has to be credited to this young, talented striker. He wasn't the first and won't be the last player to flourish under the coaching of Dominic Kinnear.

3. No Threepeat

The main goal of the Dynamo, as made clear by Coach Kinnear at his press conferences, was to win the MLS Cup again. After winning it in 2006 and 2007, heading into the playoffs the Dynamo looked poised to take it again. Despite fixture congestion, the Dynamo were in form and looked formidable, and had home field advantage locked up. But the surprising Red Bull New York did not go away quietly, instead the stepped up and knocked the favored Dynamo out of the first round of the playoffs.

2. Ownership Changes

Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions along with its partner the Brennen Group joined AEG in ownership of the Houston Dynamo. While ODLH has focued on his boxing career this year, I expect to see him take a more active role with the Dynamo in 2009.

1. Dynamo Success in the CONCACAF Champions League

This past year the CONCACAF Champions Cup was replaced with a Champions League similar to the EUFA Champions League. The Houston Dynamo are the only MLS team to get out of the group stage and advance to the knockout round, which will take place in March & February. The winner of this competition will play in next year's FIFA World Club Cup.

2008 was an exciting year for the Dynamo and Dynamo fans, here's a toast to 2009 being an even better year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dynamo Players going to the USMNT January Camp

Bob Bradley finally announced who he is inviting to the USMNT's January Training Camp in Los Angeles. Among those attending are several Dynamo players:

Brian Ching
Geoff Cameron
Ricardo Clark
Stuart Holden

Ching isn't a surprise, Clark and Holden make sense, but Cameron, who has never been capped, is a welcomed surprise. Cameron is World Soccer Wrap's Dynamo Rookie of the year, and he has proven to be a great utility player for the Dynamo. Good to see him getting a look from Bradley.

And, finally some comfirmation that Bobby Boswell has a trial in Turkey, with Antalyaspor:

Dynamo Update

The Dynamo won't be getting Luis Angel Landin. The forward has been loaned by Morelia to Cruz Azul.

Houston Chronicle Article on Landin

However, maybe the Dynamo can add some offensive depth by pursuing and signing Felix Garcia. This young, impressive teenager plays for the PDL's Laredo Heat and the USMNT U-20 squad.

Here's a video of Garcia's skills:

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Wrappings

Merry Christmas - Buon Natale!
Happy Hanukkah - Buona Hanukkah!

From the Houston Bureau of World Soccer Wrap!

Well, it maybe the holiday season but the news keeps coming.

This past week the Houston Dynamo tendered an offer to Morelia to obtain forward Luis Angel Landin on a 1 year loan deal. This is a move to help shore up an offense that has lost forward Nate Jaqua to Seattle and midfielder Dwayne DeRosario to Toronto. Chivas Guadalajara had been interested in acquiring Landin, but dropped its interest, paving the way for the Dynamo to tender its offer.

On Christmas Eve, Dynamo fans received an unexpected gift in the news that Harris County Commissioners Sylvia Garcia and El Franco Lee announced their tentative support for having Harris County contribute $10 million to a dowtown Dynamo stadium project. The overall expected cost of the stadium is $80 million, down from $100 million, and the Dynamo are expected to contribute $60 million. The remaining $10 million will come from the City of Houston. The public money will most likely go towards infastructure improvements and are linked to the East Downtown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone, a vehicle used to funnel existing property taxes back into an area of the city that is in need of economic development. The stadium will be located on the eastern edge of Downtown Houston in an area that has missed out on the development and revitalization that occurred west of Highway 59 through the late 90s and early 00s. The area that will benefit from this stadium deal falls into the regions that elected Lee and Garcia; therefore, their support is vital for obtaining the support of the County's Commissioners Court.

The team has yet to make a formal comment on this news, so they might be concerned about some of the strings it appears that Lee and Garcia want to add to the money. Such strings are not set in stone yet, so the team has time to quietly negotiate those issues.

Finally in Dynamo news, the team has signed assistant coach John Spencer to a 2 year extension. In seasons past, Spencer has been looked at for filling the gaffer position at other clubs, but has yet to find an acceptable deal. This extension is nice for Dynamo fans, but how much longer before Spencer finds a top spot he likes?

The Dynamo have also agreed on terms to a new 4 year contract with team captain Wade Barrett. The contract will likely be signed in January.

Now on to Italy.

I had been hoping that the SuperCoppa would be coming to the U.S. this summer, but it is headed to China instead.

Once again, Jose Mourinho is whining about the Italian press and the fact that he has to talk to the press for longer periods of time and in more detail then he had to in England. You wouldn't make it the U.S. Jose, especially in New York City.

Finally some bad news for Roma fans like myself. Francisco Totti might be sidelined for two months with a thigh muscle injury. This means he might miss the knock-out round of the UEFA Champions League, in which Roma faces Arsenal.,19528,11861_4688849,00.html

Well, until next time - enjoy your holiday season!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Goodbye DeRo. Hello Landin?

It's been a week now since the Houston Dynamo dropped the somewhat shocking news that they had traded star midfielder, Dwayne De Rosario, to Toronto F.C. for young defender Julius James and roughly $200,000.00 in allocation money. Most Dynamo fans knew that DeRo was interested in returning to his homeland now that they were represented in the MLS, and it didn't hurt that his hometown of Scarborough, Ontario is essentially a suburb of Toronto. What most Dynamo fans didn't expect was this early of a departure by one of the players who quickly became one of the faces of the Dynamo franchise.

I for one, and I could be wrong, don't expect DeRo's Toronto tenure to last very long. I could see him there for a season, or maybe half a season, before he tries his hand at football on the European continent.

Sadly, since last week's announcement, DeRo has been all but absent when it comes to press availability here in Houston. We couldn't get him for this past Monday's show on 1560 The Game, and even Glenn Davis had to resort to a simple email on his show this past week.

With the departure of both DeRo and Nate Jaqua, it seems that one of the Dynamo's biggest chores this off-season is signing an offensive threat. Enter stage left - Luis Angel Landin, Pachuca's 23 year old striker, who was loaned to Monarcas Morelia. Unlike Franco Carracio, Dynamo Coach Dominic Kinnear has see Landin's play first hand, and he was impressed. It seems that the Dynamo are quietly in active talks with Landin's representatives.

Landin has been capped by the Mexican National Team and is considered one of the young, rising stars of Mexican football.

What does it mean if Landin comes to the Dynamo? Unlike Chicago's Blanco, Landin is young and hasn't developed a huge following, so his signing won't bring as many FMF fans to Estadio Robertson as Blanco has brought into Toyota Park for the Chicago Fire. That being said, the Dynamo have done a good job of creating a strong, local fanbase so that isn't the main issue or even a focus for the Dynamo when it comes to signing talent.

In my mind, if the Dynamo sign Landin, it could be a watershed moment not only for the Dynamo, but for MLS on the whole. If Landin comes to play for the Dynamo, it would mean that a young, developing talent from a major U.S. rival. Yes it's nice to have the likes of developed foreign talent like Blanco, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Juan Pablo Angel, and Beckham, but with Landin, we're talking about a young player with much potential. And as long as Sven is in charge in Mexico, playing in the MLS won't hurt Landin's shot at national glory.

Dynamo fans might get the opportunity to see Landin in action in the near future. Both Morelia and Pachuca will be at Robertson Stadium on Monday January 5, 2009, playing in InterLiga. Maybe Landin's presence in Houston just after the new year will help the Dynamo get this deal done.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Houston Dynamo Trade Midfielder Dwayne De Rosario

Despite being one of the team's main stars, Houston Dynamo Midfielder Dwayne De Rosario has been traded to Toronto FC in exchange for yound defender, Julius James, and allocation money. The trade was announced this afternoon by Dynamo COO Chris Canetti.

“The organization thanks Dwayne for his very valuable contributions,” said Dynamo Chief Operating Officer Chris Canetti. “Over the last few days, it became apparent that this move was necessary. Before the trade, our salary cap limitations precluded us from making any significant moves. We now have plenty of flexibility on how we want to build our roster and field another very competitive squad, both domestically and internationally.”

James, a product of UConn, was selected by Toronto during the 2008 SuperDraft. A native of Trinidad & Tobago, James has one cap from a match against Guyana on September 3, 2008.

With this trade, the Dynamo have removed their highest paid player of 2008 from their salary roll. This could be a sign that the Dynamo are interested in a designated player signing, or just a way to clear some cap space to raise the salaries of younger players and bring in some more depth. What do you think?

Friday, December 5, 2008

1560 The Game Soccer Show - December 8, 7pm cst

Be sure to tune into The 1560 The Game Soccer Show this Monday (12/8), at 7:00 p.m. You can listen live via 1560 am here in Houston, or via the live stream at:

This week's scheduled in studio guest is Dynamo Defender Mike Chabala.

As always, you can catch the podcasts of prior episodes at:

And feel free to participate: 713-439-1560

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dynamo v. Firpo, Soccer Show Podcast, & Stadium Update

There's only one more chance left to catch the Houston Dynamo live at Robertson Stadium in 2008, and that is on Wednesday night, Thanksgiving Eve, as they host Firpo in their last match of the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League. The Dynamo need a win to advance to the knock-out stage which takes place in February 2009.

Tired of all your guests, bring them out to the game - special ticket package available, 10 tickets for $50.00.

The Podcast from Monday night's Soccer Show from 1560 The Game (Houston), is now available:

Speaking of 1560 A.M., today Dynamo CEO/President Oliver Luck was a guest on the Ken Hoffman Show, and he stated that he feels certain, more certain then ever, that the Dynamo will come to terms on a downtown stadium deal with the City of Houston and Harris County, and that the Dynamo will have their own home by 2011.

Finally, before the Houston Dynamo suit up to face Firpo, the MLS's 2009 Expansion Draft for the Seattle Sounders FC will take place, here is a list of the Dynamo has protected defenders Bobby Boswell and Eddie Robinson; midfielders Brad Davis, Geoff Cameron, Ricardo Clark, Dwayne De Rosario, Stuart Holden and Brian Mullan; and forwards Brian Ching, Guy-Roland Kpene and Kei Kamara. It is anticipated that the Sounders will draft forward Nate Jaqua.

In closing, Houston will host a round of matches in InterLiga 2009, and Houston will host the match up of Club America v. Chivas on January 5.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

2009 Confederations Cup Draw

The draw for this summer's Confederations Cup has occurred, and the USA find themselves facing an all together too familiar a foe: Italy. It looks like the USA also finds itself in another group of death (Group B) seeing that they have to battle Brazil and Egypt, as well as Italy.

Group A includes South Africa, Spain, New Zealand, and Iraq.

The Confederations Cup will take place in South Africa between June 14th to 28th.,0,1263737.story

The Argentine Connection

One of the subplots today's MLS Cup is Juan Pablo Angel v. Guillermo Barros Schelotto. Angel, now with Red Bull New York, is a native of Columbia who once played for River Plate while Schelotto, now with Columbus Crew, once played for Boca Juniors. As many a soccer fan knows, River Plate v. Boca Juniors is one of the biggest soccer rivalries in the world. In the past week, news that Schelotto's success in the MLS has increased Argentine interest in the MLS. Now, as we approach the Cup final, news is trickling out that Martin Palermo, Ariel Ortega, Juan Sebastian Veron, and Kily Gonzalez might be interested in making the move to the MLS.

Reserves Redux

On the heels of Don Garber's announcement that the Reserves league is being sent to the scrap heap comes this little story from ESPN about how the Reserve players are key for the Red Bull as they go into today's Cup.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A look at the MLS Cup Weekend

One thing I'll say about the MLS, they do a good job of making the MLS Cup weekend interesting, at least for fans of the MLS. Friday night always features the Commissioner's State of the MLS Address, and this year Don Garber had some interesting things to say. Here's a link to see his speech:

First, rumor of this was circulating and Garber confirmed it, the Reserves league is gone. This is concerning because it destroys what was a good player development tool, and was in line with the way soccer clubs around the world operate. Thought is that this move is one of the first moves made by the league on the eve of entering into negotiations with the players union on a new CBA.

Second, playoffs will continue. I'm fine with this, MLS is not the only soccer league in the world that uses playoffs and playoffs are a special thing here in the States. To those who don't like playoffs, I say the same thing I do when people complain about gridiron lines on the pitch, get over yourself and just enjoy the game - stop whining, the world doesn't revolve around you.

Third, the conference system will continue there is no move to a single table. That being said, the structure of the fixtures for next year - play each team twice, with some extra rivals games - as essentially a close step to a de facto single table, a step that will only go further as more teams are added to the league. MLS is looking at having a total of 20 to 22 teams.

Fourth, the fixture congestion won't be as big an issue for teams like the Dynamo in 2009. There will no longer be overlap of the CCL and SuperLiga teams. The Houston Dynamo will be in the CCL, not SuperLiga next year. The top 4 teams to not make the CCL will participate in SuperLiga.

Fifth, the Montreal expansion bid is gone. Garber says the bid was dropped, others indicate that the league dropped the bid. We'll see how that develops.

Sixth, there is no deal to send Landon Donovan to Bayern Munich, at least not yet.

Seventh, the season will start a week earlier next year, and there will be more emphasis on not conflicting with FIFA dates. This is good news in my opinion. I've accepted the summer schedule, but have never liked the conflict with FIFA.

Meanwhile, today involved news concerning the USMNT. First of all, there was the draw for the Hex, and on February 11, 2009, the U.S. will host Mexico. Expect that match to occur in a cold climate like Chicago or Columbus. It sounds like Hartford and D.C. will also see USMNT Hex matches. I'd like Houston to host one, but we'll see what happens.

Good news, the 1560 The Game's Soccer Show will be back on the airwaves this Monday at 7:00 p.m. cst. You can listen online at:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Music from World Soccer Wrap: Serie A

People have asked about the songs used for intro, outro, and sometimes filler. So here's some answers.

First, here is the standard intro music, Tu Vuo' Fa L'Americano from The Talented Mr. Ripley:

Our standard outro music, Luna Pop's 50 Special:

Some other music that has appeared on World Soccer Wrap: Serie A --

Capparezza's La Mia Parte Intollerante

Capparezza's Eroe

M.I.A.'s Paper Planes

Nena's Luftballons (2002)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Say No to Racism - Point and Boo

Soccer fans are familiar with Fifa's "Say No to Racism" campaign, and we know it is primarily focused on the deplorable monkey chants, fascist symbols, and banana throwing that occurs in the stadiums, especially in Europe (though the U.S. has experienced its own troubles this past MLS season too). But what I want to highlight today is the way non-soccer fans in the U.S. use the sport as a flimsy cover for their rasicist, xenophobic, and willfully ignorant views. I don't know about you local newspaper, but the paper here in Houston, on its website, has a comment section for each posted news article. This past week I've been checking out the comments on some of the soccer related articles, and I'm disturbed by some of the hateful stuff posted by these readers with their hidden identities. Not only do they show a utter lack of knowledge about the sport or its history in this country, they use these articles as a means to bash people of different races, ethnic origins, and countries.

If you see this on your local paper's website, do a virtual Point and Boo, post your own comment, call them out on their willfull ignorance and hate.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Derby della Capitale

Sunday will mark the first round of the Derby della Capitale a/k/a il Derby Capitolino a/k/a Roma Derby of the 2008/09 Serie A season. The match, which features A.S. Roma and S.S. Lazio of course, is considered one of the biggest Derbies in the world, just adding to the intensity of the event.

The first Roma Derby occurred on December 8, 1929, and resulted in a 1-0 victory for Roma. Since 1929, Roma has won 58 derbies to Lazio's 45 derby victories, while 59 matches resulted in draws (these figures include all competitions, not just Serie A fixtures).

Not surprisingly, there is no love lost between Lazio supporters, who occupy the Curva Nord, and Roma supporters, who occupy the Curva Sud. And while violence does occur, the worst incident occurred in the Spring of 2004, when a riot broke out in the stands; however, the riot had more to do with the rumor that a young boy, near the stadium, had been killed by a police car. The game was ultimately suspended and the rumor proved false. But the truth did no come out until after the Ultras took to the streets to face the police (in recent years much of the major football violence in Italy has not been fans against fans, but fans joining forces against the police). In the end there was wreckage in the stands and in the streets and 170 police officers were injured.

The most emotional, in a peaceful way, Derby occurred this past spring when all the fans and players paid tribute to Lazio fan and Rome D.J. Gabriele Sandri who was shot and killed by police last November. Sandri was shot while sitting in a car at a motorway service station in Arezzo. Sandri's father was welcomed as a guest by Roma Ultras in the Curva Sud, Lazio scarf and all.

This year's Derby is important to Roma and its fans because of the team's poor form and slow start this season, while their bitter rivals have been winning and racking up points.

And now, scenes from derbies of the past:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dynamo Team Awards, Stadium Press Conference, & 1560 The Game Soccer Show

Well, the Dynamo were, unfortunately, knocked out of the MLS Playoffs by Red Bull New York this past Sunday, but the news must go on.

On November 11, the Dynamo held a their 2008 Dynamo Charities' Dynamo Awards, and the winners are:

Newcomer of the Year: Geoff Cameron
Dynamo Academy Player of the Year: Jorge Escobar
Dynamo Academy Players’ Player of the Year: Benjamin Saenz
Reserve Player of the Year: Kyle Brown
Game of the Year: Dynamo 2, Pachuca 0 (SuperLiga semifinals, July 29)
Defender of the Year: Bobby Boswell
Fan of the Year: Devin Brown
Team Spirit Award: Sandy Wahowski (Dynamo Girls)
USSF Humanitarian of the Year: Stuart Holden
Iron Man of the Year: Bobby Boswell (most MLS minutes played)
Young Player of the Year: Stuart Holden (U-23)
Budweiser Golden Boot: Brian Ching (most MLS goals)
Play of the Year: Geoff Cameron goal vs. FC Dallas, April 6
Forever Orange Award: Jen Cooper (outstanding outside contributor)
Fans’ Choice Award: Bobby Boswell (fan-voted MVP)
Most Valuable Player: Brian Ching

Congratulations from World Soccer Wrap to all the winners.

This Thursday, the 13th, there will be a press conference in support of building a Dynamo Stadium on the east side of Downtown Houston at 10:00 a.m., at the corner of Dowling & Rusk.

And, of course, there is a petition to support a Dynamo Stadium in Downtown Houston:

This past Monday I was honored to participate in another episode of The 1560 The Game Soccer Show, here is a podcast of the show's second half:

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Justice for the Dynamo

Despite being the most popular sport in the world, the typical U.S. sportswriter dismisses it, bashes it, and revels in his own self-imposed ignorance of the beautiful game.

That being said, I'm proud of Houston's own Richard Justice a/k/a "The Media" has written another great column about the Houston Dynamo:

Justice is a columnist and sportswriter for the Houston Chronicle,, with a focus on baseball. He's also a regular guest on 1560 The Game, the station that actually gave over an hour of airtime for a soccer show focusing on the Dynamo in the playoffs.

And I should note, this isn't the first time The Media has openly written about soccer:

After managing a 1-1 draw in the Meadowlands last week, the Dynamo will face the Red Bull in the second leg of the first round of the MLS Playoffs this Sunday at Robertson Stadium in Houston at 2:00 p.m. local time.

Meanwhile, after much silence on the topic, there has been a flurry of stadium talk discussion here in Houston:

As a citizen of Houston proper, it is time for the city to step up and move forward on the stadium issue.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Beckham to Milano, And it Ain't a Loan

So the big news here in the States and in Italy is the so-called "loan" of David Beckham to A.C. Milan. If you haven't figured it out by now, this won't be a loan, or if it is a loan it will be a Crespo style loan, and Milan will be picking up his salary while the L.A. Galaxy can move on, and seeing that they'll likely see the move Landon Donovan to a European side this winter, the Galaxy can tack that extra money and spend on, say, Marquez, rather than using it to build the kind of depth that a team like the Houston Dynamo has and making a serious run at the MLS Cup, for the first time in 4 years.

So what of this Beckham experience in the MLS? Was it a success or failure? Well, people who probably didn't know that the MLS existed before Beckham, now know about the MLS. Beckham came here, and his team could not dominate, so a sign that the rest of the MLS is better then what most Anglosnobs think? A resounding yes in my opinion.

Being here in Houston, and getting the privilege of dealing with a club that has its act together impacts my view of the league as a whole. And maybe TFC is not all that good, but some MLS matches, in my opinion, are more interesting then most EPL matches.

In the end, let's face it, Bruce Arena can't handle Beckham, and Beckham, after Ferguson and Capello, just can't take Arena seriously. Keeping Arena and Beckham in L.A. would just be adding another extra dose of fun to the dysfunctional that has engulfed L.A. these past couple years. Is Beckham in Serie A a good thing? Maybe for him, maybe for Posh, but I am looking forward to seeing Mexes take a nice, legal hit on Beckham.

Instead of catering to the Anglosnobs, the MLS needs to focus on the development of the youth in America (see the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas for example) and when it comes to foreign players, focus on youth, not older players. And might I suggest scouting Africa?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Houston Dynamo Clinch Top Spot in the Western Conference

Following tonight's 3-0 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy, the Houston Dynamo went up 8 points over Chivas USA, who, with only two matches left, can only pick up, at most 6 more points this season. With tonight's victory, the Houston Dynamo clinched the top spot in the MLS's Western Conference. Despite winning the MLS Cup in 2006 and 2007, the Houston Dynamo did not finish at the top of their conference in those seasons.

For more on the match, check out this week's episode of World Soccer Wrap, which will be available, for free, on iTunes.

Dynamo v. Galaxy: Tonight

I'm at Robertson Stadium and ready for the match. Instead of a live blog here, I'll be participating in the Live Chat at and on the blog at the Houston Chronicle:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Dynamo v. D.C. United: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

When the Houston Dynamo hosted D.C. United at Robertson Stadium on Sunday October 12, 2008, it was a scrappy, rough, and bloody game. DC clearly came into the match looking for a draw, looking for that one point to keep afloat in the lower edge of the Eastern Conference. And the squad that United fielded was full of young guys trying to secure a job in the MLS for next season. Let's face it, there was nothing pretty about this match, and after going down a man, DC was lucky that the Dynamo did not score a goal in the closing minutes of the match.

The good news for the Dynamo is that they picked up another point, extending their lead in the Western Conference by two points, with a game in hand.

The bad was that the Dynamo took some bruises, especially Midfielder Stuart Holden, but no long term damage was done.

The ugly occurred after the match and was caused by, unfortunately, a so-called Dynamo fan who took it upon himself to call United's Goalkeeper, Louis Crayton, a monkey, and made a going back to the jungle reference. This ugly, racist behaviour is despicable and thankfully it appears the Dynamo will not tolerate it. The individual was escorted from the stadium and banned from attending future matches. Kudos to the Dynamo, which, unlike some other clubs, has taken a firm stance when fans act stupidly. Remember folks, point and Boo!

For more on the incident:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Secret to the Dynamo's Success

Is no secret at all, really. It's a reliance on two great concepts, concepts that are just as all American as apple pie, baseball, Chevrolet, and soccer.

1. Hard work.
2. No excuses.

If nothing else, 2008 was an important year because really marked a true increase in the number of competitions involving multiple MLS teams. Much of this is due, of course, to the new CONCACAF Champions League which has increased the number of MLS teams involved in international competition. Unfortunately, MLS sides like New England Revolution, DC United, and Chivas USA have put forth rather dismal performances in this new competition, one that is modeled on the UEFA Champion's League. So far, the Houston Dynamo is the only MLS team to avoid embarrassing itself in the tournament - a 4-4 draw at Pumas (first result ever for an MLS side in Mexico City), and enjoyable 2-1 victory over San Francisco FC, whom they had a draw against in Panama City, Panama last month. With a game in hand, the Dynamo have 5 points and sit, comfortably, at the top of their group alongside Pumas.

In the wake of recent DC United and Revolution performances, the spin has been to point the finger at injuries, international call-ups, fixture congestion, and lack of roster depth due to the salary cap. While I sympathize with these issues, I can't help but think in the end, those issues still don't justify the results, especially Revolution's destruction at the hands of Joe Public.

Earlier this season, the Houston Dynamo were dealing with several injuries, and despite those injuries and a slow start, the Dynamo sit atop of the Western Conference and have secured a playoff berth. Meanwhile, in the CCL the Dynamo have fielded some interesting starting squads:

At Pumas last week, both Brian Ching and Brad Davis were left at home in Houston. And Dwayne DeRosario didn't get a start. Prior to the match, most fans and pundits thought a 0-0 result would be a great result for the Dynamo, nobody predicted the 4-4 goalfest that occurred.

When Pumas rolled into Houston this week, instead of fielding a squad full of typical Dynamo starters so as to ensure picking up 3 points at home, Coach Kinnear give starting opportunities to several players who get little playing time outside of the reserve games: Chris Wondolowski (scored a goal in the 13th minute), and Mike Chabala, as well as starting Corey Ashe and Geoff Cameron, typical subs during MLS matches. More interesting was the presence of Guy-Roland Kpene, John Michael Hayden, and Kyle Brown, who did get subbed in for Brian Mullan in the 56th minute.

As both a journo and a fan, it was great to see these players get called up for an important international match, and deliver.

Okay, the point of that lengthy discussion - MLS clubs can succeed in the CCL and the MLS and SuperLiga, despite the international call-ups, injuries, fixture congestion, and insanely low salary cap. Thanks to the leadership of Oliver Luck and Dominic Kinnear, the Dynamo have been able to, despite these constraints that exist in the MLS, to create a successful squad with depth. They have been able to create a roster that opens opportunities for the club, opportunities that don't exist because DPs and other marquee players consume too much of the dollars available under the cap (can you say Galaxy?).

In my time covering the Dynamo, one thing has become clear: Coach Kinnear does not accept excuses. If you play for him, and you spend most of the season with the reserves team you're still expected to work hard in practice all week, and when you get the chance to start in an MLS match, or CCL match, or SuperLiga match, etc. then you better go out there and play like you've been starting all season, no excuses. You give it your all or you'll soon be seeing Houston in your rearview mirror.

It's a simple formula, put together a squad that will work hard and not use excuses to limit their drive and performance.

Now, I did mislead a bit. There are two secret aspects to this that I haven't cracked, but have theories on: (1) maintaining a squad that includes skilled players that don't get as much playing time as they would elsewhere, (2) getting the full potential of players who have not shined as well as at their previous clubs.

Let's face it, players like Chabala, Wondolowski, and Brown could be starting at other clubs, and even making more money in the USL or clubs in certain leagues in Europe. These players have good skills and can be relied on to step up when called upon. The success at Houston for players like Joseph Ngwenya (now at Antalyaspor in Turkey), Nate Jaqua, Kai Kamara, and Bobby Boswell (who was wrongly scapegoated by DC United), is a testament to Coach Kinnear's ability to get great play and performances out of his players. My theory is that Coach Kinnear is one of those great former player coaches, someone who understands and conect with his players without ever losing his authority and command of the team.

It's no secret when the team made the move from San Jose to Houston, many within the team were apprehensive about the move, and rightly sad about leaving San Jose. But despite all that, in their first two years here, they have won the MLS Cup and have a good shot at winning it this year. They also have a good shot at being the only MLS side to move beyond the group stage of the CCL.

Over a decade ago, the coach of another Houston team, Rudy Tomjanovich, proclaimed: "Never underestimate the heart of a champion!" A proclamation that has come to epitomize Houston's newest team, the Dynamo.

Yes, the salary cap in the MLS is pathetically low, yes there is fixture congestion, yes the MLS still schedules fixtures during FIFA breaks, and yes injuries can hamstring you . . . but the Houston Dynamo have shown that if you work hard and refuse to make excuses, you can win and you can succeed.

As always, you can hear my Dynamo report on the flagship World Soccer Wrap show, as well as my weekly show - World Soccer Wrap: Serie A, free by subscribing to World Soccer Wrap podcasts on iTunes.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Monday Round-Up

We'll start with the good news, the Houston Dynamo clinch their third straight playoffs berth thanks to Saturday's 3-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids.

Up next for the Dynamo is a CONCACAF Champions League match against San Francisco FC at Robertson Stadium tomorrow night (Tuesday Oct. 7) at 9:00 pm cst. The Dynamo are selling ticket packages - $45 for 4 tickets. This will be the Dynamo's first home game since Hurricane Ike. On Sunday they host DC Unitd and kick off a week long effort to raise money and soccer equipment for local youth soccer clubs that were hurt by the storm.

Now the bad news, at least for me, Roma dropped another game this weekend losing 1-0 to Siena. Meanwhile, Juventus lost to Palermo, 2-1, Inter beat Bologna, 2-1, and Cagliari held Milan to a 0-0 draw. Lazio only managed a 1-1 draw against Lecce, meanwhile Fiorentina beat Chievo Verona 2-0.

Just when it looks like things are starting to gel for Roma, the lose a match. I still think Spalletti should be given more time, but I know how things go in Italy and his job might be on the line. Maybe it is a good thing this weekend is a FIFA break.

I'm thrilled to see that Bradley has called up Altidore and Torres for the upcoming WQ Matches. I'm really interested in seeing Torres get his first cap for the USA. Meanwhile, Guiseppi Rossi has been called up by Italy's Senior team.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Roma's Comeback nets them 3 points in Champions League

After getting beat by Cluj on Match Day One of the group stage of the UEFA Champion's League, A.S. Roma needed an away win at Bordeaux to insure that their hopes of advancing to the knockout round stayed alive - even coach Luciano Spalletti promised that Roma would thrash Bordeaux. Things did not start out well for Roma when Gourcuff found the back of the net for Bordeaux in the 18th minute, and the score remained the same going into halftime.

But Roma found itself in the second half and Vucinic scored an equalizer in the 64th minute. The win came courtesy of Baptista's goals in the 71st and 83rd minutes.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pumas v. Dynamo - Live Blog

That's the match - 4-4 is the result. Dynamo can't complain.

Why does this moron keep calling Kamari Kamara??? Good save for Pumas, whatever.

Yep, he's coming on.

Looks like we'll be seeing DeRo tonight.

61 Min: Mulrooney on for Clark.

52nd Min: GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Waibel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This has been one exciting match and no matter the outcome, for the Dynamo to get 3 goals in the first half against Pumas in Mexico City, nothing to hang your head about.

End of First Half - Pumas 4 - 3 Dynamo

Stoppage Time Goal for Pumas.

2 minutes of stoppage time.

43 Min: Jaqua comes close to goal 4 for Dynamo, but misses.

42nd Min: Goal for Pumas, knotted up again

36th Min: Big save by Pat Onstad.

34 Min: GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Kamara gets his second of the night on the penalty kick, 3-2 Dymamo!

33 Min: Penalty in the box, Dynamo get a penalty kick.

27th Min: Goal for Pumas, Juarez gets the rebound off the wall and puts it in the net.

26 Min: Yellow to Eddie Robinson, and FSC folks SHUT-UP.

23 Min: Brian Mullan is coming in for the injured Stuart Holden.

20th Min: Goal for Pumas (Lopez) even though a Dynamo player is down. Again we see the bias against U.S. teams when they travel south of the border.

Cameron had a beautiful cross to Kai on that goal. Kai has been a great addition for the Dynamo.

17th Min: GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Kai Kamara gets goal #2 for the Dynamo!!!!

14th Min: Dynamo come close on a corner from Holden . . . he's the dead ball expert tonight since Davis didn't make the trip.

Actually, Onstad is starting in goal tonight, not Caig.

4th Minute: GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WAIBEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Match is underway, and with a starting temp of 59 degrees, the Dynamo have broken out the long sleeve shirts.

For the Dynamo:


Waibel - Boswell - Robinson - Barrett

Ashe - Clark - Holden - Cameron

Jaqua - Kamara

Let's hope the Dynamo make use of the heigh advantage.

The Dynamo are in Mexico City, and their third country in three matches. Stadium does not look that full, but then again this is a group stage match. Hmmm, FSC's music had a Miami Vice quality at the beginning.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Here he goes again . . .

Since the start of the 208-09 Serie A season, Jose Mourinho has really had a rocky relationship with the press and others within Serie A, some of which is discussed on the latest episode of World Soccer Wrap: Serie A (now available for free on iTunes). The latest controversy involving the Special One . . . He has now basically said that outside of Italy, Serie A is a very small league and he feels that Italians really don't care about the league's perception in the rest of the world. And more bizarre, he has accussed Italians of not being as in love with football as he had thought.

Despite all of his contributions to football, I really think Jose is a bit off base here. Jose, time for you to focus on what is happening on the pitch because off of the pitch, you're digging a big hole for yourself. I think you need to take some time to hit Latin America and South America where the football of the Spanish and Italian leagues is much preferred to that found in the EPL, the commercial entity that overshadows all other European leagues despite a product that isn't all that consistent.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dynamo Hurricane Relief Week

Here's the latest press release from the Dynamo:

HOUSTON, TX (Thursday, September 25, 2008) – The Houston Dynamo announced they will use their next three home matches to help the Houston area recover from Hurricane Ike with Dynamo Hurricane Relief Week.

To benefit recovery efforts, the Dynamo will honor local emergency workers, collect monetary donations and soccer equipment for local clubs, and conduct several Dynamo Charities fundraisers during their games October 12, October 15, and October 18. All proceeds will be distributed to Houston- and Galveston-area soccer clubs by the South Texas Youth Soccer Association on behalf of Dynamo Charities.

Before each game, the Dynamo Drive Series, presented by Infinity Insurance, will collect soccer equipment in conjunction with the U.S. Soccer Foundation Passback Program, the South Texas Youth Soccer Association, and MLS Works to benefit local teams affected by Hurricane Ike. The Dynamo will also set up donation centers around the stadium for each game. Donations may be made online via Dynamo Charities, beginning next week.

“It is our hope that by helping kids to return to the soccer fields, we can play a part in bringing things back to normal and adding something positive to those most negatively affected,” Dynamo Chief Operating Officer Chris Canetti said.

For the Sunday, October 12 game against D.C. United, presented by The Methodist Hospital System, the Dynamo will invite local first responders to participate in an on-field ceremony. All Dynamo proceeds from on-site parking will benefit youth soccer teams, as will proceeds from an auction for jerseys worn in that night’s game. The Methodist Hospital System will be on hand conducting a blood drive.

On Wednesday, October 15, when the Dynamo host the San Jose Earthquakes in a game postponed from September 20 by Hurricane Ike, the Dynamo will offer free tickets to children aged 14 and under and $10 tickets to adults for the 8:00 p.m. match, presented by Bud Light. A portion of the ticket proceeds will go toward helping local soccer clubs affected by the hurricane.

When the Dynamo host the Los Angeles Galaxy at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 18, presented by Amigo Energy, the Dynamo will hold an on-field presentation to announce their contribution to hurricane relief efforts.

Currently in first place in the MLS Western Conference, the Dynamo (10-5-9, 39 points) will return to action on Saturday, September 27, with an afternoon road contest against Toronto FC. Houston’s next home game is a CONCACAF Champions League game against San Francisco F.C. on October 7. For more information, please log on to or call (713) 276-7500.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

CONCACAF Champions League Match Rescheduled

The Dynamo home match against CD Luis Angel Firpo that was postponed due to Hurricane Ike has been rescheduled for November 26, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. local time. Tickets with the original date will be honored at the gate.

As I type this, the Dynamo are in the 25th minute of their match at Estadio Rod Carew against San Francisco FC in Panama City, Panama.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Match Day 3 in Serie A

Both Roma and A.C. Milan picked up their first wins of the season this weekend. Roma kept a clean sheet against Reggina with a 3-0 victory on Saturday and Milan took on undefeated Lazio on Sunday evening and came away with a 4-1 win. Atalanta sufferred its first lost, Fiorentina beat Bologna, and Lecce picked up another point. More about this week in Serie A can be heard on World Soccer Wrap and World Soccer Wrap: Serie A.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Update III

Power has been restored to World Soccer Wrap's Houston Bureau, finally.

The Dynamo v. San Jose match has been moved to October 15, with a 8:00 p.m. local time start. The CONCACAF Champions League match from Wednesday will be rescheduled.

Robertson Stadium, home of the Dynamo has been utilized as a FEMA Point of Distribution a/k/a a POD. Today Coach Dominic Kinnear and several Dynamo Players volunteered at the POD and handed out ice, food, water, etc. to Houston residents affected by Hurricane Ike.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Update II

This weekend's Dynamo v. San Jose match has been postponed.

Still no power at World Soccer Wrap's Houston Bureau.


Taking advantage of some free wi-fi right now. We survived the storm, no serious damage, but still without power.

Houston Dynamo were going to play the San Jose Earthquakes at Robertson stadium on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. - free admission for children and first responders, with ticket proceeds going to support a youth soccer program that was damaged by Ike. Last I heard though the Mayor of Houston was putting pressure on everyone to post-pone events scheduled for Saturday.

The CONCACAF Champions League match that was scheduled for tonight has been rescheduled for October 15.

That's all for now as my battery runs down.

Friday, September 12, 2008

This Weekend

Hi folks, not sure if there will be a new episode of World Soccer Wrap: Serie A this weekend. We in Houston are preparing for the arrival of Ike, which will likely knock out my power supply. We'll see if I'm up and running again by Sunday, but I doubt it.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Live from Houston - Dynamo v. Wizards

Nate Jaqua is the Amigo Energy Man of the Match, as well as the World Soccer Wrap Man of the Match.

That's the match, Dynamo win 3 - 0 over KC, not the KC team we saw in the playoffs last year, that's for sure.

2 minutes of stoppage time.

89th Min. - Over 14,000 in attendance today and many are headed to the A/C in their cars.

87th Min. - GOAL! this one for KC, by Davy Arnaud. No assist.

85th Min. - Three straight corners for Dynamo, but no result on those set pieces. KC finally cleared it.

83rd Min. - Jaqua out and Cameron in for Houston. Good game for Jaqua, great to have him back. Kai just had a nice run, but no goal.

70th Min - Ashe in and Davis out for Dynamo. Wolff out and Gomez in for Kansas City.

68th Min, - GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nate Jaqua gets his second goal of the match, Waibel gets the assist - it's now Dynamo 3 - 0 Wizards.

59th Min. - Yellow card to KC's Carlos Marinelli.

54th Min. - GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nate Jaqua, with assists to Holden and Kamara.

Second half is underway in Houston. Went down to see the Texian Army, give them credit, it's hot out there folks.

That's Half-Time. Dynamo 1 - 0 Wizards.

1 Minute of stoppage time.

That was Kai's first assist in the MLS.

Tony Caig in goal. Onstad, DeRo, Clark, and Ching all off on national call-ups. US barely beat Cuba last night.

About 90 degrees here today, sunny. But, thankfully, the humidity is low.

28th Min - GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Brad Davis, assist to Kai Kamara. Great unselfish play for Kamara gettin the ball back to Davis.

Real Salt Lake had a draw with L.A. Galaxy last night.

A couple good saves by Tony Caig and some good offensive chances for the Dynamo so far.

Kai Kamara starting up front with Nate Jaqua.

It's the 23rd min., took some time to get the computer booted up, but nothing has happened so far. Still Nil - Nil.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

CCL - Revolution v. Joe Public

Wow, it's the 49th minute and this match and tie are down. Joe Public came into tonight's match with 2-1 agg. lead. Now they are up 3-0 at Foxboro, that's a 5-1 agg. with three of those as away goals.

Congratulations to Joe Public for advancing to the group stage.

Tickets for Dynamo v. Galaxy go on Sale

Individual tickets for the Dynamo v. Galaxy match on October 18, 2008 at Robertson Stadium go on sale Wednesday Sept. 3, 2008.

For more info, go to:


Sunday, August 31, 2008

Live from Houston - Dynamo v. Fire

That's Match, Dynamo Win! With this win, Dynamo sweep the Fire in 2008. Final Score, Dynamo 2 - Fire 1!

4 Minutes of Stoppage time.

88 Min. - 22,554 here at Robertson Estadio tonight.

88 Min. - Holden in for Davis, Houston's final sub.

87th Min. - Final sub for Chicago, Pappa in for Segares.

86th Min. - Patrick Ianni subs in for Eddie Robinson.

84th Min. - Eddie Robinson is down in front of the net. Doesn't look good at the moment.

82nd Min. - Nice anti-Blanco banner from Texian Army.

79th Min - Houston makes a sub, Kai on for Jaqua (I would have taken Ching off).

76th Min. - Chicago make another substitution - Banner on for Prideaux.

70th Min. - Soumare uses the horse collar on Jaqua.

70th Min. - I think it's time to take Ching off and put Kai on.

67th Min. - Chicago makes substitution - Herron on for Mapp.

62nd Min. - Yellow card, this time to Chicago's Blanco.

59th Min - Yellow card to Chicago's Soumare.

Second half is underway.

That's half-time, scoreline is Dynamo 2 - Fire 1.

At least 2 minutes of stoppage.

39th Min: Goal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Brian Mullan, with assists from Brad Davis & Nate Jaqua.

35th-36th Min: Brad Davis gets really really close again.

20th Min: Clock is . . . . umm was . . . oh maybe is fixed.

Uh-Oh - Clock problem, it's going backwards, someone must thing the Cougars are still playing.

Not game related, but great image from

13th Min. - Which turns into a throw-in for Dynamo. With no goal.

12th Min. - Brad Davis get's very close on a free kick. And now a corner for Dynamo.

9th Min. - Dynamo were getting close to a second goal.

7th Min. - DeRo responds with a goal of his own!!!

5th Min. - Fire draw first blood. McBride with an assist from Blanco. McBride's first MLS goal since 2003.

John Thorrington already down on the pitch in the 3rd minute.

Dynamo in full on orange kits.

Starting are Onstad, Mulrooney, Boswell, Robinson, Barrett, Mullan, Clark DeRo, Davis, Ching, Jaqua.

For the Fire:

Busch, Prideaux, Conde, Soumare, Segares, Thorrington, Blanco, Pause, Mapp, McBride, Rolfe.

Game underway, about 93 degrees here and some pre-game rain.

I'm here at Robertson Stadium tonight for the Dynamo v. Fire match.

I'll sporadically update.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hurricane Season - NSR

Well it's that time of year here along the Gulf Coast when storms develop and the television weathermen, and Wayne Dolcefino, get overly excited. For news and information that what been freaking out and in turn freaking you out, here's some good links:

Harris County's Homeland Security & Emergancy Management

NoLa - from The Times-Picayune

Houston Chronicle

Channel 2, KPRC - Houston, Texas (the best local television weather team)

National Weather Service:

National Hurricane Center:

Live in Houston area and want to be a volunteer? Here you go:

Friday, August 29, 2008

New Episode Available & Serie A Predictions

Episode 24 of World Soccer Wrap: Serie A is available for free on iTunes. I apologize for the delay, it seems Apple was giving us trouble again.

For the record, here are my predictions for how the table will look at the end of the season:

1. Milan
2. Roma
3. Juventus
4. Internazionale
5. Napoli
6. Fiorentina
7. Sampdoria
8. Udinese
9. Lazio
10. Atalanta
11. Genoa
12. Siena
13. Bologna
14. Palermo
15. Torino
16. Reggina
17. Catania
18. Cagliari
19. Chievo
20. Lecce

I discuss my reasoning in more detail on the latest episode.

Remember to send me your predictions, the one who gets it right are as close to possible wins a prize:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Italian SuperCoppa & Red Bull v. Dynamo

Inter wins the SuperCoppa on penalties. The first silverware for Jose Mourinho in the Serie A.

Overtime ends, with 2-2.

English video feed is back up at:

Into second half of overtime, score is still 2-2.

You can watch the match, in Italian at:

You can listen to the match, in Italian at:

Dynamo fall to Red Bull with a 3-0 score. Extra time in Milano, but my feed is gone.

90 minutes over in Milano, score is 2-2

5 Minutes stoppage??? Really??

90th Min: GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Vucinic scores a second goal for Roma! 2-2!

Time to bring Totti onto the pitch.

83rd Min GOAL!!! Balotelli for Inter (Balotelli came in for Figo in the 66th)

Good move by Coach Kinnear, Geoff Cameron in for Eddie Robinson. EdRob was not looking good today.

60th Min NY/HOU: GOAL!!!! Magee for Red Bull.

Holden in for DeRo at the Meadowlands. Then Holden gets roughed up some.

Second Half starts in New York

59th Min: GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! De Rossi, Roma gets the equalizer!!!!!!!!!

Totti stretching, getting ready to come on the pitch. Roma needs some offensive leadership.

Second half underway in Milano.

Red Bull 2 - 0 Houston at halftime in the Meadowlands.

Inter 1 - 0 Roma at halftime

1 minute of stoppage in Milano.

26th Min - NY/HOU: GOAL! for Red Bull, Richards broke loose and Onstad couldn't stop it.

40th Min: Yellow to Ibrahimovic

Weird to see Mancini in an Inter kit.

9th Min - NY/Hou - GOAL! by Angel for Red Bull.

17th Min: GOAL! by Muntari for Inter Milan.

Meanwhile, the Red Bull New York v. Houston Dynamo match is underway. Ching is not starting, Jaqua and Kamara are the starting forwards.

14th Min: Ibrahimovic comes close again, he's looking dangerous, he's looking like his pre-injury self again.

9th Min: Aquilani tries and misses. (sorry about spelling errors, this is on the fly).

6th Min: Ibrahimovic comes real close to getting a goal.

Match is underway. Totti is in his kit, but on the bench. He might be used by Spalletti, he might not.

Where: San Siro, Milano, Italia

Who: Inter Milan v. Roma

Italian SuperCoppa - Where Available

I've heard that if you're in the states and have RAI International, it is available there.

It is also available for free on and Justin.Tv

Enjoy the match.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Calcio Femminile

As World Soccer Wrap: Serie A enters its first full season of coverage, I intend on extending my tradition of stretching the show's reach beyond just Serie A. This year I'd like to include some coverage of Calcio Femminile, but it's hard to find news on it, so I'm reaching out and asking that if you play in Calcio Femminile and are interested in providing me with news, results, etc. then please contact me at:

For those interested in learning more about Calcio Femminile, here's some links:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Honouring Franco Sensi

The departed A.S. Roma Patron and President will be laid to rest at the basilica of S. Lorenzo fuori le mura on Wednesday August 20, 2008. On that same date, the Italian National Team will be playing a friendly against Austria in Nice. In honor of Franco Sensi, the Azzurri will be wearing black armbands during that match and there will be a minute of silence in his honour prior to the match.

Meanwhile, there is talk of building a new stadium in Rome, one that will be named after Sensi.

It goes without saying that my thoughts and prayers are with the Sensi family, as well as the entire extended A.S. Roma family.

Here is the tribute of Roma Captain Francesco Totti, the son that Sensi never had:

"The death of president Sensi is very painful. We have lost a figure of pivotal reference in the history of Roma and this sport, but above all a man who was kind, passionate, true.

"He leaves us with 15 years of love which will remain indelible in my mind and my heart.

"Every day I spent with him is unforgettable, but the memory that I have most fixed in my mind at this time is that day at the Circo Massimo and his happiness.

"He loved Roma and did so much for this club and also on a personal level for so many players."

Monday, August 18, 2008

Rest in Peace - Franco Sensi

Following a bout with a long illness, one that has kept him in Rome hospital for the past two months, Franco Sensi, president of A.S. Roma, died at the age of 82. Sensi, who made his fortune in oil, bought the majority share of the Italian club in 1993, a time when Roma was on the verge of bankruptcy.

His funeral is scheduled for Wednesday.,19528,11854_4004835,00.html

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Houston Dynamo defeat Real Salt Lake, Control First Place

Saturday night the Houston Dynamo defeated Real Salt Lake 4-3 and took control of first place in the Western Conference. For more about the match and to hear post-game comments from Coach Dominic Kinnear, Brad Davis, Pat Onstad, Ricardo Clark, Nate Jaqua, and Brian Mullan, be sure to subscribe to the free World Soccer Wrap (c) podcast on iTunes. And don't forget to download World Soccer Wrap: Serie A (c).

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Saturday Match Day in Houston

After a much deserved and needed week off from matches, the Houston Dynamo return to the pitch tonight at Robertson Stadium in Houston, where they'll be hosting Western Conference leaders, Real Salt Lake. The Dynamo are only one point behind RSL, while FC Dallas is one point behind Houston, which means this is a big, important match for the Dynamo, a match where the 3 points will be very, very important for the Dynamo.

The good news for the Dynamo, but bad news for U.S. Soccer, is that midfielder Stuart Holden and defender Patrick Ianni are back from China where they were part of the U.S. Men's soccer team. I suspect that both will start on the bench. Holden played a substantial part in all three of the men's team matches in China, so a little extra rest is in order. Since Eddie Robinson and Richard Mulrooney have been cleared to start for the Dynamo tonight, I suspect Ianni will also be on the bench.

Brian Ching will miss Wednesday's match against Chivas USA since he'll be playing with the USMNT as it takes on Guatemala in World Cup Qualifying (no wonder MLS schedules matches when international matches are taking place, CONCACAF schedules matches during important tournaments like the Olympics), but Ching will be available for the Dynamo tonight.

And of course there is the weather factor here in Houston. It is currently a little before 2:30 p.m. local time and Houston has been experiencing heavy, but scattered, thunderstorms. The rain has been heavy enough that there is localized flooding, such as at my in-laws' house in Baytown.,5143,700251287,00.html

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Good News for A.S. Roma

News coming out of Rome is that Roma Captain Francesco Totti is fully recovered from his ACL injury and subsequent surgery. He's played 30 minutes, and scored in a goal, in a friendly against Egypt's Al-Ahly and will be available for the SuperCoppa on August 24.

Additionally, after months of speculation and rumor, Real Madrid and Roma have come to terms on a deal that will see Julio Baptista join the Giallorossi.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Return of Baggio?

Looks like football legend Roberto Baggio is set for a return to Brescia, as a manager:

New Episodes of World Soccer Wrap

Episode 80 of World Soccer Wrap and Episode 22 of World Soccer Wrap: Serie A are available for free on iTunes and at:

This week on World Soccer Wrap: Serie A, a look at the Court ruling in favor of a Napoli fan against Inter Milan, the war of words between the gaffers of Inter and Juve, and Italy's first game in the olympics, as well as the quiet transfer market.

This week on World Soccer Wrap - the situation at L.A. Galaxy.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Drinking in L.A.

The first part of the title does not really have anything to do with this blog post, but, not surprisingly, the last part of the title does.

Yesterday I posted my take on how Beckham in the MLS is a success, partly because the Galaxy are not dominating the league, and I posted that knowing that the Galaxy, its FO, and its fans want to be dominating the league and I can't blame them.

So, it wasn't surprising that in light of their current form, AEG decided to pull the trigger on Alexi Lalas and Ruud Gullit today. As of now, Cobi Jones has been promoted to interim manager of the club.

For some time I've been of the position that Alexi Lalas should not be GM at Galaxy, or anywhere else. His track record as GM is not anything to write home about. What he should be is a PR guy, a promoter for a club or MLS in general, he's good at that, he doesn't seem good at running the day to day affairs of a club.

At the beginning of the season I would have put my money on Lalas departing mid-season, but Gullit hanging on longer. But that isn't the case as seen by today's events, and when word went out that Gullit's house was on the market, you knew it wasn't going to last much longer.

I don't know if Gullit was given enough time to adjust to the MLS and the salary cap and its limitations, but he's gone. I hope all the best for Cobi, I think that would be a great story if one of the best known American players of chapter one of the Post-Modern Era of American Soccer could transition into being a great coach. Sadley, I fear that Cobi is already hamstrung by the situation at Galaxy and it won't really give us a good idea if Cobi has what it takes to become a MLS coach.

I think the big lesson that MLS clubs will learn from today's events, and the Galaxy's season, is that when you have the majority of your salary cap tied up by three players, you really sacrifice at all other positions.

Last week's events concerning the SuperLiga bonus money is the first salvo, in my opinion, of what is going to become a very contentious negotiations regarding the next MLS Collective Bargaining Agreement. Is the MLS set for its very first lock-out or strike? Very possibly.

BUT . . . .

The problems at the Galaxy might be a godsend to the players, in that by the time it comes to put rubber to the road with the next CBA, AEG might be putting pressure on the owners to expand the payscale and the salary cap, and in light of AEG's history with the league, other owners are more likely to give into the idea. Additionally, one hopes, that the growing number of wealthy owners in the MLS might be looking for the opportunity to flex a little more spending power.

Should be an interesting couple of years ahead of us.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


It has been just over a year now since David Beckham made the move from Real Madrid to the L.A. Galaxy, enough time to more accurately gauge what Beckham means to the MLS and whether his presence has benefitted the MLS.

In my opinion, to date, the Beckham MLS experiement has been a success. Maybe not so much for Beckham personally, or even the Galaxy as a club, but for the MLS as a whole, it has been a success.

Beckham did his part for the MLS before he ever slipped on the Galaxy kit or laced up his boots at the Home Depot Center. Merely by inking the deal with the Galaxy, Beckham brought the MLS a huge amount of attention and made sports journalists in the U.S. and abroad pay attention to the MLS, including the likes of Jim Rome, who might not have changed his ignorant soccer bashing ways, but he had to pay attention.

Unfortunately, when Beckham arrived, he was hampered by an injury, which was aggrevated further when Beckham, like any top level athlete is prone to do, took to the pitch before letting the injury properly heal. Still not fully recovered when the Galaxy faced Pachuca in the group stage of SuperLiga 2007, myself and others were chagrined to see Beckham start against a FMF side that is very physical and willing to go for the weak spots of opposing players, so it was not a huge surprise to see Beckham go down with a new injury.

Granted Beckham's rocky start was fodder for the soccer haters and AngloSnobs, but really, did we expect anything less of them. Even if Beckham did not have the injury problems the haters would have found something else to pick on and pick apart.

I believe, suspect that the presence of Beckham in the MLS proved beneficial in the off-season to those clubs looking to recruit young talent from South America and other locales. The presence of Beckham in the MLS had to give the league a higher reputation in the eyes of young players looking to make a name for themselves.

As for this season, Beckham is fully recovered from his injuries of last season and has become an important, key player on his squad, a crucial competent in the many of the 38 goals scored by the Galaxy so far this season. However . . . .

And this is why the Beckham in MLS is a success story . . .

The Galaxy are not leading the Western Conference, are not a contender for the Supporter's Shield, and, after just over half a season, have 23 points with 6 wins, 8 losses, and 5 ties.

The Galaxy have not dominated the MLS. Beckham, despite his skill level, has not dominated the MLS. And we all know that if Beckham and the Galaxy dominated, then the haters would latch onto that as further evidence of their already dim, ill-informed view of the MLS and U.S. soccer.

Granted, the Galaxy might have a better record if they had a better defense, but they don't and even if they did I suspect that, based on watching their play, would merely turn a couple of those losses into ties, which would put them in contention but they would still not be dominating the league.

So, in my opinion, the Beckham in MLS experience has a been a good, successful ride, despite some bumps in the road.

Mourinho v. Ranieri

The war of words has already started:

Friday, August 8, 2008

Napoli Fan Wins Existential Damage Case

An Italian Court, based in Naples, has ordered Inter Milan to pay 1,500 Euros to a Napoli supporter who sued the Milano side for existential damage. This suit stems from the match last October when Napoli played, and lost to, Inter Milan at the San Siro. Inter supporters flew banners and chanted songs disparging the southern city of Naples, primarliy referencing the garbage problem due to a dispute between the city and the Camorra controlled waste services companies.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Stuart Holden scores winning goal for USA

(c) Associated Press

Well, Houston Dynamo midfielder Stuart Holden did the U.S. proud, scoring the only going in the team's victory over Japan, in the 47th minute in their opening match of Olympic group play. Today's win gave the US team an important 3 points, which will be crucial to their desire to advance beyond the group stage. The U.S. are in Group B, which includes, in addition to Japan, the Netherlands and Nigeria, neither of which can be taken lightly.

Thanks goes to the Dynamo organization for making the above picture from the Associated Press available for use. Speaking of the AP, here's their report on the match:

And here are some other reports:

I should also note that Italy's Olympic team, which has no players over the age of 23, also won its opening match, beating Honduras 3-0. Among those scoring goals for Italy was Guiseppe Rossi, who was born in New Jersey to Italian parents (he was a topic of the most recent episode of World Soccer Wrap: Serie A).

Monday, August 4, 2008

Some Good Stuff from the Houston Chronicle

Columnist Richard Justice penned a nice column regarding fan support for the Houston Dynamo:

Bernardo Fallas blogs about an agreement that no matter who wins on Tuesday, the Dynamo and Revolution will spilt the $1 million SuperLiga prize:

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Who is Edouard???

Two words best describe the weather of late here in Houston, and they both start with H - - - Hot and Humid. Saturday night the temp was hovering at 100 degrees when the Dynamo took the pitch at Robertson Stadium. The good news is, that the heat took a bigger toll on the Columbus Crew then it did the Dynamo. Check for my report on that match as well as the SuperLiga semifinal in which the Dynamo finally defeated Pachuca on this week's episode of World Soccer Wrap. My report features post match comments from Coach Dominic Kinnear, Corey Ashe, Brad Davis, and Pat Onstad. I also managed to corner new Dynamo forward Kai Kamara so we could discuss this new chapter in his professional career. As always, the latest show will be available, for free, on iTunes.

As of yesterday, it appeared that Houston would be hot and rain free for days to come, so I was pleasently surprised to hear rain on the roof while I was watching Generation Kill tonight (if you have not watched that miniseries, do so, right away). Then the 10 o'clock news alerted me to the presence of a Tropical Storm called Edouard that seems intent on growing into a hurricane and coming ashore somewhere in the Houston-Galveston vicinity early this week. I guess it was a good thing for the SuperLiga final to be in New England afterall . . .

A quick and belated congratulations to the Lions of Bergamo, on July 19, they defeated the Giants of Bolzano, 56 - 54, in the Italian Super Bowl. Yes folks, they do play football Americano in Italy, and the Lions, unlike their namesake in Detroir, are a powerhouse.

Speaking of Italy, the latest episode of World Soccer Wrap: Serie A will be available soon on iTunes. This week, in a suprisingly long show, I discuss the Supercoppa and the likilhood that it will not be in the Meadowlands this year, the potential strike of players in the lower leagues, the viability of lower leagues in the face of the worldwide credit crunch, Mr. Rossi of New Jersey but playing for the Italian Olympic squad, and the Italian diaspora.

A quick reminder, I still want your Serie A predictions for how the table will look at the end of the season, send your predictions to

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Reflections on SuperLiga

Well, we now know that the SuperLiga Final will be another Dynamo - Revolution rematch. But in the wake of Chivas' reaction to getting bounced and the reaction of both Atlante and Pachuca after losing in the Semifinals, there seems to be many of a prediction that we might not see SuperLiga 2009 because the FMF or at least its clubs won't want to participate.

My response - Whatever . . . Look if Pachuca, Atlante, and Chivas are so besides themselves about getting bounced, then their reaction should be, if they're really the top flight clubs they fancy themselves as, would be to return next summer and redeem themselves. Chelsea lost to ManU on penalty kicks in the ECL Final, I don't hear concern they won't participate in the ECL this year - or that the Gooners, or Real Madrid, or Barca won't compete either.

What the Mexican clubs need to realize is that their style of play can result in more fouls being called in international competition then in their fixtures, and then adjust to that. Complaining and pouting won't change that, and they know it. But, they do have to save face at the hands of a local/national press that can make life look easy for the New York Yankees when dealing with the NY press during a ten game losing streak. Fine, but that's still no real excuse for post match dust-ups or taking your ball and going home.

As for Chivas . . . You claim you didn't understand the rules?? Too bad, so sad, I don't believe you. You thought Atlante would be a cake walk, afterall you just beat Houston who demolished Atlante. Guess what Chivas, you're lucky the scoreline wasn't bigger, Atlante understood the rules and didn't back down.

And you apologists who want to always point out that the Mexican clubs are in preseason, well that doesn't hold much water seeing that the 2008 Clausura ended on May 31, SuperLiga started on July 12, and the 2008 Apertura began on July 26, these squads don't have the luxury of taking it easy during June, even if there wasn't SuperLiga - this isn't like the Serie A clubs who get all of June off and don't report to camp until late July, and don't start their fixtures till the end of August.

SuperLiga 2007 was fun, SuperLiga 2008 has been great (game I most wanted to be at was Chivas v. Atlante).

I'm looking forward to an even better SuperLiga 2009, and if some Mexican clubs aren't interested cause they don't want to be defeated at the hands of an MLS side, well too bad, so sad, guess you're not a big jersey club afterall.

My biggest complaint about SuperLiga 2009, the true travesty is that the final will be in the empty cavern in New England, not at Robertson Stadium in Houston. Seeing that Houston won the MLS Cup, they should have home field advantage over the Revs.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dynamo defeat Pachuca, Advance to SuperLiga Final

In a rematch of last year's SuperLiga Semifinal, the Houston Dynamo hosted Pachuca tonight, a team which the Dynamo faced three times last year, creating an enduring rivalry. Last year the Dynamo were unable to advance past Pachuca, but tonight the Dynamo managed a 2-0 victory thanks to goals from Bobby Boswell and Corey Ashe, as well as great games from Geoff Cameron and Bobby Boswell (looking good in the defense).

My initial impression, Pachuca came in thinking they had already won and played a conservative, defensive match. The only serious offensive push from Pachuca came early in the second half, but they were shut-down by the Dynamo. Meanwhile, the Dynamo using a 3-4-3 or 2-1-4-3 formation was looking to score and getting very dangerous on set pieces. Boswell scored the winning goal on a set piece in the 77th minute, a goal that enabled the Dynamo to play for possession - not 10 men behind the ball like some teams, but a keep control and grind the game out. Ten minutes later, Corey Ashe, making up for last year's red card, sealed up the match for the Dynamo.

Sadly, Pachuca were poor losers and some post-match dust-ups occurred on the pitch. But all in all a great and historic night of soccer here in Houston.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Episode 20 of World Soccer Wrap: Serie A

This week's episode is in the can so to speak, or more appropriately in the producers' inbox. The show should be available, for free, on iTunes late Sunday or early Monday. Be sure to go into the iTunes store, search World Soccer Wrap, and subscribe to our podcasts.

The feature of this week's show will be a look at the 2008/09 Serie A Fixtures, with an eye towards which matches to focus on each week.

Topics also touched on include:

The Mexes Carjacking/Kidnapping
Roma's Mutu Bid
Giorgio's continuing legal problems with Italian authorities
And the entertaining transfer market, which has been slow this week.

Come May 31, 2009, what do you think the table in Serie A will look like? Send me your predictions at:

Friday, July 25, 2008

Serie A Fixtures for the 2008-09 Season

The Italian FA released the fixtures for the 2008-09 Serie A Season, here you go folks:

Week 1 (31/8/08 - 25/1/09)

Week 2 (14/9/08 - 28/1/09)

Week 3 (21/9/08 - 1/2/09)
Sampdoria- Chievo

Week 4 (24/9/08 - 8/2/09)

Week 5 (28/9/08 - 15/2/09)

Week 6 (5/10/08 - 22/2/09)

Week 7 (19/10/08 - 1/3/09)

Week 8 (26/10/08 - 8/3/09)

Week 9 (29/10/08 - 15/3/09)

Week 10 (2/11/08 - 22/3/09)

Week 11 (9/11/08 - 5/4/09)

Week 12 (16/11/08 - 11/4/09)

Week 13 (23/11/08 - 19/4/09)

Week 14 (30/11/08 - 26/4/09)

Week 15 (7/12/08 - 3/5/09)

Week 16 (14/12/08 - 10/5/09)

Week 17 (21/12/08 - 17/5/09)

Week 18 (11/1/09 - 24/5/09)

Week 19 (18/1/09 - 31/5/09)