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