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U.S. Open Cup Preview Roundup

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Tonight the sixteen remaining teams in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup face off and with so many Major League Soccer teams getting knocked out last week, tonight’s mix of teams is really what makes the Cup spectacular:

  • Cal FC (USASA) vs. Seattle Sounders FC (MLS)
  • Charlotte Eagles (USL-PRO) vs. San Antonio Scorpions (NASL)
  • Chivas USA (MLS) vs. Carolina RailHawks (NASL)
  • Colorado Rapids (MLS) vs. Sporting Kansas City (MLS)
  • Dayton Dutch Lions (USL-PRO) vs. Michigan Bucks (PDL)
  • Minnesota Stars FC (NASL) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (MLS)
  • New York Red Bulls (MLS) vs. Harrisburg City Islanders (USL-PRO)
  • Philadelphia Union (MLS) vs DC United (MLS)

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The Houston Dynamo and Valencia CF take the field in the 2012 Dynamo Charities Cup

From Valencia to Houston in the Name of Charity

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The Houston Dynamo and Valencia CF take the field in the 2012 Dynamo Charities Cup

The Houston Dynamo and Valencia CF take the field in the 2012 Dynamo Charities Cup

The Houston Dynamo took on La Liga’s Valencia CF in their annual Charities Cup last week. The Charities Cup benefits the Dynamo Charities organization, which works to benefit the local community. In past Charities Cups the Dynamo have fielded a mostly reserve team; this year was a little bit different. The starting XI was a mix of reserve staples like goalkeeper Tyler Deric and first team veterans like Brad Davis.

When Valencia scored in the 2nd minute, it looked as though the men in orange were going to face a big loss. Ultimately, though, the Dynamo pulled themselves together. Kinnear fielded the starting forward combination of Brian Ching and Will Bruin, but neither managed to score. The lone Dynamo goal came from a long range rocket fired off by Calen Carr. Kinnear has shifted Carr to the midfield in recent games, and he seems to play a bit more naturally there. With Dominic Kinnear’s knack for shifting versatile players around successfully (Geoff Cameron was a midfielder before Kinnear stuck him in the back line,) the Carr shift looks quite promising.

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Alonso struggling to keep his feet on the ground against Columbus

Seattle’s Roller Coaster Season Continues

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Supporting Seattle Sounders FC this season has been a carnival ride of emotion for this fan, with an impressive 7 wins under our belt and now 3 dramatic ties and 3 crushing losses holding us back from over-confidence and the top ranking in the west.  The last four games have seen us drag our record down with a L-T-L-T, the first of which was an almost embarrassingly bad defeat at the hands of Real Salt Lake.  We recovered enough to earn a tie on the road in Vancouver only to come home to another loss at the hands of the visiting Columbus Crew, followed by a close tie Saturday against Chivas.  I was fortunate enough to attend the three games played in the Northwest and tried to make sure my voice was heard loud and proud by our squad, giving my all whether we lost tied or lost.

Right off the bat in that first loss, RSL knew they had to keep our offense down and within the first three minutes of that game had kicked down both Mauro Rosales and Eddie Johnson, ensuring their team had the stronger legs for the rest of the match.  The “Lakers” got their lone ugly goal out of the way at just 5 minutes into the second half, starting what looked like a clearly offside pass to my eyes.  Play on the field seemed to stop so I tend to think the other players agreed with me, but Fabian Espindola kept on going and pushed the ball into the goal yards away from Bryan Meredith, ending the rookie goalkeeper’s scoreless streak.  You can imagine our gloomy feelings after that match, with many fans walking away frustrated and angry at our second loss at home for the season.

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An Open Letter To Simon Borg

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(This post was inspired by a short Twitter conversation with SBNation writer Kevin McCauley, and based on the recent furor over Simon Borg’s comments during the April 30th edition of the ExtraTime Radio podcast — also posted on Waking The Red. )

Dear Simon,

Hey, how are ya? It’s me, John.

You probably don’t know me yet (or you never will…either way), but I am a huge TFC supporter. I’ve been that way for about six years now. I live in Calgary, which means I have to travel to a lot of TFC matches. In six years, I’ve been to almost all the stadiums on the West Coast, and wear my TFC swag proudly around town.

Oh, but there’s something you probably should know about me: I do bat for the other team…yep, queerer than a three dollar bill. AND I’m seeing someone, too — who doesn’t happen to be a soccer fan. I know, shocking right? I’ll give you a few moments to recover from the shock.

Anyway, where were we? Oh right…me. As I was saying, I’m seeing someone right now, who is a huge science fiction fan. I don’t claim to be an expert on shows like Battlestar Galatica, but does that make him less appealing to me? Nope. The opposite is true; he knows I am a sports fan, and knows about my TFC supporting ways. Does he have a problem with me spending my time writing and covering the team for SBNation? Heck, if he did…he would’ve dumped me right after my trip to LA for the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final.

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picture from houstondynamo.com

Yet Another Setback for the Houston Dynamo

picture from houstondynamo.com

On April 15th the men in orange take on the Chicago Fire after consecutive bye weeks. Due to unrelated suspensions, the Dynamo knew they would be without starting midfielders Adam Moffat and Colin Clark. Then, with a definite blow to morale, the team announced that Brad Davis had been injured. This announcement brought back memories of the 2011 MLS Cup. In the semi-final against Sporting Kansas City, Davis went down late in the game. The Dynamo went on to beat Sporting Kansas City, but had to face the Los Angeles Galaxy without their star midfielder. The Dynamo ultimately fell to the Galaxy, and many fans believe the deciding factor in that game was the loss of Brad Davis.

Now at the start of the 2012 season fans are reeling from the surprise loss. While Davis’ injury is minor, the loss of his presence on the pitch is immense. There is no question that there can be no replacement for Davis, but this could be a good opportunity for Dominic Kinnear to test the depth of his midfield talent. In the face of this adversity, what will the Dynamo do? It is safe to assume that left back Corey Ashe will be shifted up to the midfield, and the resulting hole in the back line will be filled with Jermaine Taylor. As far as the midfield goes, Kinnear will have to find depth with the loss of three out of four starting players. Luis Camargo is expected to be game fit and would be a good attacking midfielder to see on the pitch. Rookie Alex Dixon had an impressive start late last season and could also see some playing time this weekend. Je Vaughn Watson and Nathan Sturgis may also get opportunities to step up for La Naranja this weekend, however Sturgis is more likely to be used as a substitution. Ultimately the Dynamo will need to see a strong back line led by Geoff Cameron and Bobby Boswell paired with good finishing up front in order to get another road win when they take on the Chicago Fire this Sunday.

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Santos Laguna vs Toronto FC, Part 2: More Handbags Than the Real Housewives

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After a heated affair in Toronto last Wednesday, we’re ready for round 2 of the CONCACAF Champions League semi-final between Santos Laguna and Toronto FC. Much has been made of the officiating by the Mexican side, with the word “gringo” being thrown around like it was beads at Mardi Gras including at the American referee Ricardo Salazar.

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Dynamo Face Controversy From All Sides

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On the heels of the Houston Dynamo’s first loss of the season to the Seattle Sounders, the Dynamo find themselves facing multiple suspensions and a civil lawsuit. If you have been keeping up with our coverage of the Colin Clark incident, you should already know that Clark has been suspended for three games, was fined an undisclosed amount and will complete additional sensitivity training. It is now being reported that midfielder Adam Moffat will also be fined and suspended for one game for a reckless challenge on Sounders Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso in the 35th minute of the game.

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New York Red Bulls Looking as Good on Grass as They Do on Paper

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The Red Bulls’ first win at our home opener — now the season can right itself before it is lost. What a win it was! Yes, I know Colorado were missing major players but NY is always missing major players; for example, no Teemo or Agudelo on Sunday. There are some still questions to review.

The Bright Spots
The Cooper/Henry partnership:

This is looking to be a budding partnership ready to run riot on the league. In the first two games, NY looked the best when they were both on the field together. In the first start together, each got a goal in the first 6 min and both got a brace. The few missed passes between the two make me think they are still meshing together so once they really get used to each other watch out. Cooper may be the answer to the everlasting Rodgers visa saga. I’ve never seen our offense start so well like it did on Sunday. I would have liked it to continue as strong all through the game but 4 goals in a game is always good.

William Conde

Wow what a difference the defense is with him in the lineup. I just hope he stays healthy but he may be the solution to all of the problems in the defense.

Roy Miller

Yep that one, the maligned left back that seems to always be the fall guy for any failure had probably his best game in a NY shirt. He seemed good in the back and assisted the final goal.

Marquez

Yep he’s back but he looked determined and ready to play as opposed to last year. He was very impressive minus the giveaway that lead to the Cummings goal but I could tell he was tired…

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The Slur Heard Around The League – Some Dynamo Fans’ Views

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When I went out of town this weekend and put the Houston Dynamo versus Seattle Sounders game on my DVR list, I never expected to come home to this game. I knew that the Dynamo lost and that Colin Clark said something controversial, but I didn’t look into it immediately. Instead I decided that I would wait and watch it myself. In hindsight I should have clicked on those news links because I was beyond unprepared for what I heard.

Personally, as a Dynamo fan and season ticket holder, I was immediately embarrassed. In all of the seasons that I’ve been a fan I have never heard anything so thoughtless come out of a players mouth, which says a lot considering all of the things Bobby Boswell has said in anger. In all seriousness though, I have a lot of faith that Dominic Kinnear came down on him. I know we haven’t heard anything official, but Kinnear is known to hold each player responsible for their actions and words on the pitch, and I hope this situation is no different. I also hope that the fans will hold him responsible for his actions. While Colin Clark wears our crest over his heart he represents every single one of us in his words and his actions and to me this is unacceptable.

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rendering by HoustonDynamo.com

Dynamo Win Again and Make Big Plans for BBVA Compass Stadium

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rendering by HoustonDynamo.com

It has been a good week in the world of the Houston Dynamo. The men in orange won their second game on the road against the San Jose Earthquakes, fans got a new look inside the stadium and the club announced that they are expecting another sell out at BBVA Compass Stadium for the May 15th game when the Dynamo take on the Portland Timbers.

Fans can also register for the annual Go for Goal 5K. This 5K is headed up by assistant coach and former player Wade Barrett. Word has it that last year’s run had some pretty hilarious moments and I will be running the 5K this year in the hope that there will be similar antics. It is scheduled for May 6th as a part of events leading up to the Dynamo’s sold out home opener on May 12th.

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