Other Texas Soccer news of interest this week:
Major League Soccer (MLS):
- FC Dallas (FCD) Maxi Urruti was named the Alcatal MLS Player of the Week off his two goal second half explosion in the 2-1 victory over New England Revolution last Saturday. As was noted in the announcement, FCD is 9-0-2 when Urruti scores a goal. This is the second Player of the Week award in the first three weeks of the season for the Texas MLS teams. Dynamo Erick Torres was the opening week awardee.
- On a less positive note, MLS also announced that the Disciplinary Committee has fined and suspended FC Dallas left-back Maynor Figueroa for one game for serious foul play last Saturday. Figueroa was given a yellow card for a tackle on Revolution forward Kei Kamara in the 54th minute in the incident that has resulted in the retroactive suspension. Figueroa will miss FCD’s next MLS match on April 8 against Minnesota United. (mlssoccer.com)
- Maxi Urruti was nominated for MLS Goal of the Week (won by Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez) for his second goal last weekend. Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric was nominated for MLS Save of the Week (won by Vancouver’s Spencer Richey in his MLS Debut) for his 79th minute stop of Fanendo Adi in Portland on Saturday. (mlssoccer.com)
- Urruti has also been extremely efficient in creating goals from the chances provided. In an article on mlssoccer.com, Benjamin Baer using data from Opta, points out that Maxi is Expected goals (xG) is a sophisticated statistical measure that takes into account a wide variety of variables, using a large historical data base, to calculate chance quality and how likely a goal is to be scored. So far this season, Urruti has made the most of any player in the league with his chances. According to the metric, the eight shots he has taken have an xG of .58 meaning that he would not have been expected to score even one goal so far, given the shots he has taken. Instead he has three and significantly overachieving. (mlssoccer.com)
- Recently signed Dynamo defender George Malki, who played in 25 matches for then Rio Grande Valley FC coach Wilmer Cabrera in 2016, sadly suffered a season ending left knee ACL injury. The injury was incurred during a practice on March 15. (houstondynamo.com)
- On a positive note, FCD’s midfielder Victor Ulloa and defender Ryan Hollingshead are back in training and played in the friendly match against San Antonio FC last Sunday. Neither player has played this year yet. Ulloa suffered a Sports Hernia and Hollingshead was hurt in a freak auto accident while assisting another motorist as a Good Samaritan. (fcdallas.com)
United States National Teams:
- Late last night in San Jose, CA., Nacogdoches-native Clint Dempsey scored three goals in a comprehensive 6-0 victory over Honduras in a 2018 World Cup Qualifier. This game was virtually a must win for the United States Men’s National Team as they had lost their first (of only ten) qualifiers in this round. It is probably not a coincidence that Dempsey, who has served as Captain for the National Team, missed both of those losses due to a scary heart condition that forced him to shut down his season last summer. This was the teams biggest ever margin of victory against Honduras and also in a Final Round Qualifier. (ussoccer.com)
- After eighteen years of operation, US Soccer announced late last week that they are closing the Men’s U-17 National Team Residency Program at the end of the current semester. 3 of the 32 players currently in Bradenton, FL for the Spring semester residency are from Texas: Midfielder Blaine Ferri (Solar Chelsea SC; Southlake, Texas), Midfielder Marcelo Palomino (Houston Dynamo; Houston, Texas) and Forward Bryan Reynolds Jr. (FC Dallas; Little Elm, Texas) (ussoccer.com)
- The United States Women’s National Team will be playing two Friendlies against Russia on April 6th at 7:30 p.m. at Toyota Stadium in Frisco and April 9 at 1:00 p.m. at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.
- Over the last few weeks, the U.S. U-16 Girls National Team and U-19 and U-23 Women’s National Teams have called in a total of 86 players for training camps ahead of upcoming tournaments and FIFA competitions. A grand total of 1 of these is from Texas (midfielder Taryn Torres from the FC Dallas Academy). How is this possible? I would love to have somebody in our North and South Texas Youth Soccer Associations take a shot at explaining this. (socceramerica.com and ussoccer.com)
United Soccer League (USL):
San Antonio FC announced a TV deal with Fox Sports Southwest for the 2017 season. Six games will be shown: Four Home and Two Away (at Colorado Springs and Sacramento). Houston Dynamo broadcaster Glenn Davis, former U.S. International player and long-term broadcaster Christopher Sullivan and local announcer Dan Weiss will call the matches. These TV games will also be live-streamed on Fox Sports GO. The remaining SAFC games, except any possible future nationally televised games, will be streamed on the SAFC website. (San Antonio Business Journal)
International Soccer in Texas:
- El Salvador will play a top Honduras club team, CD Olimpia, at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston this Sunday at 4 p.m. (houstondynamo.com)
- Mexico will play Ghana, in a warm-up game for this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, at Houston’s NRG Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 28th. This will be the 16th time that Mexico has played in this stadium.(houstontexans.com)
- An effort to bring a derby match between English Premier sides Manchester United and Manchester City to Austin in July fell through due to scheduling conflicts. The game was to be part of the International Champions Cup, a tournament which is played each summer in the U.S. by major European club soccer teams as part of their preseason preparation. This story was reported on March 22 by Kevin Lyttle in the Austin America-Statesman.