In the final post of my 2017 review of the year in Texas soccer, I will discuss significant milestone memorable soccer events that occurred 10, 20 and 50 years ago in the State’s relatively short soccer history:
10 Years Ago:
Houston Dynamo win second consecutive MLS Cup
Houston Dynamo defeated the New England Revolution for a second consecutive year to win MLS Cup in Washington D.C.’s RFK Stadium on November 18, 2007. The setting was quite different than the year before because New England fans could easily travel to D.C., much like the Dynamo fans were able to take over Pizza Hut Park in Frisco at the 2006 MLS Cup in Frisco. The Dynamo faced further complications as two key starters, Ricardo Clark and Brian Ching, were unavailable for selection. Like the previous year, NE forward Taylor Twellman scored the opener and this time the Revolution went into halftime with the lead. No problem for the Dynamo because big-game play making legend Dwayne DeRosario took over. His assist led to the first goal by Joseph Ngwenya in the 61st minute and he scored an unlikely goal using his head for the game winner off a pinpoint Brad Davis assist in the 76th. A stunning save by Pat Onstad near the end of the game kept the Revolution from tying the match and allowed the Dynamo to win their second straight Cup. In the post game report by Jack Bell in the New York Times, DeRosario discussed how unusual the header goal was for him:
“Brad played a perfect ball, and it was an easy job for me putting my head on it,” De Rosario said. “It was more instinctive, more flashy — I usually would be trying a bicycle kick or a volley. But this time, my head was the only option.
DeRosario was named the 2007 MLS Cup MVP and the Dynamo became only the second team to win back-to-back MLS Cups that year. Though Houston has subsequently participated in two additional MLS Cups, this was the last time they won the championship.
20 Years Ago:
Dallas Burn wins the U.S. Open Cup
The Dallas Burn (predecessor name for FC Dallas) won its first trophy two years into its existence in the newly founded MLS on October 29, 1997. The United States Open Cup (USOC) (now named Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup after the FC Dallas founder) is a tournament, open to both amateur and professional clubs, that has been played every year in this country since 1913. The 1997 version of this tournament was a much smaller scale of the tournament contested today. 16 amateur teams entered in the first round, 8 A-League (predecessor to today’s United Soccer League) entered in round 2 and 8 MLS teams finished the 32 team bracket in the third round. The Burn only had to play four matches to win the Cup, two of which were against amateur sides, a simpler bracket than a champion has to navigate today.
The Burn defeated the A-League’s New Orleans Riverboat Gamblers (now defunct) 3-0 in the third round and another defunct side, Division 3 (D3) Pro Chicago Stingers, 4-1 in the quarterfinals. The first test came in the semifinals (played in NYC) where the Burn were able to defeat MLS’s NY/NJ Metrostars (Now New York Red Bulls) 2-1 on a 103rd minute golden goal from midfielder Jorge Flores. The final was played against DC United in Indianapolis, IN in front of over 9,000 fans on October 29. DC United was the defending inaugural MLS Cup winners and were on their way to a repeat in 1997, so they were formidable challenge. The game ended scoreless in regular time and extra-time did not produce a goal, so penalties were needed. The Burn made all 5 of their penalties and a miss from DC’s Raul Diaz Arce set the stage for El Salvador international Jorge Rodriquez to convert the match winning penalty.
Note: Though neither the Burn or FC Dallas have won the MLS Cup, they have been a finalist in 3 other U.S. Open Cups: losing to Los Angeles in 2005, falling to New England 10 years ago in 2007 and defeating New England last year in Frisco.
50 Years Ago:
Four major 50 year Texas soccer milestones were celebrated this year:
- On April 19th, 1967 what was described as the first indoor/outdoor soccer match in the world was played at the Houston Astrodome in front of 33,351, (I suspect very curious) fans. Real Madrid defeated England’s West Ham United 3-2. This match was intended to be a marketing vehicle for the first U.S. and Canadian professional league that would include Texas teams, the newly founded United Soccer Association.
- The first U.S. professional soccer league game ever played in Texas was also in the Astrodome on May 27, 1967. The Houston Stars played to a 1-1 draw with the Los Angeles Wolves.
- The first Texas Derby, and also the home opener for the Dallas Tornados, was played the next week when the Stars traveled north to play Dallas to a scoreless draw at the Cotton Bowl. The back end of the Derby was played seven days later in Houston and was won by the Stars 2-0.
A link to the article I wrote about the first Texas Derby matches is below:
An additional link below to the final article in this series, describing the end of the inaugural (and only) season of the United Soccer Association. If interested, links to the other two posts in the series can be found in this post too:
- At the end of the 1967 season, the Dallas Tornados, who were represented in the 1967 season by a Dundee United from Scotland, formed a completely new team and then went on a ridiculous and entertaining 49 match, 27 country and five continent World Tour over a seven-month span.
This world tour, mainly because the Dallas roster was virtually all English players, has received quite a bit of publicity over the years. Books have been written about the tour, including this book released last year.
FC Dallas ran a series of articles about this tour last month. Below is a link to a well researched article written by FCD digital intern Jean Pierre Guzhany about the tour. Scroll down to the series button to unlock a deep dive into more details and memorabilia from that time.
This will be my final post for the year. In the 6 months I have been in non-stealth mode, WordPress stats tell me that I have been fortunate to have 2,482 visitors to Texas Soccer Journal from 56 different countries (OK, many of them had only one visitor, but still counts!). I have no idea what kind of exposure a state specific soccer blog from the United States should receive, but it doesn’t matter to me. I am happy to have any readers. I wish I could personally thank all of you, but please know that I am very appreciative of any and all readers that visit the site. I am also very grateful to the Sports Editor of our local daily newspaper the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung, Tucker Stephenson, (http://herald-zeitung.com/) who provided me with more print space than I probably deserved to write the Lone Star Soccer Roundup for the paper during the soccer season.
Best wishes to all for a Happy Holiday season and a great start to the New Year. I will see you all in 2018.
Header Photo credit: Wikipedia. Further credit to FC Dallas Tornado World Tour Series (https://www.fcdallas.com/series/tornado-world-tour).