The results seem to be very predictable when San Antonio FC plays rivals OKC Energy. Tough, hard fought and tactical defensive stalemates rule the day. Saturday night’s match in Oklahoma was no different as SAFC and OKC Energy played to a scoreless draw, the third time this season matches between the two sides have ended in a tie.
There was very little statistically to separate SAFC and OKC Energy during this tight defensive struggle. Both teams shared a total of five shots on target, demonstrating the dearth of opportunities allowed by the tight and organized defenses. San Antonio had the best chance of the evening midway through the first half when Billy Forbes, alone against OKC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi, shot wide left after receiving a pass from Jamaican international Omar Gordon-playing his first minutes with SAFC Saturday. OKC Energy came to life in the last 15 minutes and created a handful of good chances, but were unable to put anything past SAFC’s Diego Restrepo. The SAFC goalkeeper secured his ninth shutout of the season (tied for the league lead) and lowered his goals against average to a league leading 0.62.
SAFC head coach Darren Powell discussed the difficult nature of games played between his side and OKC Energy in his post-game comments. “OKC is a very tough place to play. The guys worked extremely hard to earn the point and earning a clean sheet on the road is a positive. Now our job is to prepare for a quick turnaround to play at home in front of our supporters, and we look forward to being home on Wednesday evening.”
San Antonio FC (11-2-9) remains in second place in the United Soccer League Western Conference, 10 points behind leaders Real Monarchs SLC.
The club is playing a stretch of three games in eight days. SAFC returns to action on Wednesday, August 23 against Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 at Toyota Field and then hosts Portland Timbers 2 on Saturday, August 26.
RGVFC TIES WITH VANCOUVER WHITECAPS 2
A 70th minute goal from midfielder TJ Casner allowed Rio Grande Valley FC to come back from an early deficit to tie Vancouver 1-1 in Edinburg Saturday night. RGV FC is now 7-10-6 on the season and sits in 12th place in the USL Western Conference, three points out of a playoff spot.
TEXAS MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER RECAP
The road was not kind to either Texas MLS team last weekend. FC Dallas (FCD) continued its scoring slump in Kansas, losing 2-0 to Sporting Kansas City (SKC). FCD has scored only 1 goal during a four-game winless streak. The Houston Dynamo allowed two goals during a 15-minute stretch of the first half and, despite an early second half goal by midfielder Romell Quioto, were unable to overcome the early deficit in a 2-1 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps. Houston, undefeated at home this year, dropped to 1-8-4 on the road in 2017.
The Dynamo are now tied for second place in the Western Conference with 37 points. After the loss, FC Dallas dropped to 5th place, 5 points behind conference leaders SKC and only 2 points above the playoff line. The third and final regular season “Texas Derby” between Dallas and Houston will take place Wednesday, August 23 in Frisco. The first two matches ended in draws, so the winner of this game will earn the 2018 possession rights to El Capitan, a replica 18th century mountain howitzer cannon, which is awarded to the winner of the season series.
PREVIEWS FOR MLS WEEK 22 and USL WEEK 20:
Major League Soccer (MLS):
Real Salt Lake (RSL) (7-12-4-25 points-8th place) vs. (Houston Dynamo (9-7-6-33 points-3rd place)-Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, UT-9:00 p.m. CDT-Saturday, August 5, 2017.
- Dynamo beat RSL 5-1 earlier in the season, but face a much different side with key players returning from international duty and injuries who weren’t available at the loss in Houston.
- Houston is 2-6-4 playing RSL in Utah, but have won three straight against them overall.
Philadelphia Union (7-10-5-26 points-9th place East) vs. FC Dallas (9-4-7-34 points-2nd place West)-Talen Energy Stadium, Chester, PA-6:00 p.m. CDT-Saturday, August 5, 2017
- FC Dallas will be shorthanded again this week. Atiba Harris (yellow card accumulation), Carlos Gruezo (red card suspension) will miss the match.
- Philadelphia has never beaten FC Dallas (0-5-4) in regular season MLS action.
Preview from Big D Soccer:
United Soccer League (USL):
San Antonio FC (11-1-7-40 points-2nd place) vs. Orange County SC (7-5-4-25 points-9th place)-Toyota Field, San Antonio-7:30 p.m., Saturday, August 5, 2017
- San Antonio FC signed Mexican-American forward Ever Guzman for the rest of the 2017 USL season, pending league and federation clearance. Guzman joins the club with 10-plus years as a professional in the first and second divisions of Mexico and provides another needed good choice up front.
- Orange County is only one point out of a playoff spot despite having played anywhere between 2 and 5 less games than all the teams ahead of them in the standings. It comes to San Antonio after a midweek loss to LA Galaxy 2. The team has played so few games because it has been waiting for the opening of a new stadium described in the article below:
Game preview from the San Antonio FC website:
Seattle Sounders 2 FC (S2) (7-12-2-23 points-10th place) vs. Rio Grande Valley FC (RGV FC) (6-10-4-22 points-12th place)-Starfire Sports Complex-Tukwila, WA-08:30 p.m. C.D.T.-Sunday, August 6, 2017
- The Toros finish the three game Pacific Northwest trip in Seattle tonight. A loss to Portland and midweek draw with Vancouver leave the RGV FC in a position where wins are becoming very important to keep hopes for a playoff spot alive.
- Midfielder Jose Escalante was named as the winner of the USL Goal of the Week:
National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL):
Portland Thorns (7-4-4-25 points-3rd place) vs. Houston Dash (6-7-2-20 points-6th place)-Providence Park, Portland, OR-1:00 p.m. C.D.T
Article from Four Four Two on three possible explanations for the recent Houston Dash turnaround. They are now only 8 points out of first place and have renewed playoff hopes:
- Easier schedule recently (though Dash players avidly dispute this answer).
- Game day lineup stability since head coach Omar Morales took over a few months ago
- US International Carli Lloyd returned from her loan to Manchester City FC. This is maybe the best explanation. She is pretty good.
PREVIEWS FOR MLS WEEK 21 and USL WEEK 19:
Major League Soccer (MLS):
Houston Dynamo (9-7-5-32 points-3rd place) vs. Portland Timbers (8-8-6-30-points-4th place)-BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston-7:00 p.m. Saturday, July 29, 2017.
Match Preview from mlssoccer.com:
- Portland has never won in Houston
- AJ DeLaGarza’s comments after road win in DC last Saturday:
“We didn’t come into the season wanting to win one road game,” DeLaGarza said. “We still have a lot of work to do. We have [six] more road games. We have to continue to get points, and if we don’t win this weekend then what really did that win at D.C. do for us?”
- New playmaker Tomas Martinez, a classic Argentine No. 10 who officially joined up with the club on July 17, will not play this weekend as he gets acclimated to Houston and the club.
Preview article from the Oregonian including press conference with Timbers head coach Caleb Porter:
FC Dallas (9-3-7-34 points-1st place) vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (8-8-3-27 points-6th place)-Toyota Park, Frisco-7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 29, 2017
Match Preview from mlssoccer.com:
- The teams have evenly split their last six MLS games, dating back to the beginning of the 2015 season (2-2-2). Dallas has won both of their home games by a 2-0 scoreline during this six-game stretch
- Head coach Oscar Pareja commenting on Christian Colman finally breaking through with 2 goals in Montreal last Saturday:
“It’s important for Cristian to score, we have been waiting for this moment,” Dallas coach Oscar Pareja said after the match that night. “As a kid, he worked hard. He has been trying to adapt to the league, trying to adapt to the culture of the group, and all what he has done is just kept working. And today the game rewarded him and I’m very happy for him.”
- FC Dallas get international players back, but will need to play with a makeshift back line again as outside backs Maynor Figueroa and Hernan Grana are suspended for yellow-card accumulation
Canadian National post article on Whitecaps Yordy Reyna:
FC Dallas will need to account for Peruvian midfielder and difference maker Yordy Reyna who may make his first start this season after returning from a broken foot injury suffered in the preseason:
United Soccer League (USL):
Phoenix Rising (6-6-4-22 points-11th place) vs. San Antonio FC (10-1-7-37 points-3rd place)- Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex, Scottsdale, AZ-10:00 p.m. C.D.T.
- This will be the first time San Antonio FC faces legendary forward Didier Drogba
- Just over the halfway mark of the 2017 campaign, San Antonio FC matched its points total from last year in just 17 matches this season. The club’s 10-1-6 record 17 matches into the season added up to 36 points, which was the same amount that the team reached after their 30 matches in 2016
USL Stat-Pack on uslsoccer.com
Match Preview on the Phoenix Rising Website:
Portland Timbers 2 (T2) (1-15-3-6 points-last place) vs. Rio Grande Valley FC (RGV FC) (6-9-3-21 points-12th place)-Providence Park, Portland, OR-10:00 p.m. C.D.T.
- Rio Grande Valley FC starts a 3 game Pacific Northwest trip in Portland
- The Toros are 2-5-1 on the road this season and have been outscored 18-6
Match Preview on Portland T2 website:
Omar Cummings who played 2 seasons with the Houston Dynamo and a season with the San Antonio Scorpions announced his retirement yesterday from FC Cincinnati where he has been playing for the last couple of years.
The Jamaican international Cummings made his MLS mark with the Colorado Rapids when he was a vital piece of the Colorado Rapids roster that defeated FC Dallas 2-1 in Added Extra Time in the 2010 MLS Cup. Cummings scored a career high 14 goals, tied for 4th in the league that year, in that Cup winning season.
His place in Texas soccer history was secured though during the 2013 MLS Eastern Conference Semifinals with the Houston Dynamo. Cummings, who came to the Dynamo with great expectations, experienced a miserable regular season fraught with knee injuries and did not score a goal. In the playoff series with the New York Red Bulls, however, he earned every penny of his salary for the season. In the first leg of the series with NYRB on November 3 the Dynamo fell behind 2-0 on goals from Tim Cahill and current Dynamo midfielder Eric Alexander. This did not come as a complete surprise to the resigned fans, because the Red Bulls had beaten Houston three times during the regular season. Ricardo Clark pulled back a goal for the Dynamo midway early in the second half on a long range shot from the top of the penalty area. Cummings then entered the match in the 61st minute and shortly after was chopped down by NYRB defender Jamison Olave who was issued a straight red card leaving NYRB a man down and without their best defender. Cummings then produced some magic in added extra-time and tapped in his first goal of the season to pull the Dynamo even in the series heading back to NY.
Three days later the two teams met at Red Bull Arena for the second leg of the series. After the teams traded goals in the first half, Cummings came on as a substitute again in the 64th minute. A scoreless second half, that included spectacular saves from Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall, then went into extra-time or “Cummings time” in that series. Sure enough he scored again in the 104th minute to put the Dynamo through to their third straight Eastern Conference Final.
The Dynamo unfortunately lost to Sporting Kansas City in the Conference finals that year. Since that loss was the beginning of a 3 year downward spiral that culminated in last year’s last place finish in the Western Conference, one could say that Omar Cummings was the last of a long line of Houston Dynamo big-game players that led the team to 4 MLS Cups and 6 Conference Championships over a 8 year period.
Cummings came back to the Dynamo in 2014 and scored 3 goals. After that season, Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear left for San Jose and the roster turnover included Cummings, who joined San Antonio Scorpions. He made 29 appearances for the Scorpions during their last year in the NASL and scored 10 times. After the Scorpions folded, Cummings moved to FC Cincinnati where he finished his career.
Best wishes for whatever the future brings Omar Cummings.
Week 19 brings the final games for FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo prior to a two week break (July 6-19) for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The Dynamo will resume play on the road when they begin a two-game road trip against Minnesota on the 19th. FC Dallas, on the other hand, will play a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal against Sporting Kansas City in Kansas next Tuesday (July 11). Its next MLS regular season match will be on July 22 when they travel to Montreal to play the Impact.
FC Dallas vs. DC United
Toyota Field-Frisco-7:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 4, 2017
- DC United, on a terrible run of form that has seen it drop to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, will be playing its fourth consecutive road match in 11 days. Interestingly though, D.C. has only earned three fewer points (18) than they did through the first 18 games of 2016 (21), before picking up 25 points over their last 16 matches to finish fourth in the East.
- Because of injuries and international call-ups, FCD will be missing 4 of its first choice starters, including 3 defenders. This has not seemed to present an issue lately as the team has been able to showcase its depth throughout the roster. Most importantly creative midfielder and difference maker Mauro Diaz is rounding into form for a trophy run when all of the pieces return.
Houston Dynamo vs. Montreal Impact
BBVA Compass Stadium-Houston-7:30 p.m, Wednesday, July 5, 2017
- The Dynamo have scored a boat-load of goals at home this season, leading to a 7-0-2 home record. This run of form will be tested as three key attacking players will be missing on international duty. Leading goal scorer (12) Cubo Torres, who received a surprise call-up to the Mexican Gold Cup squad as an injury replacement, will be available for this match.
- Montreal has never won in Houston (0-5-1). The Impact’s best player Ignacio Piatti is questionable with a groin strain.
Major League Soccer (MLS):
FC Dallas vs. Toronto FC
Toyota Field-Dallas-7:00 p.m., CDT, Saturday, July 1, 2017
- This game is clearly the best in MLS this week. Unfortunately, both sides will be missing key pieces due to international duty….FC Dallas starters Matt Hedges and Kellyn Acosta will not be available. Toronto FC will have U.S. Internationals Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley on the game day roster, however, because they were not included in the group-stage U.S. roster for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
- FC Dallas has never lost a home game to Toronto (6-0-2). This is a much better Toronto team then when they last played in Dallas two years ago.
- Toronto FC after winning the Canadian Championship Wednesday is interested in more trophies: “We want to win every trophy; compete for every competition we’re in,” Michael Bradley said after that win. “At the end of the year we want to be the team that has held up the best, won the most, competed the hardest, and won the trophies. We got our first chance tonight.”
Colorado Rapids vs. Houston Dynamo
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park-Commerce City, CO-8:00 p.m, CDT, Saturday, July 1, 2017
- Both teams are licking their wounds after being knocked out of the U.S. Open Cup midweek. The Rapids lost 3 starters to injuries in its loss in Dallas and it is unclear if any of these players will be available Saturday night. Midfielder Michael Azira will miss the match due to card accumulation.
- Colorado is a good home team at altitude (5-3-1) and have won 3 out of their last 4 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Stadium after a miserable start to the season. Colorado has lost just one of its last 13 regular season meetings against Houston (7-1-5).
- A very frightening statistic for Dynamo fans…..Houston has only won twice in their last 33 regular season MLS away games (2-21-10).
- The Dynamo played a reserve roster in the Open Cup loss to Sporting Kansas City Wednesday. Wilmer Cabrera said this was on purpose and demonstrated where his priorities lie in a post-game interview : “If we didn’t play the first team [on Wednesday], it’s because we have the goal to work to try and get to the playoffs,” Cabrera noted after Wednesday’s Open Cup loss.
United Soccer League (USL):
Colorado Springs Switchbacks vs. Rio Grande Valley FC (RGV FC)
Weidner Field-Colorado Springs, CO-9:00 p.m., CDT, Saturday, July 1, 2017
- How will the Toros respond to the 6-2 shellacking they took 9 days ago in Sacramento against a Switchbacks side that is riding high after handing SAFC their first loss of the season?
- Three of the Toros players, including Charlie Ward who signed an MLS contract today with the Dynamo, played in Houston’s 2-0 loss to Sporting KC in the USOC Wednesday night.
- Colorado Springs dangerous left-back Josh Suggs, who tormented SAFC and seemingly spent the entire night playing as a winger last weekend, is suspended for the match due to yellow card accumulation.
Sacramento United vs. San Antonio FC (SAFC)
Papa Murphy’s Park-Sacramento, CA-10:00 p.m., CDT, Saturday, July 1, 2017
- How will young goalkeeper Lee Johnston handle his first start, likely replacing Diego Restrepo who received a red card ejection against Colorado Springs last week?
- Sacramento United, nearing the end of a string of multiple-game weeks, will likely rotate the squad this weekend after the loss to LA Galaxy in the U.S. Open Cup Wednesday night.
- After defeating the Galaxy’s USL team last weekend, the Union have now won three consecutive league matches. Since the club changed its tactical approach a few weeks ago, the offense has awoken. Forward Trevin Caesar has scored four goals in the last two games.
Friday night MLS Soccer action will feature round two of the 2017 Texas Derby in Houston, when MLS sides Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas compete for the 2018 rights to hold El Capitán, a replica 18th century cannon.
50 years ago on June 3rd and June 10, 1967, the first professional iterations of the Texas Derby were played in Dallas and Houston between the United Soccer Association’s (USA) Houston Stars and Dallas Tornado.
The background on the short-lived league (tournament) start-up and the Houston Stars can be found in the first post in this series:
The Dallas Tornado:
1967 Dallas Tornado (Dundee United): Photo from http://www.nasljerseys.com/Rosters/Tornado_Rosters.htm and http://www.dundeeunitedfc.co.uk
Because the United Soccer Association started up with little preparation, the league brought in complete foreign teams to represent the franchises established in 12 North American cities. The Lamar Hunt owned Tornado were actually in reality Dundee United FC, one of three Scottish First Division clubs brought to America for the tournament that summer.
The Tornado had opened the USA tournament on the previous weekend with a 1-0 road victory against the Mustangs (Cagliari/Italy) in cold and rainy Chicago on May 28, 1967. The Chicago Tribune writer covering the match, James Fitzgerald, somewhat sardonically expressed his amusement about the game and the foreign nature of the league with this lede the next day (1):
A Dane scored the winning goal for a Scottish team representing Dallas which defeated an Italian team wearing Chicago’s colors last night in the United Professional Soccer league opener in front of 9,872 in Comiskey park.”
The Dane who scored the winning goal was 23-year old Finn Dossing off an assist from Tommy Millar from 5 yards out. The Mustangs were lacking many of their best players, as they had not even arrived in the U.S. yet, and were outshot by the Tornado 28-2. Dallas goalkeeper Sandy Davie did not have to make a save that day.
Finn Dossing (scored 3 goals in 1967 tournament and 76 goals for Dundee United)
Photo from http://www.nasljerseys.com/Players/D/Dossing.Finn.htm and http://www.dundeeunitedfc.co.uk
Dundee United had originally arrived in Dallas on May 23 to find a gathering of 200 media, fans and pipers from the Highland Park High School band. The team was initially quartered at a SMU fraternity, which was a source of much griping by the players, and practiced at a school field across the street. Dallas mayor Erik Jonsson issued a proclamation declaring the week of May 28-June 4 “Soccer Week in Dallas”. (2)
The first Texas Derby match: June 3-Cotton Bowl, Dallas
A crowd of 16,431 showed up to see the opening Derby match between the Tornado and Houston Stars (Bangu/Brazil). The mystery for spectators about this first Texas Derby was expressed in this game report from the Grand Prairie Daily News on June 6th.
According to accounts in the excellent book Summer of ’67 by Ian Thomson, the game struggled to gain any traction early as the players adjusted to the heat and the narrow Cotton Bowl field, which only allowed 60 yards of space vs. the 75 yards available today at FC Dallas’s Toyota Stadium in Frisco. The game report by Charles Clines in the Denton Record-Chronicle reported that the Tornado controlled the game early, but midway thorough the half the Stars came to life and forced Tornado goalkeeper Sandy Davie to make three saves, including two back-to-back saves on shots by Stars high-scoring forward Paulo Borges. (3)
The halftime break was originally scheduled to last 45 minutes, but was shortened to 10 after player complaints. According to game accounts, the Tornado controlled play in the second half and scored a goal that was disallowed by a dubious offside call. The Stars missed two golden opportunities to pick up the full three points near the end when Cabralzinho missed a shot at an open goal and hit the crossbar on a follow up after a poor clearance. The fans apparently got into the spirit of the game, chanting “Score, Dallas Score!” near the end of the scoreless match. How about that for a modern supporters group chant! It must have been an entertaining match as the Tornado outshot the Stars 24-18
One humorous event happened during game play in the second half according to Thomson in Summer of ’67. The Tornado had planned to have a parachutist deliver the ball to center circle for the start of the second half. Apparently nobody told the pilot that game had restarted, so midway through second half, according to the Tornado’s Donald Mackay, “All of the sudden a gentleman in a parachute landed in the center of the park with the ball to kick off the second half.” (4)
Imagine how often this mix-up would have aired on SportsCenter or shared via social media if it had happened today.
The match box score from the Denton Record-Chronicle game report:
The Rematch-June 10, 1967-The Astrodome, Houston
The Houston Stars won their first game of the ASA tournament in the Texas Derby rematch before 20,375 in the Astrodome. Goals were scored by Borges and Peixinho in the first half to secure the victory. The game story from AP has the details below, but in Summer of ’67, author Ian Thomson focused most of his match description on the challenges Dundee United faced playing indoors and on artificial turf for the first time.
The Astrodome “soccer” field configuration presented complications for both teams, but especially the visitors. The field surface, set up for baseball a few days later, was a combination of dirt and grass, complete with holes where the bases had been removed. Also in Summer of ’67, Tornado player Mogens Berg attributed part of the issues to not having the appropriate shoes, stating that the Tornado players had not been informed about what type of field was used in the Astrodome before the match: “We didn’t have the right shoes for playing on that.” Because it was there, of course, once the Tornados entered the field they had to organize a competition to see if anybody could hit the roof with a soccer ball, which they quickly determined was impossible.
To add insult to injury, Dallas had played a midweek game in Vancouver three days previously and then traveled by bus to Houston. Before the players expressed their dissatisfaction, the Tornado management had planned to bus down the day of the game and return to the dorms at SMU immediately after the game ended. The team ended up coming in a day early, but still rode the bus back to Dallas Saturday night, arriving at 4:15 a.m. the next morning. (5)
8:00 p.m. on Friday evening in Houston the inter-state fun continues.
I will publish a story on Texas Soccer Journal in July to discuss the final results of the Tornado and Stars in this tournament played 50 years ago this summer. I also highly recommend Summer of ’67-Flower Power, Race Riots, Vietnam and the Greatest Soccer Final Played on American Soccer by Ian Thomson if you would like to learn more about the single season of the defunct United Soccer Association.
(2) Summer of ’67-Ian Thomson-pages 71-75
(3) Denton Record-Chronicle, June 4, 1967 –Tornado Fails to Sweep Across Houston Goal
(4) Summer of ’67-page 76
(5) Summer of ’67-pages 118-119