Category: NTX Rayados

Weekly Soccer Notes-Saturday, May 13, 2017

Other news of interest in Texas Soccer this week:

Major League Soccer (MLS):

  • Will Parchman weighed in on mlssoccer.com this week about the quiet “Greatness” of FC Dallas in our midst.  I especially found a couple of points in this article interesting. First, a question:  “Are FCD one of those perennially underrated franchises routinely passed over for the glitz of the coasts?”  My answer to this question is yes and I went off on this earlier this week in my rant about how ignored Maxi Urruti has been. Second, when comparing FCD’s current run to the Galaxy domination earlier in the decade Parchman stated:  “FCD’s system is instead many different points of pressure at a smaller magnitude, like the numbing drop on the forehead in lieu of one giant swing. It’s incontrovertible proof that living, breathing depth can exist in MLS.”  A link to the full article can be found here. (mlssoccer.com)

http://www.mlssoccer.com/post/2017/05/08/parchman-time-wake-mls-greatness-our-midst-dallas

  • FC Dallas (FCD) has loaned highly-touted left back Anibal Chala to L.D.U Quito in Ecuador until the end of 2017.  Chala has been unable to get on the field during the regular season due to a sports hernia injury he suffered in the preseason.  FCD apparently rejected a $2 million loan/buy option from the Ecuadorian first division team, indicating he still remains in their long term plans.  (Dallas Morning News)
  • Former FCD youth player Emerson Hyndman, who was playing for Scotland’s Rangers on loan from English side Bournemouth FC., announced on his Twitter feed that he would miss the remainder of the season with an injury.  Hyndman is the son of former FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman and a future U.S. National team prospect.  (BigDSoccer.com)
  • The MLS transfer window closed on May 8th and only a few roster moves can be made by clubs between now and early July when the window opens again.  Kurt Larson wrote an article this week that anointed the Dynamo as “winning” the just closed transfer period.  Here is the full break down:

https://www.mlssoccer.com/post/2017/05/11/kurt-larson-five-mls-teams-won-2017-primary-transfer-window

  • C.J. Brown, the legendary Chicago Fire defender who now is an assistant with Orlando, talked with Alicia DelGallo in a post on the Orlando Sentinel website this week about last Saturday’s blowout in Houston and how hard it is to prepare to play the Dynamo.  He also provided a template that Houston will probably see much more, especially at home, in the future.

“The biggest challenge was the speed, and the other part to that would be the organization … figuring out how to handle our back line when we’re under attack,” Orlando City defensive assistant coach C.J. Brown said. “A team like that basically sits around waits for your mistake and then has three blazing guys up top, put it forward and see what they can do.

“We should have probably been a little more conservative, sit back and see if they can beat us in a group versus one-v-one. That’s a lesson learned early. You don’t ever expect somebody to just leave three guys freely to sit up there like that.

Later in the article, he went on to discuss how hard it is to simulate the speed Houston brings in practice, noting that Orlando City only has one player capable of matching the pace of the Dynamo attacking group. (Orlando Sentinel)

United Soccer League (USL):

The RGV FC Toros signed Pharr-native and defender Omar Ontiveros late last week to a USL contract. Ontiveros, who was identified in January during the Toros’ Open Tryout, most recently played in Luxembourg for Club Sportif-Grevenmacher. During his two-year stint in Europe he played in 12 matches and scored twice. According to Houston Dynamo Assistant GM Nick Kowba, Ontiveros was signed to provide depth for regular Toros players who are on contracts with the first team.  (rgvfc.com)

“Our goal as a staff was to strengthen our depth in the center-back position. As Kevin Garcia and Taylor Hunter have signed with the first team and continue to contribute to RGV FC, it is important that we also sign players that are based here with RGV FC. The fact that Omar is a local player who made it through our open tryout process makes it even more of positive for our club.” 

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL):

The Houston Dash lost in Chicago 1-0 last Saturday.  They return from a three-game road trip to play New Jersey’s Sky Blue FC today at 3 p.m. at BBVA Compass Stadium.  The Dash are now 2-0-2 and are tied for third place with Chicago and Boston.

U.S. Open Cup:

Houston Dutch Lions FC (HDLFC) defeated NTX Rayados 3-1 Wednesday night in a first round Open Cup match at HDLFC Soccer Facility in Conroe. After a scoreless first half, Jose Pablo Cova and Lawal Olayimika scored second half goals in a short period of time. After an own goal brought Rayados back to within a goal at 2-1, Jerry Scholman finished off the scoring in the 89th min to finish the victory.  Remy Broekmans was named the Heineken Man of the Match.  HDLFC now advance to the second round where they will play San Antonio FC at Dutch Lions Soccer Facility next Wednesday evening. (twitter.com/HouDutchLions)

Picture from the Houston based “Peel” podcast, at the match, posted on the HDLFC Twitter feed.

Mexico Border Soccer Clubs:

Bravos de FC Juarez, who are partially owned by Texas-based Mountain Star Sports Group, lost the second-leg of the Ascenso MX (second division) League Championship 2-1 (4-2 on aggregate) at home to Puebla-based Lobos BUAP last Saturday night.  Juarez, who had fallen behind on a 25 minute corner kick, leveled the match in the 73rd minute off a Cristian Gordillo corner.  Unfortunately, Lobos scored in the 88th minute as Juarez desperately pushed players forward to get the goal they needed to make up the aggregate deficit and send the game into overtime. (El Paso Times)

U.S. Open Cup begins in Texas tonight

First round play in the United States Open Cup begins this week among amateur clubs throughout the country.  Dating back to 1914, the U.S. Open Cup is the oldest cup competition in U.S. soccer.  There are five Texas clubs that are participating in this years competition:

  • FC Dallas
  • Dutch Lions FC
  • Houston Dynamo
  • NTX Rayados
  • San Antonio FC

The two amateur teams, NTX Rayados (North Texas Premier Soccer Association-NTPSA) and Houston Dutch Lions (NPSL), will play their first round game tonight at 7 p.m. at the Dutch Lions FC Soccer Facility in Conroe.

The remaining three Texas professional teams will enter the tournament in later rounds. San Antonio FC will play the winner of tonight’s match in the second round next Wednesday, May 17.  If Dutch Lions win in the first-round, the match against SAFC will be played in Conroe.  If NTX wins, this second-round match will be played at SAFC’s Toyota Field.

Chuck Wharton from MLS Multiplex posted an excellent preview of tonight’s match.

https://mlsmultiplex.com/2017/05/09/steamrollers-ntx-rayados-houston-dutch-lions-u-s-open-cup-wednesday/

2017 Texas USL Team Schedule Analysis

The United Soccer Leagues (USL), a Division 2 professional league in the US Soccer system, begins its 2017 regular season this week. The regular season will run from Saturday, March 25th to Sunday, October 15…a span of 30 weeks and 480 matches.  Though the majority of the matches will be played within the respective Eastern and Western Conferences, select inter-conference games will also be played over the course of the season.  Each team will play a 32 game schedule, split evenly home and away.  The league added two games to the regular season from last year and will be starting the season earlier as a result.

USL Regular Season in Texas:

San Antonio FC (SAFC) and Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (RGVFC), the two Texas teams playing in USL, begin the 2017 regular season with a 6:00 p.m. Derby match this Sunday night at the new H-E-B Park Stadium in Edinburg.  San Antonio will open its home schedule six days later at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 1 at Toyota Field against LA Galaxy II.

SAFC is an independent USL franchise who recently announced an affiliation with New York FC of Major League Soccer (MLS). Rio Grande Valley FC has a hybrid affiliation with Houston Dynamo, who provide the Toro’s coaching staff and player roster.  As an aside, FC Dallas does not operate a USL team. Instead they have partnered with Oklahoma City Energy (OKC) and loan out a handful of players from their roster to OKC each year.

Both SAFC and RGVFC will play the other 14 Western Conference teams at least once home and away (28 games).  The remaining 4 games on the schedule are either played against other Western Conference opponents or against teams from the East. SAFC will play home games against RGVFC and Tampa Bay Rowdies.  SAFC’s extra away matches will be against Swope Park Rangers and Oklahoma City Energy. RGVFC will play their extra home matches against Swope Park and Los Angeles Galaxy II.  Their extra away games are against SAFC and Sacramento Republic.

Longest Home Stretch:  SAFC (3 games twice-April 1 to 15th and May 6 to 20th); RGVFC (5 games-April 12 to May 20th)

Longest Road Stretch:  SAFC (4 games-September 2 to 17th); RGVFC (3 games twice-June 21 to July 8 and July 29 to August 6)

Weeknight home games:  SAFC (3 games-2 Friday and 1 Wednesday); RGVFC (4 Wednesday)

Most challenging travel schedule:  SAFC (3 straight Pacific Northwest matches in six days beginning Saturday, April 22 in Vancouver and ending Friday, April 28 in Portland);  RGVFC (the same 3 game Pacific Northwest stretch (except over 8 days) beginning Saturday, July 29th in Portland and ending on Sunday, August 6th in Seattle).

Additional Schedule Notes:

In addition to the opening game in the Valley this Sunday, both of the other Derby games between SAFC and RGVFC will be played at Toyota Field on September 23 and October 17th (also the final game of the regular season for both teams).

San Antonio will play its first ever inter-conference match when they face Tampa Bay Rowdies at Toyota Field on October 7th.  The Rowdies, a new USL franchise, have a rivalry with San Antonio soccer teams, dating back to when they and the San Antonio Scorpions played in the North American Soccer League (NASL).

Between June 21st and August 6th, the Toros will play 7 of 9 games on the road, including three separate trips to the West Coast and 4 mid-week games.  The schedule compression is partially a result of the three 10+ day breaks in RGVFC’s schedule early in the season.

The USL playoffs will begin on the weekend after the conclusion of the regular season.

104th Edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup:

This annual competition named after Lamar Hunt, FC Dallas’s founder, is open to both professional and amateur soccer clubs in the United States.  FC Dallas is in fact the defending Cup holder after defeating New England 4-2 in the final last September. The 2017 tournament will begin on May 10th with 28 games between 56 Open Division (amateur) teams.  The Second Round, including the winners of the 28 First Round games and 24 USL and NASL participants, will take place beginning on May 17th.  The winners of these 26 games will then advance to the Third Round which will begin on May 31st. All U.S.-based MLS teams enter the competition in the Fourth Round starting on June 14th.

San Antonio FC is the only USL side who will participate in this competition this year. Though I believe they could technically participate in the Open Cup if they chose, RGVFC has an affiliation with the Houston Dynamo who are also in the tournament.  Last year the Dynamo used RGVFC players in this competition and are likely to do this again in 2017. SAFC begins its participation in the 2017 US Open Cup in Round 2.  Because the tournament is essentially a regional competition in the early stages, SAFC could face one of the two amateur Texas teams participating in this tournament in their opener, assuming at least one of these teams advances out of the First Round: NTX Rayados from Dallas and Dutch Lions FC from The Woodlands. If SAFC wins their Second Round game, they would likely play another USL team in the Third Round, possibly one of the Oklahoma based squads.  If they were to advance to Round 4, they would likely be paired against either Houston Dynamo or FC Dallas.

2017 Texas MLS Team Schedule Analysis

Now that Week 1 is in the books, it would be a good time to look at the rest of the 2017 schedule for both FC Dallas and the Dynamo. FC Dallas, because of their extraordinary 2016 results and quarterfinal win in the ScotiaBank CONCACAF Champions League (CCL), clearly have a much more challenging road ahead of them. There is some good news for Dallas though. The 2017-18 reformatted CCL structure will provide some late season schedule congestion relief, since U.S. MLS teams (FC Dallas is one of four) no longer participate in the qualifying stages of this competition. Dallas will now join the next CCL in February 2018.  I doubt that they will miss the October trips to Guatemala.

MLS Regular Season:

Both teams play a 34 game schedule, split evenly home and away.  Each of the other Western Conference teams are played at least once home and away (20 games) and each Eastern Conference team is played once per season-home or away in alternate years (11 games). 2 of the remaining 3 games are against a rotating cast of Western Conference opponents. The remaining game to complete both Dallas and Houston’s 34 game regular season schedule- is against each other.

Longest Home Stretch:  Dallas (3 games-May 14 to May 28); Houston (2 games-4 times)

Longest Road Trip:  Dallas (3 games-June 10 to June 23); Houston (3 games-May 17 to May 28)

Midweek games:  Dallas (4 games-3 home and 1 away); Houston (6 games-3 home and 3 away)

Afternoon games:  Dallas(4 games-1 home and 3 away); Houston (5 games-2 home and 3 away)

Most challenging back to back travel:  Dallas ( 2 Pacific Northwest trips on June 10 and 17 followed by a Friday, June 23 night game in Houston);  Houston (9:30 Saturday night, September 16 in San Jose followed by 3:00 Saturday afternoon at NYCFC on September 23)

Eastern Conference Home opponents:  Dallas (5-New England, NYCFC, Toronto, DC United, NYRB);  Houston (5-Columbus, NYRB, Orlando, Montreal, Chicago)

Additional Western Conference opponents:  Dallas (Houston and Colorado at home-Sporting KC away);  Houston (San Jose and Minnesota at home-Dallas away)

Notes:

All MLS teams will take a mid-season break between July 5th and July 19th for the group stages of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Houston plays 7 of its first 10 games at home.  Between May 17th and July 22, the Dynamo play only 3 of 11 games at home.

Between April 22 and May 28, FC Dallas plays 5 of 6 games at home.  When the season resumes on July 22 in Montreal (after the Gold Cup break), FC Dallas will alternate home and road games (12 game stretch) until October 15.

FC Dallas plays at Toyota Park on July 4 against DC United.

The dates of the Texas Derby between FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo are Sunday May 28 at 7 p.m. in Dallas, Friday June 23 at 8 p.m. in Houston and Wednesday August 23 at 8 p.m. in Dallas

Both teams finish the season at home on Sunday, October 22 at 3 p.m….Dallas vs. LA Galaxy and Houston vs. Chicago Fire.

CONCACAF Champions League:

Dallas has already completed a two-legged Quarterfinal series against Arabe Unido from Panama to advance to the semifinals. The series against Pachuca from Mexico will take place on Wednesday, March 15 at Toyota Field and on Tuesday, April 4 at Pachuca.  If FC Dallas should advance to the Finals against the winner of the Vancouver Whitecaps-Tigres UANL series, it would be played  in the final two weeks of April.

Houston is not involved in this competition.

U.S. Open Cup:

FC Dallas won this competition in 2016.  In 2017, both FC Dallas and Houston will enter in the Fourth Round…scheduled to be played on June 14.  To secure this trophy, either of these teams would need to win 5 games between June 14 and the final on September 20. Because this is essentially a regional competition in the early stages, Dallas and Houston would likely face each other in the Round of 16 (like last year) if they were to win their opening game.  Other remaining Texas teams participating in this tournament include San Antonio FC (USL), NTX Rayados (local qualifier) and Dutch Lions FC (NPSL at-large).  Rio Grande Valley FC, the Dynamo USL Hybrid affiliate, is not allowed to participate in this competition, as are other MLS Affiliates in the USL.