Other news of interest in Texas Soccer this week:
Major League Soccer (MLS):
Bleacher Report’s Noah Davis wrote an excellent long-form piece on former Dynamo defender/midfielder and sometimes forward Geoff Cameron. He used the word “unheralded” to describe Cameron’s arrival in Houston and that is true. He joined the team as a third round MLS Super Draft choice in 2008 and in this article Dynamo head coach at the time, Dominic Kinnear, admitted about Cameron’s pick “It was a gamble” . It didn’t take Dynamo supporters long to consider him heralded. He scored on his home debut against FC Dallas and was in the starting lineup for the second-leg of a CONCACAF Champions Cup match (predecessor to the current CCL) in Costa Rica early in his rookie season. Now he is one of the top American exports to the English Premier League.
The link to the story is below: (bleacherreport.com)
CONCACAF Gold Cup:
- The biennial CONCACAF Gold Cup will be held in the United States from July 7-26. The U.S. submitted a provisional 40 man roster to the Confederation last week…this roster needs to be reduced to 23 by June 27th. Players from Texas teams, or those that are Texas-natives, named to the preliminary roster include:
Defenders: Greg Garza (Atlanta United), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca, Mexico), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas)
Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas)
Goalkeeper: Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas)
U.S. born Gonzalez had previously announced his intention to play for Mexico, since he is a dual-national and has represented Mexico in youth tournaments. According to an article on mlssoccer.com, Fox Sports analyst and former Houston Dynamo Stuart Holden reported that he had recently spoken to Gonzalez’s agent, who said Gonzalez would accept the call if he is selected for the US 23-man roster for the Gold Cup. (mlssoccer.com)
- Other CONCACAF counties also released their provisional rosters. Players with current Texas connections include: (mlssoccer.com)
Canada: Tesho Akindele (FC Dallas)
Honduras: Maynor Figueroa (FC Dallas), Alberth Elis, Boniek Garcia and Rommel Quioto (Houston Dynamo)
Mexico: Erick Torres (Houston Dynamo)
Panama: Adolfo Machado (Houston Dynamo)
- The CONCACAF website featured an interview with former Dynamo legend Dwayne DeRosario who played for Canada in five Gold Cups before his retirement in 2015. Here is a link to the interview: (concacaf.com)
National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL):
The Houston Dash were held scoreless for the second consecutive week, losing 2-0 to the Washington Spirit at the Maryland SoccerPlex last Saturday. Though held scoreless, the Dash forced eight saves from the Spirit goalkeeper. With the loss, the Dash fell into last place in the league (2-6-0 and 6 points from 8 games). The Dash now have a week off before their next match against Orlando on June 17th. It is likely that a new permanent coach will be named at some point during the break, to replace Randy Waldrum who was fired two weeks ago. (houstondynamo.com)
United States Youth National Teams:
36 players have been called into the U.S. Under-15 Girls’ National Team training camp in Portland, Oregon, from June 11-18. Four Texas players will participate in this camp, three from the North Texas Solar Chelsea club…midfielder Olivia Pena (Irving) and forwards Trinity Byars (Richardson) and Alexis Missimo (Southlake). Goalkeeper Azul Alvarez (Lonestar SC; Round Rock) rounds out the Texas group.
Youth Soccer Development:
The U.S. Soccer Development Academy playoffs will take place June 22-26 in Westfield, Indiana (a suburb of Indianapolis). The Academy conducted its 2016-17 Playoff draw on Wednesday, with the qualified U-15/16 and U-17/18 teams drawn into eight groups of four teams each.
- FC Dallas, the defending champions at both age levels, was one of 23 club programs to qualify teams for the 2017 playoffs at both age levels. At the lower age level, FCD has been grouped with Crew SC Academy Wolves, New York City FC and Baltimore Armour. The older group will face New York Red Bulls, Seattle Sounders FC and Beachside Soccer Club in the group Stage. The game against Red Bulls will be one of the marquee match-ups of the group stage.
- The Houston Dynamo qualified a team at the U 15/16 level and face an all MLS group stage bracket, the first time this has happened in the Academy playoffs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, LA Galaxy, Philadelphia Union join the Dynamo in what will certainly be a challenging group.
Further details can be found in the link below: (ussoccer.com)
Other news of interest in Texas Soccer this week:
Major League Soccer (MLS):
An article by Anne M. Peterson from AP Sports reported on the recovery of FC Dallas’s Ryan Hollingshead, who was severely injured early this year when acting as a Good Samaritan on a Metroplex roadside. (AP Sports)
Sticking with national coverage of FC Dallas players, USA Today published a profile this week on goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez and the difficult decision he has made to represent Mexico in any future national team career. Despite rumors that FC Dallas continues to look at players in Mexico to fortify the goalkeeper position, Gonzalez was signed to a new deal this week that will keep him in Dallas until at least 2020. (Multiple sources)
United States Men’s National Team (USMNT):
- World Cup qualifying resumes next Thursday night when the U.S. plays Trinidad and Tobago in Colorado. Ahead of this qualifier, the USMNT will play a friendly against Venezuela in Sandy, Utah tonight. (ussoccer.com)
- The 26 man roster (Timothy Chandler withdrew from the original 27 named) includes 5 players with Texas ties: FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges and midfielder Kellyn Acosta, Houston Dynamo defender DaMarcus Beasley, Nacogdoches-native and Seattle forward Clint Dempsey and Dallas-native and Pachuca defender Omar Gonzalez. (ussoccer.com)
- The next goal Dempsey scores will be his 57th and will tie Landon Donovan for the U.S. goal scoring record. Jeremiah Oshan (@JeremiahOshan) from SB Nation’s Sounder at Heart Blog put together a list of all of Dempsey’s U.S. goals from his first against England in 2005 to his 56th which was scored in the draw with Panama on March 28th. He will certainly break this record (maybe tomorrow night, Thursday or in Mexico City Sunday) and hopefully play a key role in a deep U.S. FIFA World Cup run in Russia next year. I have been fortunate enough to be in the stadium to see him score 4 of the 56:
- #6 against Ghana at the 2006 World Cup in Germany
- #10, 11 against Barbados in a 2008 World Cup qualifier in LA.
- #22 a game-winner against Panama in a 2011 Gold Cup semifinal in Houston (sounderatheart.com)
- Former Houston Dynamo star, Geoff Cameron, is also on this USMNT roster named by head coach Bruce Arena. Good news for his future career came this week as Cameron and Stoke City announced a contract extension that will keep him in England through 2020. (ussoccer.com)
United States Youth National Teams:
- U.S. Soccer released additional details and renderings this week of the National Training and Development Center currently under development in Kansas City.
- The state-of-the-art facility will include five full-size fields, an 80,000-square-foot building and the nearby Wyandotte Youth Soccer Complex. This facility will also serve as the first ever permanent home for the U.S. Soccer Coaching Department (which includes referee development). Here is a link to the article on ussoccer.com.
- Three young forwards from North Texas were named to 24 player roster for the U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team camp in Chula Vista, CA that started yesterday: Enzi Broussard (IMG Academy; Carrollton, Texas), Samantha Meza (Dallas Kicks SC; Dallas, Texas) and Diana Ordonez (FC Dallas; Prosper, Texas)
- U.S. Under-14 Boys’ National Team head coach Clint Peay named a 20-player roster for the team’s second training camp of the year, that started earlier this week in Zagreb, Croatia. During the camp, the U-14’s will play friendlies against Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb, Bosnia, and will twice face Croatia. Two Texas players were named to this roster, and as is becoming common, both represent FC Dallas: midfielder Reece Frage from Plano and forward Dante Sealy from Frisco. (soccerwire.com)
Central American Soccer News:
According to a report from United Press International, four people tragically died and several others were injured in a stampede before a soccer game in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa. Apparently fans tried to force their way into a section of the sold-out stadium last Sunday for a Honduran league championship between Motagua and Honduras Progreso. Details are in the wire service story below: (upi.com)
Houston Dynamo vs. Real Salt Lake (RSL)
BBVA Compass Stadium – Houston-7:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Record and Standings:
Houston Dynamo: 6-5-2-20 points (Tied for second place in Western Conference) Home: 6-0-1
Real Salt Lake: 4-8-2-14 points (Tied for tenth place in Western Conference) Road: 1-5-1
- The Dynamo put their undefeated home record on the line tonight in a mid-week match against Real Salt Lake, who will be playing the first of two games in Texas this week. DaMarcus Beasley, who has been called into the U.S. National team camp ahead of the friendly against Venezuela and two upcoming World Cup qualifiers, will miss this game. RSL has their own issues as U.S. National Team goalkeeper Nick Rimando and four of their young players, who are in South Korea for the U-20 World Cup, will also be missing tonight.
- Real Salt Lake has only won two of the twelve games they have played in Houston in their short history.
Seattle Sounders vs. Houston Dynamo
Century Link Field-Seattle, WA-9:00 p.m. CDT, Sunday, June 4, 2017
The short-handed Dynamo travel to Seattle Sunday night to play the Sounders. This game is a poster child for why MLS needs to figure out how to not play during international breaks. In addition to Beasley, the Dynamo will be missing four key players who have been called into camps by their Central American countries. It will be no picnic for Seattle either, as due to call ups and an injury to former Dynamo Will Bruin, basically have no experienced forwards on their roster. Unfortunately for the Dynamo, South American qualification doesn’t resume until late summer, so Nicholas Lodiero will be present in Seattle this weekend. Given the Dynamo’s poor road form in general and terrible form in the Pacific Northwest specifically, this match will be a challenge regardless of who lines up on top for the Sounders.
FC Dallas (FCD) vs. Real Salt Lake
Toyota Stadium – Frisco-7:00 p.m., Saturday, June 3, 2017
FCD learned this week that they will need to play without key central defender Walker Zimmerman for the next 4-6 weeks due to an MCL Strain suffered in the draw with the Dynamo Sunday night. Center back is the one position on the team without significant depth and Zimmerman will be missed, especially since the other central defender, Matt Hedges, has been called into the U.S. Camp also. Head coach Oscar Pareja will be faced with some interesting decisions on Saturday night.
In an interview with LA Galaxy Insider on April 8th, former Galaxy and FC Dallas forward Carlos Ruiz confirmed that he has officially retired from soccer after a 23-year professional career. He also told Adam Serrano in the same interview that he plans to pursue a career in broadcasting as well as open up a youth soccer academy in the future.
Ruiz had his greatest success with Los Angeles, especially during the 2002 season when he won the MLS Golden Boot (most goals) with 24 goals and led the Galaxy to their first MLS Cup victory….scoring the match winning goal in extra-time.
He was traded to FC Dallas (FCD) in 2005 and played with them until the end of the 2007 season, scoring 36 goals in regular season and playoff competition for club. He then surprisingly returned to FCD last September to reinforce the squad for their playoff run, which unfortunately ended in a two-legged loss to eventual champion Seattle Sounders.
Ruiz was one of the most controversial players in MLS history. He truly was one of those players you love if he plays on your team and despise if he is an opponent. He doesn’t have many fans in Houston, especially because of the bust-up with Ricardo Clark in 2007 that resulted in a 9-match ban for Clark that caused him to miss the 2007 MLS Cup final.
Ruiz was also a constant thorn in the side of the United States National Team. He scored 3 goals against the U.S. in World Cup Qualifying campaigns, most recently last March in a 2-0 win in Guatemala. Ruiz ends his career as the all-time leading goal scorer in FIFA World Cup qualifying as well as the all-time leading goal scorer for Guatemala with 68 goals.
There is an inside joke among U.S. and MLS fans about being “CONCACAF’d” when something maddening happens to our domestic teams when playing in an international Confederation match. If there was a dictionary description of this term, Carlos Ruiz’s picture would probably be front and center in the description. Best Wishes.
Rudy Calderon of MLSsoccer.com put in a full days work this week. He researched and wrote an article ranking all 210 current MLS players who have played for their National soccer teams by country. Here are all of the Texas-born (based on 2017 MLS data) and Texas based players who have received “Caps” ranked based on the number of appearances for their respective national teams.
TEAM/PLAYER COUNTRY APPEARANCES/STATUS
Maynor Figueroa Honduras 113
Atiba Harris St. Kitts/Nevis 60 (Inactive)
Carlos Gruezo Ecuador 17
Tesho Akindele Canada 13
Roland Lamah Belgium 5 (Inactive)
Kellyn Acosta United States 4
Carlos Cermeno Venezuela 1
Matt Hedges United States 1
Walker Zimmerman United States 1
DaMarcus Beasley United States 124
Oscar Boniek Garcia Honduras 114
Adolfo Machado Panama 65
Ricardo Clark United States 34 (Inactive)
Vicente Sanchez Uruguay 31 (Inactive)
Romell Quioto Honduras 27
Alberth Elis Honduras 15
AJ DeLaGarza Guam 10
Erick Torres Mexico 4
Eric Alexander United States 2
AJ DeLaGarza United States 2
Note: AJ DeLaGarza could play for 2 countries because his appearances for the United States did not occur in FIFA-sanctioned (e.g., World Cup Qualifier) international matches.
Other native-Texan MLS players:
Clint Dempsey United States 130
Arturo Alvarez El Salvador 43
Brek Shea United States 34
Greg Garza United States 10
Lee Nguyen United States 9
Drew Moor United States 4
Qualification for FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia continues this evening. Last Friday night on Matchday 3, the United States, Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago all won at home. Mexico now leads the Hexagonal qualifying round with seven points, with only 4 points separating first from last. Tonight games are (1) Mexico at Trinidad and Tobago (2) Costa Rica at Honduras and (3) United States at Panama.
Texas and Texas-based players involvement in Friday-Matchday 3:
Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca-LigaMX) 90 minutes
Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders-MLS) 90 minutes-3 goals
Alberth Elis (Houston Dynamo-MLS) 90 minutes
Maynor Figueroa (FC Dallas-MLS) 90 minutes
Rommel Quito (Houston Dynamo) 43 minutes-left game with a shoulder injury
Adolfo Machado (Houston Dynamo) 75 minutes
Rommel Quioto’s availability for the Honduras-Costa Rica match, and also this Saturday night’s Houston Dynamo game against New York Red Bulls, is in question. Dynamo coach Wilmer Cabrera was quoted in a Houston Chronicle article by Corey Roepken as saying that he didn’t believe that Quioto was going to be available this week.
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.