Friday, April 06, 2007

Panthers On The Prowl News

Somehow seeing Houston lose to Pachuca last night was even more gut wrenching than DC losing to Guadalajara on Tuesday, in the CONCACAF Champions Cup.
For the second year in a row, 2 Mexican teams will play for the confederation crown. I hate it!
And just like DCU, Houston had em! They were up 4-3 with under 5 minutes to play. But could not hold on as Pachuca scored late and then again in extra time to end it.
A lot of Houston fans are probably screaming about the referee's decisions. He called them for 2 PK's, and the game winning goal came after time had expired in the first half of extra time.
But as horrible as Navarro the referee is, he was bad for both teams, and he is not the reason Houston lost.
They lost because Pachuca is a freaking attacking and goal scoring machine. Wow were they intense.
Some Houston players had magnificent games of skill or tenacity or both. Eddie Robinson, Brian Ching & Wade Barrett gave it everything they had and almost pulled it off for their team. Kelly Gray, Alejandro Moreno & Zach wells did their best too, but I am not so sure it's good enough at that level.
A couple guys were pretty disappointing too. Dwayne De Rosario had his moments, but seemed about 70% into it. Brad Davis didn't have the stamina it takes to be there for his teammates. Craig Waibel got handed his lunch on the right side of defense, and Ryan Cochran was not up to par in the middle.
And I have to say that I find fault in the tactics of Houston coach Dom Kinnear too, which I believe contributed to the reasons they lost.
He pulled out right back Craig Waibel cuz he was getting torched down his side of the field and replaced him with speedy midfielder Brian Mullan which worked pretty well. But it hurt them badly in two ways. First, it left centerback Ryan Cochran on the field, and Cochran had a terrible game, getting burned so many times it wasn't even funny. Waibel should have slid into the center and Cochran should have come out. Waibel was replaced by Stuart Holden who took up Mullan's spot. Yet when it came to crunch time Holden is nowhere near the midfielder Mullan is, and Kinear should have swapped those two around to get Mullan back in the attack. Secondly, on the other side of the field, Brad Davis is in such lousy shape he couldn't even go 70 minutes. Sad. He was replaced by Kevin Goldthwaite. Goldthwaite is the guy who put in the free kick for Ching to head home, but he was not an offensive threat other than that. Again I think it would have been better, when they really needed it to push Barrett into the attack and leave Goldthwaite to defend.
But that's just me.
Their team effort in the second half was something to be proud of, but giving up the 2 quick goals in the first half dug them such a hole, that I was just happy to see them still alive come 90 minutes.
Better luck next year boys.

CONCACAF Champions Cup:
Thursday-
Pachuca 5-2 Houston
- Pachuca wins 5-4 on aggregate in extra time. Pach goals by Christian Gimenez (3) & Gabriel Caballero (2), with Houston goals by Brian's Mullan and Ching.
-Video highlights
Match reports:
-Bernardo Fallas of the Houston Chronicle + more game notes
-Houston Dynamo homepage
-Jeff Carlisle of Soccernet

Houston team president Oliver Luck gathered some research in this trip to Pachuca for the match. He toured facilities for the home team and UNAM Pumas to gather ideas for a future Dynamo home. From MLSnet.
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MLS Opening Weekend 2007 - Season 12! Yes, it's really here!
(all times central)
Saturday:
Colorado v DC United - live at 2:30 on ABC
Salt Lake v Dallas - live at 5:00 on Direct Kick
Columbus v New York - live at 6:00 on Direct Kick & HDNet
Chicago v New England - live at 7:30 on Direct Kick
Chivas USA V Toronto - live at 9:30 on FSC
Sunday:
Houston v Los Angeles - live at 6:00 on Telefutura
-Kansas City is the odd team out this weekend.
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Here is my MLS season preview, posted today on the site of Denver's Rocky Mountain News. I blew it though, as I forget to put the teams in the order I think they will finish. So right now I kinda look like an idiot for having Houston listed last in the West. I have asked them to change it for me asap. So I hope that happens. Have patience with me please.
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You won't be hearing Eric Wynalda this weekend on the ABC telecast. He was suspended after his comments about radio host Jim Rome (see yesterdays du Nord), and will be replaced by Julie Foudy. What? Jack Edwards, Ty Keough and Marcello Balboa were all busy strangling cats?
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Stephen Brunt of the Toronto Globe & Mail with a great look at the different era that sees top tier football return to his city. The distance from NASL to MLS is light years to him. I could not agree more.
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Josh Gros will be kept out of DC United match with Colorado due to the concussion he suffered v Guadalajara this week.
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Shawn Mitchell of the Columbus Dispatch previews season 12 for the Mighty Crew. Can you say that with a straight face? I called em that, Mitchell didn't.
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Shalrie Joseph will not play for New England tomorrow due to calf injury.
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New England signed goalkeeper Matt Reis to a contract extension. Now they gotta find a way to pay Shalrie man! Come on! Make him happy! Make us all happy.
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Mike Biglin of the Boston Herald talks to New England defender Jay Heaps, who certainly needs a fresh start after being the guy who missed the PK that gave Houston the win in last seasons MLS Cup final.
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The Chicago Sun Times with a story on Fire keeper Matt Pickens, in the post-Zach Thornton world.
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Luis Arroyave of the Chicago Tribune feels a need to defend Chicago's signing of Cuauhtemoc Blanco. I understand doing it, but I say "to hell with em" if they don't get it. Let's wait to see what happens. Then we can all have our say.
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Looks like Toronto is moving another player out, as Jose Cancela has been sent to Colorado for a box of White Cheddar Cheez Nips, and some sorta official future consideration thing.
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Alecko Eskandarian warns the league about Toronto. He says they will rock! From the Toronto Globe & Mail
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The Denver Post with a story on forward Herculez Gomez who gets ready to suit up for his new team Colorado.
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Bob Holtzman of the LA Daily Breeze previews the season for Chivas USA.
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Marc Connolly of the US Players Assoc does the Q & A with New York wonder-man-child striker Jozy Altidore.
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Connolly also has a feature story on Dallas midfielder Arturo Alvarez.
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Ives Galarcep at Soccer looks at 10 players he says have something to prove this season. And he previews all 6 games this weekend.
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Steve Davis at MLSnet previews this weekends matchups too, and has some fancy insider league news tidbits.
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Greg Lalas with a MLS season preview for Sports Illustrated - 11 stories to follow.
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Ian Plenderleith at the US Players Assoc previews the MLS season.
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DJ Walker’s 3rd Annual MLS Preview, from 3rd Degree.
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USA Today with their season preview.
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Steven Goff of the Washington Post previews the season with a look at the potential Beckham impact.
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Grahame Jones of the LA Times looks at the business health of MLS on the eve of the 12th opener.
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Most of all the big city newspapers in America have a season preview today. I am not going to link to any more cuz if yer a regular reader of du Nord then I think you already know the score.
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Here's a preview from the Herald in Glasgow Scotland. Features quite a bit of news on the Scots in MLS, plus other things too.
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The other day, Bill Urban at the US PLayers Assoc called out the underachieving rookie class of 06. Today he previews the 07's.
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I attended the Minnesota Thunder practice today and posted a story at Blue Sky Soccer on the preseason so far. With notes on rostered players, trialists, and over-all team news.
-The Thunder also announced the signing of two more players this week - Ansu Toure, who returns to the team after failing to make the New York Red Bulls roster, and USA U20 forward Rodrigo Hidalgo.
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Four new articles from Soccer America today:
-Mike Woitalla with a great story on the influx of talented young African immigrant & refugee kids in American soccer. Including Minnesota's own Abdusalam Ibrahim from the USA U17 residency school who was drafted by Dallas a few months ago.
-They talk to Dan Courtemanche, who is in charge of marketing MLS. He says its getting easier to connect with people on the business level.
-Ridge Mahoney rings in A New Era For MLS. The changes this offseason have been absolutely amazing in my opinion.
-But on a more serious note - Where are the Black coaches? And executives for that matter.
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Setanta Sports says Everton are going to come after Chicago midfielder Justin Mapp in the next transfer window!
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Yanks Abroad talks to Jonathan Spector about how his team West Ham is going to avoid relegation from the Premiership.
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I feel bad for these young African players who are being told wild stories of success in MLS by agents. Here is a story so full of mistakes, lies and holes its not even funny. It says 33 Africans came to play in MLS last season. Have there been 33 Africans play in MLS in all 11 seasons combined? They also claim that the PDL is a professional league, when the whole point of the league is that it is most assuredly amateur.
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Copa Libertadores - this weeks matches:
Apr 03
Nacional 3-1 Emelec
Colo Colo 4-0 LDU Quito
El Nacional 0-1 Banfield
Apr 04
Cienciano 3-0 Boca Juniors
Sao Paulo 3-0 Necaxa
Maracaibo 1-2 Flamengo
Apr 05
Deportiva Pasto 0-2 Gimnasia
Caracas 3-1 River Plate
Defensor Sporting 0-2 Santos
-Match reports via Sports Illustrated.
-Flamengo, Santos, Colo Colo & Caracas have already qualified for the next round with all teams still having at least one more round of the group stage to play and some others have two.
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UEFA Cup - yesterday's scores - first leg:
AZ Alkmaar 0-0 Werder Bremen
Bayer Leverkusen 0-3 Osasuna
Sevilla 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Espanyol 3-2 Benfica
-Return legs to take place April 12.
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Valencia midfielder Vicente will be out of action at least a month with a torn thigh muscle suffered in the Champions League match v Chelsea on Wednesday.
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Aresnal coach Arsene Wenger comments on American Stan Kroenke buying a stake in the club.

7 Comments:

Anonymous soccersam said...

bruce,

in reference to the article about the professional brooklyn knights team of the pdl; as in a lot of d1 college sports, i.e. basketball and football, "amatuer" doesn't always mean you are not recieving benefits. a teammate of mine toiled on a pdl teams second squad because the 1st squad was full of argentine's who were brought in to play soccer and mow the grass at the complex for $20 an hour.

that aside, du nord is the best thing in the world.

-sam

9:28 PM  
Anonymous Thundergunner said...

I think that it is great that nearly every "players-to-watch" list for the upcoming season includes Jose Cancela. Apparently Mo Johnston doesn't feel the same way.

10:13 PM  
Blogger Matth: said...

It's too bad to see that Waldo was suspended. I think he'd warmed all of our hearts with the Rome comments. We should start a petition to get him back talking at us, so we can again complain about him.

10:16 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Despite the Houston loss, that was an amazing environment to play in and an even more entertaining game to watch. I completely forgot about the game and turned on FSC after a night of heavy drinking and i was completely spell-bound by the level of play. Pachuca looked incredible (I did only saw the OT tho). MLS fans can only hope for more of these matchups...although it is a little crazy that tickets were given away for free. But watching that game made me extremely exicted for the season.

Watch out for Martino on LA: Break Out Season. You heard it here first.

10:34 PM  
Blogger ChazHelms said...

While MLS certainly hasn't filled the ranks of every team with players from Africa yet, there have been well over 33, many of them very memorable. Who could forget Dr Khumalo or Mamadou Diallo. Other names like Dipsy Selowane, Vitalis Takawiri, Junior Agogo, and Chris Gbandi are names that are easily recognizable to many avid MLS fans.

Of the 53 African Nations that play in the CAF MLS has had players from:

Angola - 1
Botswana - 1
Cameroon - 2
Cape Verde - 2
Ghana - 6
Liberia - 6
Mali - 1
Morocco - 1
Mozambique - 2
Senegal - 3
Sierra Leone - 2
South Africa - 9
Togo - 1
Uganda - 5
Zimbabwe - 3

1:08 PM  
Blogger brucio said...

so that is 45 players from africa in 11 seasons

slightly different from 33 last year alone

that was the point i was trying to make

i wish there was 33 each year

8:58 AM  
Blogger Andy said...

Am I missing something? Guyana is in South America, not Africa. The 33 figure cited in the article is referring to PDL players moving up to MLS. Where does Africa come into the picture?

10:50 AM  

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