Barnes and Bruin “shoot to thrill” in win over Dempsey and Sounders

All the hype was around the return of Clint Dempsey last night at BBVA Compass Stadium and for good reason.
Dempsey started his first MLS game on his return from the EPL but when the dust settled Dynamo striker Giles Barnes took a bow and the Dynamo took a 3-1 win and a vital three points to keep pace in the Eastern Conference.
Barnes scored two stunning goals and an up and down night saw the Dynamo see out the win.
Seattle struggled mightily in the center back position with Djimi Traore and Patrick Ianni.
To make matters worse in the early stages Osvaldo Alonso was caught to high up the field and failed to protect them giving great space to the Dynamo behind their midfield.

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BARNES
Pressure was mounting on the striker to start scoring goals and he produced two “beauties” but more importantly worked better in combination with Will Bruin.
Two strikers need to play as ONE and they did on this night.

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After good work from Will Bruin, Barnes made space for himself at an angle past Sounders cb Djimi Traore and rifled a finish into the far upper corner to stake the Dynamo to a 1-0 in the 17th minute.

Only five minutes later Barnes would “unleash the fury” as Seattle allowed him to turn and with real conviction Barnes fired a blurry white orb past Michael Gspurning in goal for the Sounders to make it 2-0 at halftime.

JOSEPH SCORES ON HEADER
The Dynamo did not defend this header well and all of a sudden the Sounders were back in it and pressing the Dynamo who looked uncomfortable. Brad Evans came on and made a difference for Seattle who hit the post via Lamar Neagle and nearly tied the game.
Will Bruin would then pounce on a header that hit the crossbar , swivel and fire in a great goal to make it 3-1 and then the Dynamo would manage the game out.

SHARP/LAPSES IN CONCENTRATION
The Dynamo looked sharp on the ball on this night, and could only be criticized for a few self inflicted mistakes and moments where concentration waned. The elimination of these mistakes will be vital down the stretch run here .

OUTSIDE BACKS IMPRESSIVE
Both Cory Ashe and Kofi Sarkodie had solid games in the outside back position helping to control wide areas. Sarkodie continues to add the element of joining in to the attack in a timely manner and play some dangerous driven balls into the box.
He has also provided an outlet and support from behind.

BONIEK GARCIA
It is hard to think of the Dynamo without this Honduran international in the lineup.
Again outstanding with his attitude, effort and two way play.

SOCCER MATTERS ON ESPN 97-5 this Tuesday at 7-9 pm

Dempsey a cause to celebrate / Things to look for between Dynamo and Sounders today!

For U.S. soccer fans today will be a celebration with Clint Dempsey in attendance.
A celebration that an American player would be brought back to MLS in such significant fashion from the EPL.
Dempsey is a story that originated just like every youth player gracing a field today.
A story of dreams, desire and the ability to bounce back from disappointment to move forward his soccer and personal career.
Today is a great day for the U.S. soccer fan today in Houston.

The Dynamo take on the Seattle Sounders tonight at BBVA Compass Stadium and so much of the build up is rightly around Clint Dempsey coming to town. No doubt he has put a few more fans in the seats including 40 family members.
Dempsey is the draw but the fact is this game is huge for both the Dynamo and Seattle who both need points to secure a playoff spot.

DEMPSEY
He will get the start for Seattle manager Sigi Schmid and he is a “man for the big occasion”.
Still, Seattle is thin up front with Nigerian international Obafemi Martins out injured and Eddie Johnson unavailable due to suspension.
Lamar Neagle could be pushed up front and will bring some power and pace to pair with Dempsey. The worry with Dempsey is that he is such a good finisher he will not need many chances on a night the Dynamo should win the possession battle.

BONIEK RETURN
As much as Dempsey is a focal point the return of Boniek Garcia to the starting lineup is vital for the Dynamo. The team is just different and less dangerous without him. Boniek Garcia played sparingly at RSL in the 1-0 loss.
His decisions, ability to beat players off the dribble and unpredictable nature is needed.
Same for Andrew Driver who should play a part in this one.

LACK OF GOALS A CONCERN
Yes I know the Dynamo laced Columbus for three but they are 15 out of 19 teams in MLS in goals scored. Only CHivas USA, DC , Toronto and San Jose have scored less.
Will Bruin and Giles Barnes played better together against Columbus at home but were detached against RSL on the road.
Few runs were made looking for the ball behind the RSL defense and that has to change in order to create space for others.
The good news is the Dynamo are positioned well to start scoring goals. The return of Calen Carr could once again prove to be a boost with his movement and ability to stretch defenses. He seems to be two weeks away and told me he still is gaining confidence from his injury.
Two years in a row he has taught us the lesson of having a threat behind defenses and played a huge part in the playoff runs!
The Dynamo are also not the threat they once were on set pieces, they don’t seem to attack the ball with vigor.
No better day than today to change this and get moving towards a top three finish in MLS.

SOUNDERS
Sigi Schmid has selection choices and could move Lamar Neagle up front to play with Dempsey.
I would expect Brad Evans to start in midfield alongside Osvaldo Alonso despite playing with US in win against Bosnia Herzgovina. Schmid will see how much he can get out of the veteran.
Will it continue to be Marcus Hahnemann in goal over Michael Gspurning?
Deandre Yedlin he of the hair at right back is a young talent to watch and can get up and down. He will be challenged with the movement of Brad Davis who like to come inside.
Who will lock down Boniek Garcia for the Sounders.
If Lamar Neagle goes up front who plays in midfield for Seattle will be interesting.

TACTICS
Seattle will defend and absorb alot based on heat and look for moments to get forward which will be at test of concentration for the Dynamo. Neagle, Rosales, Dempsey will be the danger men on the counter attack.

KICK CANCER DEC 14,15

Weekend Watch List: August 16-19th

This is it! My final weekend watch list post and there is no better way to go out than this weekend! The return of Barclays Premier League, La Liga, and other European leagues mean there is no shortage of awesome games to catch this weekend so I’m going all out and giving you plenty of games to choose from! Instead of previewing each game, I’m going to layout all the games of note for this weekend and let you decide which are worth watching! If there are any games you specifically want me to preview, say the word and I will.

Friday, August 16th:
*Sochaux vs. Lyon
**Ligue 1 at 1:30 pm CST on BeIN Sport
*Paços de Ferreira vs. Braga
**Portuguese Liga at 2:15 pm CST on FirstRowSport.eu
*Morelia vs. Atlas
**Liga MX at 7:30 pm CST on Azteca
*Santos Laguna vs. U.A.N.L Tigres
**Liga MX at 9:30 pm CST on Univision Deportes

Saturday, August 17th:
*Aberdeen vs. Celtic
**Scottish Premier League at 6:30 am CST on Fox Soccer Plus
*Liverpool vs. Stoke City
**Barclays Premier League at 6:45 am CST ^
*Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Bayern Munich
**Bundesliga at 8:30 am CST on Gol TV
*Arsenal vs. Aston Villa
**Barclays Premier League at 9:00 am CST ^
*Norwich City vs. Everton
**Barclays Premier League at 9:00 am CST ^
*Swansea City vs. Manchester United
**Barclays Premier League at 11:30 am CST on NBC Sports Network
*Real Valladolid vs. Athletic Bilbao
**La Liga at 2:00 pm CST on BeIN Sport (Esp.)
*Valencia vs. Malaga
**La Liga at 4:00 pm CST on BeIN Sport (Esp.)
*Cruzeiro vs. EC Vitoria
**Brasileirao at 4:30 pm CST on FirstRowSport.eu
*Cruz Azul vs. Atlante
**Liga MX at 5:00 pm CST on Univision
*Veracruz vs. Queretaro
**Liga MX at 5:00 pm CST on Univision Deportes
*New England Revolution vs. Chicago Fire
**MLS at 6:30 pm CST on FirstRowSport.eu
*New York Red Bulls vs. Philadelphia Union
**MLS at 7:00 pm CST on NBC Sports Network
*Monterrey vs. Tijuana
**Liga MX at 7:00 pm CST on UniMas
*Pachuca vs. America
**Liga MX at 7:00 pm CST on Univision Deportes
*Colorado Rapids vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
**MLS at 8:00 pm CST on FirstRowSport.eu
*Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders
**MLS at 8:00 pm CST on Comcast Sports Net
*L.A. Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake
**MLS at 9:30 pm CST on FirstRowSport.eu
*Portland Timbers vs. FC Dallas
**MLS at 10:00 pm CST on FirstRowSport.eu

Sunday, August 18th:
*Ajax Amsterdam vs. Feyenoord Rotterdam
**Dutch Eredivisie at 5:30 am CST on Gol TV
*Spartak Moscow vs. Rubin Kazan
**Russian Premier League at 6:45 am CST on FirstRowSport.eu
*AS Monaco vs. Montpellier
**Ligue 1 at 7:00 am CST on FirstRowSport.eu
*Crystal Palace vs. Tottenham Hotspur
**Barclays Premier League at 7:30 am CST ^
*Chelsea vs. Hull City
**Barclays Premier League at 10:00 am CST ^
*Maritimo vs. Benfica
**Portuguese Liga at 11:45 am CST on FirstRowSport.eu
*Barcelona vs. Levante
**La Liga at 12:00 pm CST on BeIN Sport
*U.N.A.M Pumas vs. Leon
**Liga MX at 12:00 pm CST on Univision Deportes
*Real Madrid vs. Real Betis
**La Liga at 2:00 pm CST on BeIN Sport
*Vitoria Setubal vs. FC Porto
**Portuguese Liga at 2:00 pm CST on FirstRowSport.eu
*Paris Saint-Germain vs. AC Ajaccio
**Ligue 1 at 2:00 pm CST on FirstRowSport.eu
*Corinthians vs. Coritiba
**Brasileirao at 2:00 pm CST on FirstRowSport.eu
*Sevilla vs. Atletico Madrid
**La Liga at 4:00 pm CST on FirstRowSport.eu
*Chivas Guadalajara vs. Puebla
**Liga MX at 5:00 pm CST on Univision Deportes
*Juventus vs. Lazio
**Italian Super Cup at 5:30 pm CST on BeIN Sport

Monday, August 19th:
*Manchester City vs. Newcastle United
**Barclays Premier League at 2:00 pm CST ^
*Almeria vs. Villarreal
**La Liga at 3:00 pm CST on BeIN Sport (Esp.)
*Celta Vigo vs. Espanyol
**La Liga at 3:00 pm CST on FirstRowSport.eu

^NBC Sports Network live stream

Thank you for checking out this section this summer!
Written by Cari Gelal
@CariGelal

So do you like Klinsmann now? U.S. produce in second half to win 4-3 in Europe

It was not the easiest of starts for Jurgen Klinsmann when he took the job of manager of the U.S. National team a few years back. Many claimed he was suspect tactically as a manager and did not agree with his different methods.
Were people actually rooting against a U.S. manager that had won a World Cup and the Champions League?
Klinsmann has always been a “learner” and if we look back on his time as German manager he ultimately pulled things together. For the moment, the moment, things are shining brightly for the U.S. manager:

*With three different squads, Klinsmann has achieved different winning results.
The U.S. is a-top World Cup qualifing in Concacaf, won the Gold Cup to become “kings of Concacaf” and now have pulled off a come from behind win in Europe which is the “gold standard” for Klinsmann.
It is now 12 wins in a row.

*Donovan back: Klinsmann has navigated the return of Landon Donovan which we all no is essential. The “soccer brain” and talented of Donovan is a must for Brazil 2014 and getting him back in the fold may be one of Klinsmann’s biggest coup’s.

* Expanded the depth: Klinsmann has used 61 players for the U.S. national team and is expanding the depth of the player from MLS and in Europe. Witness yesterday the inclusion of central defender John Brooks of Hertha Berlin and Aron Johnannson of Alkmaar. These are two examples of players that are thirsty to get to a World Cup and are increasing the competition. No one can get comfortable.
Brooks is 20 and young and pushing in a needed area of the team and Johannsson should good movement and technically sharp. Exciting and interesting.

*Altidore on track- The U.S. and fans are feeling that they finally have their out and out striker to replace Brian McBride as a constant. Altidore ripped apart Bosnia Herzgovina and his maturity is something to marvel at.

Klinsmann’s use of the press is also a positive for the game in this country.
Give me your thoughts on Klinsmann.

KICK CANCER DECEMBER 14,15 BALD IS BEAUTIFUL this weekend before Dynamo/Seattle

Twitter: GlennDavisSoc Like us at facebook: Soccer Matters

Q&A with Seattle Sounders Coach Sigi Schmid

Ahead of this weekend’s highly anticipated match between the Houston Dynamo and the Seattle Sounders, Glenn was able to pick the brain of Seattle’s head coach Sigi Schmid. Here are some of the highlights of the interview. Catch the full interview at www.espn975.com

GD: What does the signing of Clint Dempsey mean to Seattle, what does it mean to you as a coach and what it may mean ultimately to the league?
SS: Well I think I’m going to start the other way around. I think what it means to the league is absolutely massive. The statement that the league is sending by bringing a player back like Clint, by having the ability to pay top dollar for an American player, not to spend that on a foreign player sends a huge message to not only all the American players but to all the other leagues out there that MLS is ready to step up another level, to move up one more level. So we’re very fortunate in Seattle obviously to have been able to acquire Clint and having the wherewithal because of our huge fan support that our ownership felt that they could make that commitment and was willing to make that commitment and I think that’s something that is going to help us maintain and sustain and increase the fan support and the following that we have here. I think it’s an absolutely massive statement for the league to bring a player of his quality back at this time in his career.

GD: How much of your job these days is managing the personality, the person that these players are on your roster?
SS: It’s always been a big part of the job, at least, the way I’ve always approached coaching. I think management, people management, whatever you want to call it, but it’s really to me, coaching has always been about getting the best out of each individual. You have to know your individuals, you have to know what makes them tick, you have to know what motivates them. Sometimes you want to know which buttons you can push or shouldn’t push, but more so than anything you want the players to be passionate, you want the players to know how passionate you are and you want to have trust between you and your players, you want to be honest with them. That’s always been a big part of it for me and certainly as you go up and you’re dealing with higher quality players, better levels of players, that aspect probably plays a larger role to an extent because you’re not working with as much with “okay, here’s how you should strike the ball, here’s how you control the ball, here’s how you can hit a better cross…”, I mean you’re doing some of that still, always, but you’re spending a lot more time on just working with the individual player and getting them to tactically and psychologically be able to work with each other.

GD: Even with all your success, MLS Cups and we can go on and on. Clearly right now, if you decided to get out of the game, which we know you’re not gonna, you’d go down as one of the most historic coaches in the game here if not the most historic coach. But when I look at these players now, even with your background, your history, your experiences, do you still get guys who challenge you? Do you think a Clint Dempsey will come in and challenge you maybe tactically or want to discuss something that he may not agree with? Do you still get that?
SS: Yeah, you get challenged everyday and I wouldn’t want it any different. One of the things I say to all my players is if we get into a discussion on the field, I have to walk away the winner. If you want to have a real discussion then let’s sit down, you know, we’ll close the door and we’ll talk about it and I’ll listen to what you have to say and you’ll hear what I have to say and we’ll come to a conclusion. I think it’s good when players challenge you. I think it’s good when players are thinking into the game because it shows me that they are immersed in the game and when they are immersed into your training sessions but more so when they are immersed into the competition on the Saturdays, the better decisions they are going to make in critical situations in the game. So you want guys who are thinking the game through, who are not just looking towards you on the bench to give them the answer. What you’re trying to do during the week is put them in situations where they have to create answers themselves so players will always challenge you in terms of how you’re playing, where you’re playing. I used to have a player, he used to say “well my skill set is better suited for this” and me and that player get along really, really well, we’re good friends, but it was always conversations started with “I don’t know if you are using my skill set properly coach” and we’d always start from there and we’d always figure out a way that he could be very beneficial to our team.

GD: Real quick, back to Clint, does this put additional pressure on you personally now to succeed?
SS: Yeah, I mean, it does for sure. To the fan, the casual observer it’s now “hey, there’s no excuses now for them not winning it, they spent the most money…” I mean, New York has spent a lot of money for a lot of years and hasn’t won anything. L.A. has spent money and was spending money and wasn’t even making the playoffs in the early years of Beckham and then all of the sudden the addition of Robbie Keane, and he was the catalyst who worked for them in combination with Donovan and with Beckham and then with Omar Gonzalez maturing, they became the best team in the league and won MLS Cups. Now for us it’s a matter of being able to take the abilities of Clint, add them to what we already have, make ourselves a very consistent team, especially when it comes to the playoffs, and win. But at the end of day, the pressure is always there for me because I put pressure on myself and there’s nothing that I would rather do than win a championship for the great fans that we have in Seattle because their support from day one has been phenomenal and I would love to be able to return the MLS Cup to them as a gift but we still have a lot of hard work to do.

Transcribed by Cari Gelal
@CariGelal

Weekend Watch List: August 9-11th

I sure do love August! While the summer comes to a close, it means the opening of European domestic leagues, starting this weekend with the German Bundesliga and French Ligue 1! Let’s get after it!

Must Watch Matches:
*Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Monchengladbach

**Friday, August 9th at 1:30 pm CST on GOL TV
***True to the letter, Bayern Munich looks to start right where they left off at the end of the season by taking on Borussia Monchengladbach to kick off the 2013-14 Bundesliga season. In their final fixture of 2012-13, Bayern sent off manager Jupp Heynckes with an entertaining 4-3 victory over Gladbach, with a Franck Ribery brace and Javi Martinez and Arjen Robben each getting on the score sheet. However, under new manager Pep Guardiola, we will expect to see a slightly different Bayern side than last season, with the additions of Mario Gotze and Thiago Alcantara looking to make Bayern’s attack even more dangerous. Meanwhile Gladbach’s squad is relatively unchanged since last season, maintaining almost all of their main players and just adding three new signings in Max Kruse who had a brilliant first season in the Bundesliga last year with SC Freiburg, Christoph Kramer from Bayer Leverkusen, and Raffael from Dynamo Kyiv.

*Montpellier vs. Paris Saint-Germain
**Friday, August 9th at 1:30 pm CST on BeIN Sport and Univision Deportes
***Ligue 1 action kicks off this weekend as well with the league title holders Paris Saint-Germain making a visit to Montpellier. This year’s PSG squad is looking even more dangerous than before with the addition of Edinson Cavani from Napoli in the summer transfer window. After claiming the Trophée des Champions following a late comeback in a 2-1 win over Bordeaux last weekend, PSG now set their sights on repeating the Ligue 1 title under the new management of Laurent Blanc. Fun Fact: PSG boss Laurent Blanc is the all-time leading scorer for Montpellier.

*Real Salt Lake vs. Houston Dynamo
**Saturday, August 10th at 8:30 pm CST on Comcast Sports Net
***Fresh off their 3-1 win over Columbus on the weekend, the Dynamo are on the road to take on Real Salt Lake in my MLS game to watch this weekend. All eyes were on the Dynamo attack, which is finally getting goals from strikers Cam Weaver and Will Bruin, and the spectacular form that Oscar Boniek Garcia has been in of late. However, this attack is having to go up against arguably the best shot-stopper in the league in Nick Rimando. While Rimando, Tony Beltran, and Kyle Beckerman were out with the Gold Cup squad, Salt Lake struggled but still remained atop the standings. With them back, Real is once again one of the strongest MLS sides. This weekend’s match will be a midfield battle with the Dynamo’s creative attackers such as Boniek Garcia and Brad Davis going head to head with Beckerman and Javier Morales.

*León vs. Morelia
**Saturday, August 10th at 8:06 pm CST on Telemundo
***While not the headline clubs in Mexico, these two squads have gotten off to hot starts in Apertura 2013 already. León is unbeaten so far in 4 games with two solid wins over Atlas and Atalante, led by Mexican internationals Carlos Peña and Luis Montes as well as new signing Mauro Boselli. Morelia has been on a goal scoring tear so far this season with 10 goals in 4 games led by the lethal Jefferson Montero with 5 goals and Hector Mancilla with 4. If you want a high scoring match, this game is for you!

*UANL Tigres vs. Monterrey
**Saturday, August 10th at 7:00 pm CST on UniMas
***You’ve got to love a good Mexican league rivalry, and this match is one of the biggest. Despite slow starts for both in Apertura 2013, Tigres and Monterrey have the two best all-around squads in the league and are expected to turn it on in this edition of Clásico Regiomontano. Tigres finally got their first positive result of the season with a 2-0 win over Pumas with Danilinho and Damiám Alvarez getting on the score sheet. Meanwhile, Monterrey have had three draws so far with Dorlan Pabon netting 3 times for los Rayados and Humberto Suazo picking up his slick form right where he left off last season.

Honorable Mention:
*Bordeaux vs. AS Monaco

**Saturday, August 10th at 2:00 pm CST on BeIN Sport
***Not very often does one recommend watching a team that was just promoted to the first league, however with all the cash AS Monaco has splashed out this summer it is definitely a club to watch in the French first division this season. New signings include Radamel Falcao from Atlético Madrid, James Rodríguez and João Moutinho from Porto, Jérémy Toulalan from Málaga, Ricardo Carvalho from Real Madrid, and Eric Abidal from Barcelona, just to name a few. It will be interesting to see what manager Claudio Ranieri can get from this hodge podge of new and old players.

*Manchester United vs. Wigan Athletic
**Sunday, August 1tth at 8:00 am CST on Fox Soccer
***David Moyes looks to kick off his reign as Manchester United manager with some silverware as the Red Devils take on relegated FA Cup winners Wigan Athletic in the Community Shield on Sunday. Despite a lukewarm showing in their pre-season tour, United is confident they will not suffer a similar fate as their “noisy neighbors” Manchester City did when they were upset by Wigan in the FA Cup Final last May. Also under new management, Wigan has been steadily rebuilding their squad with 10 new signings under manager Owen Coyle as they prepare to fight for promotion from the Championship league.

*Toronto FC vs. Seattle Sounders
**Saturday, August 10th at 6:00 pm CST on FirstRowSport.eu
***Not sure if you’ve heard but a certain someone caused massive waves in the soccer world this week with his transfer from the English Premier league to the MLS. No, not another old European, it’s the American, Clint Dempsey who completed a move from Tottenham Hotspur to the Seattle Sounders in a deal worth $33 million (Dempsey’s salary is now a whopping $24 million). No word yet on whether or not Dempsey will make his first appearance for the Sounders this weekend (he has reportedly been sick this week) but rest assured, Seattle is now even more so a threat and title contender in the MLS this season.

Make sure to check out my final Weekend Watch List next week!

Questions, Comments, Concerns, Recommendations?
@CariGelal

An Interview with Oscar Boniek Garcia

Earlier this week Glenn had the opportunity to catch up with the Houston Dynamo’s midfield maestro Oscar Boniek Garcia to chat about the Dynamo, Honduras, and his life in soccer. Oscar is translated by Lester Gretsch.

GD: Do you feel like you are getting back into a better rhythm now, based off of injury and national team call-ups?
OBG: Over the last 3 or 4 games that I’ve played I’ve felt definitely more dynamic, I felt, a lot more desire to play. Definitely being involved with the team and being consistently playing has helped me get back into the groove of things so I’m definitely feeling a lot better than I did a few weeks ago.

GD: I got the sense against Chicago that he seems to be continuing to platform forward, is that the way you feel?
OBG: Yeah that obviously the case. Obviously depending on how the game is going and what Dom wants me to do on the field I may be getting a little bit further than you’re used to seeing me on the field but yeah, that’s something I’m trying to do more and more of as the season progresses.

GD: Does your role change by the game and by the opponent for the Dynamo? For instance are there certain games where he’s asked to attack more or certain games where he’s asked to play wide more or certain games where he’s asked to come into the interior of the midfield. Does your role change a lot based on opponents?
OBG: I don’t think so. I think it’s more of a case of the amount of space that I am given by the opposing club and also how the club is going. I always try to do the same level of work, try to be consistent in the way I perform on the field, but it just depends on how, like I said, how the game is going and whether I have those opportunities to get a little bit more forward than usual.

GD: We all know you’re great in tight areas, you’re great taking people on, you’re a breakdown type of player, how is that sort of nurtured, going back to your youth?
OBG: In Honduras I always used to play a lot of 5v5 soccer and on small fields and that definitely helped me develop my game and helped me develop the way I like to handle those situations and once I came over here, you know just acquiring the technique and the knowledge of soccer and the philosophy that they like to implement among players here has certainly taken my game to a whole new level in that regard.

GD: Is it the happiest you are, when you’re playing soccer?
OBG: I think so. I think that whenever I’m on the field and whenever I have a ball at my feet I’m at my happiest.

GD: How about Honduras in the Gold Cup. Was it difficult watching and not being able to play for them?
OBG: Yeah unfortunately it was frustrating and also sad just knowing that I couldn’t be there to help my country and my national team, help fulfill a goal that has eluded us for many years which is reaching a final. But definitely it’s just one of those things that happen. I knew that I wasn’t going to be playing the Gold Cup well in advanced so I wasn’t surprised but I was prepared for it. But definitely it’s just one of those things that happen, sometimes you just gotta grin and bear it and watch from the outside looking in.

GD: Let’s talk about Honduras in World Cup Qualifying. How do you feel about where the team is positioned in the ultimate goal of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil?
OBG: I definitely feel good about our chances. I know that we have four very difficult games coming up, especially the first one against Mexico in Mexico, but given the current state of affairs with the Mexican National Team I think that can actually be a game changer for us and for them as well, but particularly speaking for Honduras it could be one of these game that can actually give us the confidence we need to be able to get over that hurdle and qualify for the World Cup.

GD: How about the manager, Luis Suarez, for Honduras. What type of manager is he and do you like his coaching style?
OBG: As a person, he’s a very good person. He’s one that always likes for players to have an open dialogue with him to always bring up his problems or their problems and vice versa. He doesn’t like his players to keep things bottled up inside. As a coach he’s very demanding. He always expects the most out of his players, he always pushes them to the max. But of course, obviously, just like with any other coach when the results don’t go the team’s way, obviously the first one to blame would be him. But obviously he’s definitely a person who can take us where we need to go.

GD: How about a quick word on your trial over at Paris Saint-Germain. What was that like when you went over there? I know you played some friendly games for them so what was your European experience like?
OBG: It helped me learn a lot, not only as a person, on a personal level, but on a soccer level, on a professional level. It was a very intense period of 10 days where I just learned a lot and was able to develop a better understanding of how things are done in Europe and also how things would be done here in the United States, because there is also a great level of skill and a great level of professionalism in the league here in this country.

GD: We know you are a symbol to the Honduran fans and obviously there are a lot of Honduran fans here in Houston, how do we get more of those fans out to the games? I know some of them come but there are so many more! Any ideas?
OBG: Yeah I’m really proud of Central American people, particularly Honduran fans, that come out and support their teams, particularly during the Gold Cup. As we saw recently, whenever we played international games here that they really come out in great numbers but I really don’t have a clear idea as to what needs to be done in order to bring these people out in a more regular fashion to Dynamo games and to watch MLS. It’s probably just going to take some time and it will be a matter of just continuing to plug away and promote to those communities.

GD: Is there something specific the Honduran fan looks for when it comes to watching soccer live in a stadium?

OBG: Yeah, in my view I think just seeing an Honduran player not only playing here locally but also playing with the Dynamo, I think that should be motivation enough to get a lot of these people to come out and support the national team players.

Weekend Watch List: August 2-4th

I do love a good preseason! Especially when we get to see top clubs that wouldn’t normally get the chance to play each other face off in “friendlies”. This weekend, we’ve got some of these friendlies coming your way with the Guinness International Champions Cup and, of course, some good ‘ole MLS and Liga MX league matches.

Must Watch Games:
*Juventus vs. L.A. Galaxy

**Saturday, August 3rd at 7:00 pm CST on Fox Soccer
***Okay, so my bracket may have already been busted and in my opinion, it is all Andrea Pirlo’s fault. He decided to miss his penalty (which would have won the match for Juventus) to prove to the world that he is, in fact, human. Just kidding. Sort of. Not Really. Despite making a comeback in the second half (including a stunner from Asamoah outside the box), Juventus couldn’t make that final push to get past Tim Howard and Everton, losing 5-6 on penalties. Meanwhile, in Phoenix, Coach Bruce Arena decided to give the young guys a shot against one of the strongest squads in Europe. For perspective, Real Madrid’s starting frontline: Angel di Maria, Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo. L. A.’s: Jack McBean(18 years old) and Jose Villarreal(19 years old). Even without the likes of Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, L.A. held their own and only lost 3-1 with the highlight of the game centering on Jose Villarreal’s sweet control and stinging shot in the 63rd minute.

*Everton vs. Real Madrid
**Saturday, August 3rd at 9:30 pm CST on Fox Soccer
***Well, Everton, aka the bracketbusters, impressed on Wednesday night with Roberto Martinez’s young squad seeming calm, composed, and dangerous, even with the immense pressure applied by Juventus in the second half (and when I say calm and composed, check out 19 year old John Stones cheekily chip the keeper in a must score situation in the penalty shootout). Everton’s marquee signing this summer, the highly touted U-19 Spanish international Gerard Deulofeu (on loan from Barcelona) did not feature in the game against Juventus but will hopefully see the pitch in the game against Real Madrid. Meanwhile, in Real Madrid’s opener, people came to see Cristiano Ronaldo but it was Isco, the 21-year-old new signing from Malaga who stole the show (and hearts of all the ladies in the stadium). The Spanish U-21 international playmaker lit up Lucas Oil Stadium, taking part in both goals via beautiful long balls over the top of the defense.

*Valencia vs. Inter Milan
**Sunday, August 4th at 3:00 pm CST on Fox Soccer
***It’s been a tough to 2013-2014 campaign for Valencia, and the season hasn’t even started yet. Los Che have yet to get a win so far in preseason (4 losses and a 0-0 draw) and have just lost their top goal scoring talisman Roberto Soldado to Tottenham Hotspur. Inter have had a slightly better start to their preseason (3 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss) under new manager Walter Mazzarri but have yet to form a distinct identity as a group. Inter lost their opener 2-0 to Chelsea while Valencia lost their opener 2-1 to A.C. Milan in their home stadium Estadio de Mestalla last weekend.

*A.C. Milan vs. Chelsea
**Sunday, August 4th at 5:30 pm CST on Fox Soccer
***Despite logging approximately 15000 miles traveling from their tour of Asia to the United States, Chelsea looked fresh and smooth, cruising out to a 2-0 lead in the first 30 minutes of the game against Inter Milan. Now the Blues face another team from the Italian city: A.C. Milan who were able to dispatch a lackluster Valencia squad 2-1 in Estadio de Mestalla last weekend before traveling to Munich to compete in the 2013 Audi Cup against Manchester City and Sao Paulo.

*Sporting Kansas City vs. New York Red Bulls
**Saturday, August 3rd at 5:30 pm CST on NBC Sports Network
***This week’s most mouth-watering match up is an Eastern Conference top-of-the-table showdown between Kansas City and the New York Red Bulls. So far, Kansas City has gotten the better of New York this season with a 1-0 win at Red Bull Arena. As always, Thierry Henry is putting together another fantastic season heading the Red Bulls frontline, while Graham Zusi is always worth watching pull the strings in the midfield.

Honorable Mention:
*Houston Dynamo vs. Columbus Crew

**Saturday, August 3rd at 8:00 pm CST on Comcast Sports Net
***The Houston Dynamo are coming off a 1-1 draw last weekend against the Chicago Fire in which, despite earning Houston’s first goal from a striker since May 8th, saw Houston create a decent amount of chances but fail to capitalize on them. Meanwhile, Columbus has been struggling the past month with only 1 win in their last 4 matches and are looking to start off this new month and new era in ownership (Precourt Sports Ventures announced they have acquired the club from Hunts Sports Group on Tuesday) by getting a result off the Dynamo.

*Veracruz vs. Cruz Azul
**Saturday, August 3rd at 5:00 pm CST on Univision Deportes
***If you would have told me that Veracruz would be leading the table 3 weeks ago I would have laughed in your face, however, I love being proved wrong! Veracruz has come flying out of the gates in Apertura 2013, scoring 8 goals in 3 matches and led brilliantly by Angel Reyna’s 5 goals and 1 assist. The 28-year-old new signing has already matched his tally of 5 goals from his 16 appearances on loan at Pachuca in the 2013 Clausura from Monterrey and is looking like he is getting back some of the brilliance we saw from him at Monterrey and Club America. Cruz Azul has yet to get back the form they saw in Clausura 2013 and have been struggling to find cohesion in the attack.

*Portland Thorns FC vs. Kansas City FC
**Sunday, August 4th at 7:30 pm CST on Fox Soccer
***Miss U.S. Women’s National team action? Well we have what is gearing up to be the biggest match in the new NWSL between second placed Portland Thorns and league leaders Kansas City FC. Alex Morgan, Rachel Buehler, Christine Sinclair, and Tobin Heath will all be featuring for the Portland Thorns as they face off against Lauren Cheney, Nicole Barnhart, and Becky Sauerbrunn for Kansas City FC, just to name a few names. To continue name dropping, Glenn Davis will be calling the match!

Written by Cari Gelal
@CariGelal

A look at the Dynamo strikers and when the break-out will occur?

Despite the fact that Cam Weaver scored (a great build up which you can see today on Dynamo Weekly Inside Look) from the striker position for the Dynamo in the 1-1 draw with Chicago, the club is struggling to score goals from this area in MLS play.

Clear chances from Giles Barnes and Jason Johnson were not converted and the Dynamo left two very valuable points on the table. With the knowledge that Weaver was the first striker to score since May 8th lets take a look at the Dynamo strikers:

WILL BRUIN: (4 Goals)
The “Dancing Bear” scored a whopping 16 goals last year for the Dynamo but seemed to be struggling with confidence before being called into the Gold Cup.
Now maybe the break away from the Dynamo has been good for Bruin who could return to the starting lineup on Saturday with a fresh perspective after spending a few weeks with Jurgen Klinsmann and the U.S.
A couple of weeks of working in a different environment with the national team might be exactly what is needed, then again, he did not play a minute in the Gold Cup and his game sharpness could be effected.
The Dynamo need Bruin to find goal and find them soon.

GILES BARNES (4 goals)
Barnes is the leading shot taker on the Dynamo and to be fair has been victimized by good goalkeeping and probably some less than good fortune. I still find it hard to believe he did not score a few weeks back in Montreal.
Still, his missed one on one was costly against Chicago and is the kind of chance that the Dynamo have to convert.
His ability to come from deep is a real threat, he has been getting chances but now he has to take them.
That pocket of space at the top of the box is perfect for his power from long range.

CAM WEAVER (1)
Scored against Chicago after a wonderful build-up started by Boniek Garcia.
Weaver was an afterthought last year and fought his way back into contention through sheer effor. His big frame, willingness to throw himself at anything has to be admired along with his work ethic and he has suffered from injury.
His flicks on’s off goal kicks can lead to danger for other’s running off him.

OMAR CUMMINGS
The big off-season signing from Colorado has been a big in-season injury.
Limited minutes is a real concern and his injury prone nature has to have the Dynamo pulling their hair out.
Seeing him the lineup a few games back reminded us his movement could be a danger piece to the Dynamo attack. He has scored 39 MLS goals.
There has been an investment in Cummings not only to produce goals but to be a “unique” and diverse defense stretching striker when he steps on the field.
Opponents have to honor his pace by dropping deeper defensively which can alleviate pressure in midfield.
Cummings is a story to follow for the rest of the season.

BRIAN CHING (0)
Dynamo all time leading goal scorer.
Ching currently injured has played limited minutes although early in the season was excellent off the bench in managing the game out and providing a lift.

JASON JOHNSON (0)
The rookie has had a few opportunities and each time has gotten chances but has failed to deliver. A player for the future who needs to hone his finishing skills to take advantage of obvious physical gifts. Does have power and pace and is getting opportunity in year one.

CALEN CARR
The injured Carr is re-habbing and quickly we are reminded of his wonderful goal in the MLS Cup Final.
The past two seasons Carr has reminded us vividly that a striker with pace can influence opponents and their approach.
Carr could be the x factor with his movement and mobility. He has scored 14 goals in 7 MLS seasons.

It is easy to over-analyze the situation and wonder if it is lack of confidence, poor luck, or simply lack of form . In this case the numbers don’t lie and the Dynamo midfield needs the burden of not having to score goals lifted.
No one can say that strikers did not get enough chances against Chicago to win the game. Still the Dynamo have been less dangerous off set pieces and corners this year .
At some point someone is going to break out and go on a run of goals and the mood from the striker position can change but for the moment this is an area of concern.
For the moment the Dynamo are getting the bulk of their goals of midfield players.

With a fresh Bruin coming back, Barnes coming close, Weaver scoring vs. Chicago, Carr getting healthy and Johnson showing promise one has to think goals will come from this position.

Your thoughts? Who is your ultimate pair up front for the Dynamo based on their stable of strikers?

Twitter: GlennDavisSoc

United States “Kings of Concacaf” for the moment/ Donovan back

The United States defeated Panama 1-0 to win the Gold Cup yesterday in Chicago.
The winning result in the final capped off a tournament that included 1-0 win over Panama and Costa Rica and dominant results over the likes of Belize, Cuba, El Salvador and Honduras.
Brek Shea got the game winner in the second half on a tap in at the far post.
Panama was determined and organized defensively making it a difficult match.

The U.S. have proved out their depth in this tournament getting solid performances from the likes of Nick Rimando, Kyle Beckermann, Joe Corona, Clarence Goodson and others.

Landon Donovan played and led with a real determination that has clearly been a statement that he is ready mentally to come back into the U.S. fold.

Shea will now join Stoke City in the EPL and try to impress manager Mark Hughes over the course of the next few weeks.

The U.S. truly were a team playing with a real spirit and a real connection with their manager Jurgen Klinsmann who awhile back was being criticized by many.
The U.S. will now get back to focusing on World Cup qualification which will resume in September.

A worrisome note from yesterday’s final was Stuart Holden injuring his knee prompting manager Jurgen Klinsmann to say “it doesn’t look good”.

Twitter: GLennDavisSoc