Is it Omar time?/ Moyes out/ Why the Dynamo draw was uplifting!

A few quick thoughts then hoping on a plane:

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OMAR CUMMINGS- Cummings was brought in from Colorado to be that defense stretching striker the Dynamo need in their arsenal.
Injuries left Cummings shelved most of the time last year and despite being one of the highest paid Dynamo players his playing time has been limited and as a wide midfielder mainly.
Last year he scored twice in the playoffs to knock out the Red Bulls so could Wednesday be a time for Cummings to get a run up front?

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DAVID MOYES out at Manchester United
Do we really know the story?
Who knows but one thing we do know is that United by their standards failed miserably this year after winning the Premier League title last year.
Was Moyes the right man for this job? Did Sir Alex leave him the club in the proper way despite the fact that he chose him as his successor?
Did the board deny Moyes the four players he wanted early on?
Louie Van Gaal is rumored to be first in line to take over.
On another note I love Tim Howard calling out Everton fans for chanting about Moyes getting sacked in their recent match. Evertonians, how about a little class?

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DYNAMO DRAW UPLIFTING
The fact that the Dynamo defended with ten men the final few minutes against Philadelphia added to the draw. Yes, they still have not scored but two goals in four games but to defend and take a point was better than losing.
Lets not forget Dallas.

Twitter: GlennDavisSoc

Dynamo/Union: Things to consider

Both the Dynamo and Union are struggling to find their optimum game and are looking to use today as a platform.
The Dynamo have lost three in a row while the Union are on their 3rd game in 8 days and fatigue could be an issue.
A few thoughts:

1.) NO DAVIS
Brad Davis did not make the trip to Philadelphia and the Dynamo will have to respond without a key possession player and decision maker on the ball. The problem is this forces Boniek Garcia into the middle .
Getting Warren Creavalle back and Davis and Boniek wide in the future could make a huge difference to the Dynamo midfield.
Tony Cascio and Andrew Driver must perform out wide today in midfield.

2.) BALL POSSESSION and SPEED OF PLAY
Most are just talking about improved ball possession and they are right. Yet to take it further the ball must be moved and circulated quicker to change the tempo of the match and move opposing defenses. The Dynamo have been too methodical on the ball, too slow at times.

3.) ELIMINATE MISTAKES
Mistakes and game changing moments are the difference in the parity league of MLS.
Today is a great day to start playing mistake free. NE produced a game winner after sloppy Dynamo defending.
The Dynamo have conceded 8 goals in three games while the Union have conceded 6.

4.) BRUIN and BARNES
No shots on goal vs NE is a concern and strikers did not get much of the ball at Gillette.
Can the Dynamo improve their play into strikers? What role does Cummings have today.
Philly could be the perfect opponent for a break-out on their third game in eight days.

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Thoughts from Dynamo v. Revs

Analytics and stats are great and nothing to me is better than the “naked eye” when it comes to assessing games and the story that a match tells over the course of 90 minutes.
Still it was hard not to ignore the fact the Dynamo had no shots on goal in NE.
Here are some thoughts:

1.) BRAVE and VIBRANT
If you are going to go down then go down brave. The Dynamo seemed, well seemed to exist I suppose in this one.
Where was the vibrancy of the home opener vs. the Revs or the first 45 minutes against FC Dallas?
Teal Bunbury over-powering Jermaine Taylor to keep the ball moving forward for the Kevin Alston game winner said it all.
As for the ball, it just did not move off the feet of Dynamo players quick enough when in possession.

2.) IT’S A LONG SEASON
No one needs to remind fans or the media that the season is long.
That is well understood and established. Points are just as valuable now then they are in latter months and the Dynamo have said that they would like to be a higher seed during the course of the regular season.
That being said, not time to panic but time to be concerned.

3.) OMAR CUMMINGS
The Dynamo have tied up well over $200,000 in the man that was expected to be someone that helped to change the dynamic of the team with his defense stretching capability when acquired.
He came off the bench against the Revs to remind us that pace can change the way an opponent looks at you.
Where does his future lie? As a wide midfielder or does he ultimately get a run up front of the last line of an opponents defense. He has been positioned as a new player this year but has had limited influence and minutes.
Certainly is something to contemplate for us arm chair managers.

4.)PENETRATION
Every team needs it either off the dribble or via the pass. The Dynamo had little of this element on the night as NE got the better of the Dynamo midfield rendering Will Bruin and Giles Barnes far from dangerous.

5.) AJ COCHRANE
The rookie got his first start and got through his first 90 minutes solid.
Teal Bunbury was the perfect opponent as he rarely look for the ball behind the Dynamo and consistently played it safe going back into midfield.
Cochrane was strong in the air (not sure why NE played every goal kick in his vicinity) and on the night won nearly every ball.
Looks to be a strong Dynamo signing with much to learn.

Twitter: GlennDavisSoc

Tricks and flicks with Glenn Davis

So here are my thoughts aka “tricks and flicks” for today.

BARCELONA OUT/NO CENTERBACK
I get the sense that many are reveling in the fact that Atletico Madrid knocked out Barcelona in the Champions League.
What is amazing to me is that a club of this stature failed to secure a top level central defender after the problem was so obvious even last year.
Javier Mascherano is not a central defender and has proven that repeatedly.
Simply mind boggling.

MANCHESTER UNITED
Similar to Barcelona their in-ability or desire to not act in the transfer market prior to this season is a part of the Manchester United nose dive. In defense of David Moyes he asked the board of directors for four players in different positions that needed addressing.
Why did it take so long to realize players were getting “long in the tooth”. Simply baffling.

HOUSTON DASH
So do you like the women’s game? If you do the Dash will open up this weekend against Portland who is not expected to have Alex Morgan but are the defending Champions. Apparently 5-6 thousand fans will attend the opener! Good luck to Randy Waldrum and the ladies.

EUROPA LEAGUE
I am in LA to call a Europa league 2nd leg match between Benfica and AZ Alkmaar which touts Aaron Johannsen up front. With all the attention on the Champions League I do recommend Europa league with many players who will end up on big clubs and clubs like Juventus v. Lyon, Sevilla and Porto, Basel v. Valencia.
These are great watches especially as we get down to the semi-finals.

HOUSTON DYNAMO/DEFENDING SET PIECES
Defending set pieces are a real problem right now for the Dynamo who have conceded three in two games.
Defending set pieces is mainly about concentration and attitude and the Dynamo have not been good in this area as of late.
A great opportunity to respond comes this weekend in NE against struggling Revolution.
The Dynamo will have to go without David Horst who was sent off at home in the loss to FC Dallas.
A time of opportunity for other Dynamo players this weekend. Catch the game with pre-game starting at 2:30 ct on CSN Houston.

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Three burning Dynamo thoughts

Here are my three burning Dynamo thoughts:

1.) RESPONSE
All eyes will be on the Dynamo to see their response in NE this weekend.
The Revolution have problems of their own but the Dynamo after a 4-1 loss to FC Dallas have some questions to answers. Opportunity lies ahead on Saturday.

2.) WHO PLAYS CENTER BACK?
It will be interesting to see what manager Dominic Kinnear will do. Is it rookie AJ Cochrane who came off the bench against FC Dallas? Does Ricardo Clark slip back into the center back position with the Dynamo bringing Warren Creavalle into central midfield to partner Boniek Garcia? Is there a concern of playing Creavalle on artificial surface at Gillette?
Could Anthony Arena be re-called from the Pittsburgh Riverhounds where he has reportedly played well.

3.) GETTING GAMES FIRST GOAL
The Dynamo produced a wonderful build (I break this play down Thursday at 4pm on Dynamo Weekly on CSNHouston) up 40 seconds into the game that was a thing of beauty. Giles Barnes had a wonderful opportunity to get the Dynamo off and running.
The first goal would be a real confidence builder in NE with the next three on the road.

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Three things to consider between the Dynamo and FC Dallas today

It’s the only time these two teams will meet this year so you don’t want to lose for that very reason alone. A new optimism is in Dallas with new manager Oscar Pareja while in Houston the Dynamo after two wins look to rebound after a loss at Vancouver.

1.) Experience v. youth
The Dynamo will have more experience on the field today against FC Dallas and that should help them in a “derby”. The likes of Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis, Boniek Garcia in midfield will set the tone.
One should keep an eye on Davis to see how long he can go after playing for the US against Mexico this past Wednesday. Boniek Garcia was suffering from an illness and was less than effective against Vancouver so expect more from him today.
Ricardo Clark got his first goal of the year but he will need to keep track of Argentine Mauro Diaz in midfield.

2.) Bruin/Barnes
Time for this partnership to get back on track and home would be the perfect place. Barnes had a great early chance in Vancouver but after that seemed to be playing wide at the corner flag for large portions of the match.
Bruin had limited chances and cited the congestion that Vancouver had around their penalty area. One way to alleviate that would be for the Dynamo to get the game’s first goal today. Something tells me these two will get it going today as one!

3.) Perez/Diaz/Castillo
They have scored 6 of the 9 FC Dallas goals.
Blas Perez is a striker who is strong, good in the air and knows his way around the penalty area. Fabian Castillo is lightning quick and making plays which is something that he did not do a year ago. His knifing runs between outside backs and center backs can be lethal.
Finally, Mauro Diaz represented River Plate in Argentina 70 times and is the March MLS player of the month. Quick, skilled and dangerous in tight areas he makes plays of difference.
Limiting his time on the ball is essential today for the Dynamo.

Twitter: GlennDavisSoc

Three things to consider for today Dynamo v. Vancouver

The Dynamo are riding a hot striker in Will Bruin, have produced two straight shutouts with wins over NE and Montreal but today they take it to the road (5:30 CSN Plus beginning with pre-game 710 on Comcast).

Here are a few things to look for :

1.) MARRY PRESSURE AND TEAM SHAPE
Any team on the road needs these areas to be above average.
During Dynamo training sessions this week manager Dom Kinnear as always reminded his players of good collective pressure on the ball.
The Dynamo will need to get good pressure on the ball the moment they lose it in order to take the edge off the overall team speed and pace of Vancouver.
This will take a great level of concentration.

2.) EXPERIENCE v. YOUTH IN MIDFIELD
We saw what that did to NE in game one and today the Dynamo clearly have the edge in the experience department.
The trio of Brad Davis, Boniek Garcia and Ricardo Clark have been through the wars.
Conversely the Whitecaps midfield missing Nigel Reo Coker formerly of West Ham will play central with Gershon Koffie (replacing Coker) and Matias Laba.
A pair of 22 year olds up against Clark and Boniek in the middle.
This match up goes a long way in determining the game.

3.) CONTROLLING THE GAME
How do you do this ? By getting good ball possession, marry pressure and team shape (see #1), and finding the right times to counter Vancouver pressure with some of your own!
The timely use of set pieces can slow the tempo and make less dangerous the pace of Darren Mattocks and Kekutah Manneh plus the movement and mobility of Scottish Int. Kenny Miller.

It will be interesting to see the sharpness of the Dynamo after the one week lay-off?

Twitter: GlennDavisSoc

City crushes United, Ownby and Dixon and study in career, Real Madrid Sergio Ramos

Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko, Yaya Toure and company came in to Old Trafford like a wrecking ball to quickly bring United down to earth after a Champions League comeback win over Olympiakos.
The 3-0 scoreline could have been worse and United have hit another monumental low.
In fact not only were fans yelling expletives at manager David Moyes wanting him out but even the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson who attended the match caught the foul language from fans.
A Moyes removal is not out of the question now as losing to your rivals so thoroughly at home has hit the mother lode of emotion of Manchester United fans.
As for City they are now in the driver’s seat to win the title with the Premier league now a three team chase with Chelsea and Liverpool.

BRIAN OWNBY and ALEX DIXON
This is the tale of two players.
Brian Ownby last year asked to be loaned out to a lower division club the Richmond Strikers where he performed admirably and got games and experience. This was a player taking control of his career and he recently came on at the end of the Dynamo v. Montreal game.
Conversely, for a number of years I wondered why Alex Dixon was not trying to arrange a move. To be fair he did make a move to Tampa in a lower division but it was too late.
It was not hard to predict he would likely get released at the end of his deal with the Dynamo.
Training is not enough for a player to develop and some players consider it a demotion to move to a lower division while others like Ownby understand the journey and the value of competitive games.
All of this points to the importance of MLS teams buying a lower division USL Pro club like LA to provide players games and to make relevant the Academy.
Dixon recently signed with Rochester Rhinos which is something that should have occurred three years ago while Ownby is pushing to make the game day squad of 18 for every match.

FOCUS ON RAMOS NOT THE REFEREE
Through the lens of the Real Madrid fan they are highly critical of the referee in the Classico vs. Barcelona.

Particularly the penalty and sending off of Real Madrid captain and defender Sergio Ramos.
The fact is that Ramos made contact with Neymar who did the wise thing to cut in front of him. Of course Ramos denied a goal scoring chance and deserved the red.

In my humble opinion Real Madrid fans should focus on Ramos and the fact that this was a tackle he should have pulled out of and taken his chances with his goalkeeper making a play.
At minimum the squad would remain with a full compliment of eleven players.

The moment was a game changer but the undisciplined style of Ramos (look where he was on the opening goal) generally is consistent and I find it hard to believe he is a captain.
Another key was the less influential play of Xabi Alonso one of the best holding midfielders in the world.

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Concacaf Champions League performance must improve!

The past two days Major League Soccer teams went crashing out of the Concacaf Champions League in different forms.

First there was the LA Galaxy whose in-ability to answer the bell from the opening kick-off Tijuana doomed them giving up two goals in the first nine minutes .

Last night some may have been surprised at how San Jose without numerous starters nearly advanced past Toluca but ultimately fell to the sword of penalty kicks . The Earthquakes could have been considered un-luckly in this one but were valiant to say the least.

Also last night Sporting KC without starting outside backs got ripped apart in the second half by Cruz Azul en route to a 5-1 loss. A bitter pill it was to swallow for the defending champions and fans of MLS. No one is going to care that you were missing players when they read the headlines.

Last night was a “body blow” to MLS and it can’t be “conditioned” with a variety of excuses. Poor results and performances in Concacaf Champions League are “public” and the state of MLS right or wrong is “judged” by these matches.

Ok now I will address those of you that are going to say “but MLS teams are making progress.”
You are right MLS is but are there ways to accelerate the progress in a country that we are competing with other traditional sports.
So many factors must continue to grow while we take stock in the amazing growth of professional soccer in so many ways.

The healthy nature of media pressure must grow, player development seems on the right track with LA purchasing a lower tier professional team and leading the way, must clubs spend more money to attract higher caliber players and strengthen the depth of rosters to compete in two-three tournaments?
Sure we need to be patient but all must be examined for the future because last night was just not good business.
For now Liga MX rules over MLS from a competitive standpoint that is fact backed up by results and once again a Mexican club will represent our region at the Club World Cup.

The Concacaf Champions League is important and must become even more important for MLS to produce in our only international competition that puts us in a global context.
And you can’t call Concacaf Champions League a joke if you are not winning it.

Our country is full of international soccer fans that will be influenced by positive results over foreign teams.
I for one would love to see the day an MLS team lines up against a Bayern Munich, Barcelona, or a Chelsea in the Club World Cup outside of summer time money making “friendlies” (man I hate that word in describing a soccer match).

Is it not imperative to do well domestically and internationally?
That is how it works in Europe and South America if we are following their lead.

Your thoughts? Twitter: GlennDavisSoc

Bruin delivers in all areas as Dynamo down Montreal 1-0/ MLS maturity comes in form of “healthy pressure”

Every article and preview on the Houston Dynamo in 2014 has stated the obvious, that Will Bruin must convert more clear cut opportunities this season. It is a story heading into this season because according to Opta stats he had more clear cut chances in MLS than any other player.

As a striker you grab the glory when scoring goals and can be fairly and unfairly criticized when you aren’t. Still we must consider all the responsibility placed on the striker position in the modern age.

From being a “possession” player and providing the hold up play, to being a provider for others via the pass and link play, making a variety of runs and movement off the ball and then to all the DEFENDING they must do, the job description has clearly changed in the last 15 years. Yet sometimes strikers must not forget that scoring goals lies in the criteria of the position.

Last night Will Bruin picked up his third goal of the year and it turned out to be a game winner against the Montreal Impact.
On this night his finish took a deflection and gratutiously nestled into the Montreal goal behind Troy Perkins but his willingness to shoot must be applauded! After two stunning goals against NE in the 4-0 win , Bruin now has 3 in 2 games! What a way to start the season!

Still for me, the contributions from the man go far deeper in this match. His overall effort, willingness to lead the line from the front and lead his teammates through effort was impressive.

On this night his defensive work was exceptional for a striker, numerous times he came back in midfield to disrupt Montreal attacks vertically and at times was even in his own penalty area defending during the run of play and on set pieces.
Oh, and lets not forget that his near post run dragged a Montreal defender out of the middle so Giles Barnes could find the trailing Andrew Driver.

The goals are pouring in for Bruin right now which is a great sign but it is a great time to take stock in his OVERALL game and CONTRIBUTIONS in other areas. Does healthy pressure and attendance have some motivating factor in all of this?
Regardless of what the answer is, this healthy pressure is a clear statement the game is growing and maturing in MLS.

Twitter: GlennDavisSoc