When the Houston Dynamo take on Olimpia of Honduras tonight (7pm cst) at BBVA Compass Stadium it is a night where history will be made.
With a draw or a win the Dynamo will advance to the quarterfinals of this important tournament.
And just for the record, Olimpia is a 100 year old soccer club, yes, I said a 100 year old soccer club.
The Dynamo are mere babies at 6 years of age yet there is a huge takeaway from this game tonight.
Will you be there and what does participation, success in the Concacaf Champions League mean to you as a fan.
CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
This is the equivalent of the European Champions league yet in our region of the world.
Concacaf is made up of teams in North and Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
The winner of this tournament automatically qualifies for the World Club Championship and the tournament has been dominated by Mexican Clubs who consistently win it. I for one would love to see this change for a variety of reasons.
Win this tournament and you can find yourselves playing the like of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea or Man U. Just image that!
What this ultimately could provide MLS is additional exposure and the vital connection of being a bigger part of the world’s game.
Here are additional reasons why Concacaf Champions League is important:
* WINNING-simply beating foreign teams is a way of gaining credibility and potentially winning over fans in the local markets of MLS. Here in Houston and this region we have 50-70 thousand Hondurans that I would love to see become Dynamo fans. Tonight is a clear opportunity to earn more “new” Dynamo fans.
The goal for MLS is to consistently win the Concacaf Champions League! Why would it be anything else?
Consistently winning it would attract more attention to MLS and it’s product.
MLS must examine more ways to make this competition more important to it’s clubs. To position it’s club’s in the best way possible to succeed.
Concacaf must look to improve this competition in any way possible and to not just sit on it. Are they?
*EXPOSURE-the game will be beamed back to Honduras and other areas giving this match a true international feel and the ability to show off the quality of soccer that is MLS, Dynamo and the amazing infrastructure that is BBVA Compass Stadium. We need to put our best foot forward if you know what I mean!!!
The image on tv is perception.
*UNIQUE-Why is tonight unique? One reason is that the Rockets, Astros, and Texans don’t play in international competition of meaning against foreign teams.
That in itself makes this night unique and different for a sports fan.
*INCLUSIVE-this word is important. In order to continue to be in the international community of soccer from the global sense we must consistently reach out to that connection and the Concacaf Champions League supplies that opportunity.
Tonight is perfect for this and the level of importance of this game has to be relayed.
Mainstream sports media in Houston has no idea about what this is and many believe this is a “friendly” soccer match.
THOUGHTS ON TONIGHT
Dynamo manager Dominic Kinnear will feel that he can mix and match and put together a squad capable of beating Olimpia.
With 3 games in 8 days he has no choice but to go to the depth of the squad when you look at the big picture. Mixing and changing lineups can be risky business as to how teams mesh and perform yet that is the reality of MLS and juggling league play and the CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE.
Look for Tyler Deric in goal, Andre Hainault to return at the back and changes in midfield.
The 100 yr old club comes off a huge win against Motagua and have won the last two titles in the Honduran First Division.
Honduran soccer has had an upswing with qualification to the last six in Concacaf called the Hexagonal and they feel they can get to the next World Cup in Brazil.
In this summer’s Olympic games in London they defeated and knocked Spain out of the tournament on a Jerry Bengston goal that involved other MLS players including Roger Espinoza (Sporting KC) and Andy Najar (DC).
Tonight for Olimpia their squad includes international players like Luis Garrido, Donis Escobar, Roger Rojas, and Juan Carlos Garcia.
Suspended (yellow card accumulation)
is defender Johnny Palacios who has also represented Honduras internationally.
FACT-In 10 Champions League games at home in their history the Dynamo have only lost to Pumas and Pachuca of Mexico.
BEST STORYLINE NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT is clearly Honduran Oscar Boniek Garcia of the Dynamo who is going up against his former club. Boniek Garcia is the best kept sports story in Houston and few have even ventured to find out more about this athlete that has lifted the Dynamo.
Tonight he plays against his old club where he got his start and is quick to thank for setting him on the path to professional soccer.
He has cited assistant coach Juan Carlos Espinoza as a huge influence in his career.
STill, make no mistake, Boniek Garcia has made it clear he is a Dynamo despite his 8 yrs at Olimpia.
“I owe myself to the Dynamo, 100 percent.”
On their trip to Honduras to play Olimpia in Tegucigalpa Boniek Garcia was kicked and targeted off the ball in the 1-1 draw. Adam Moffat scored the Dynamo goal.
I find it remarkable that some fans don’t make the connection with the importance of this. If you don’t think this is important for the Dynamo, the growth of the Dynamo and MLS then tell me why?
What does the Concacaf Champions League and MLS/Dynamo success mean to you?
POST GAME RADIO tonight at the Southwest Corner of the stadium and looking forward to seeing you the fans!!!