Good news coming out of Dynamo camp this morning as striker Omar Cummings, who was acquired by Houston from the Colorado Rapids in December, has returned to training with the first team.
Cummings has been sidelined since the end of January after undergoing surgery on January 25 to repair a right knee injury. According to Houston Chronicle reporter Jesus Ortiz, Cummings hopes to be available for selection within the next two weeks, meaning that the Jamaican national team forward could make his debut in the Dynamo's March 23 home match vs. the Vancouver Whitecaps.
This will come as good to news to the Dynamo, who have a busy schedule over the next few weeks. If Houston earns the necessary result to get past Santos Laguna in the Champions League quarterfinals, they could be looking at seven games (MLS + CCL) in a span of four weeks.
For years, MLS commissioner Don Garber has talked about Major League Soccer being one of the best leagues in the world by 2022. And when he talks about that goal, he almost always prefaces the statement by saying MLS needs to be the best league in the region before it can be one of the best in the world.
The differences between MLS and Liga MX are well-documented. With no salary cap south of the border, teams are able to spend freely on top talent, both domestic and abroad. There are more than a handful of players playing in the Mexican first division whose salaries would dwarf most MLS teams outside of New York and LA.
But that competitive advantage has not stopped the Dynamo from being a strong opponenet for Mexican clubs over the past seven years. Since the Dynamo moved to Houston from San Jose in 2006, the team is 9-7-4 all-time against Mexican foes. That includes matches in the CONCACAF Champions Cup, CONCACAF Champions League, SuperLiga, BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup and international friendlies.
Along the way there have many memorable moments.
Who can forget the Dynamo's 4-4 tie at Pumas in the 2008-09 CONCACAF Champions League? With the draw, Houston became the first MLS team to earn a point on Mexican soil in any competition.
Or how about Houston's 2-0 win over Pachuca in the 2007 CONCACAF Champions Cup home match? The match was originally scheduled for Wednesday night, but a power outage forced the game to be pushed to Thursday afternoon. Houston took the first leg, but was unable to take the series, falling at Pachuca 5-2.
You could probably poll 5 people and they might each give you a different favorite memory against Mexican opposition, including last Tuesday's 1-0 win over Santos Laguna.
So what do you say Dynamo fans? What is your favorite memory / game / story against a team from Mexico? Let us know in the comments section below!
|Dynamo vs. Mexican opposition (9-7-4 all-time; 9-4-3 home; 0-3-1 road)|
|03/15/07||vs. Pachuca||W 2-0||Robertson Stadium||CONCACAF Champions Cup|
|04/05/07||at Pachuca||L 5-2||Estadio Hidalgo||CONCACAF Champions Cup|
|07/25/07||vs. Club America||W 1-0||Robertson Stadium||SuperLiga|
|07/29/07||vs. Morelia||T 1-1||Robertson Stadium||SuperLiga|
|08/14/07||vs. Pachuca||T 2-2 (Lost 4-3 on PKs)||Robertson Stadium||SuperLiga|
|07/12/08||vs. Atlante||W 4-0||Robertson Stadium||SuperLiga|
|07/15/08||vs. Chivas de Guadalajara||L 0-1||Robertson Stadium||SuperLiga|
|07/29/08||vs. Pachuca||W 2-0||Robertson Stadium||SuperLiga|
|09/30/08||at Pumas||T 4-4||Estadio Olimpico Universitario||CONCACAF Champions League|
|10/22/08||vs. Pumas||L 3-1||Robertson Stadium||CONCACAF Champions League|
|02/24/09||vs. Atlante||T 1-1||Robertson Stadium||CONCACAF Champions League|
|03/03/09||at Atlante||L 3-0||Estadio Quintana Roo Atlante||CONCACAF Champions League|
|09/16/09||at Pachuca||L 2-0||Estadio Hidalgo||CONCACAF Champions League|
|09/30/09||vs. Pachuca||L 1-0||Robertson Stadium||CONCACAF Champions League|
|10/11/09||vs. Monterrey||W 2-1||Robertson Stadium||BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup|
|07/15/10||vs. Pachuca||W 2-1||Robertson Stadium||SuperLiga|
|07/21/10||vs. Puebla||W 1-0||Robertson Stadium||SuperLiga|
|08/05/10||vs. Morelia||L 1-0||Robertson Stadium||SuperLiga|
|09/04/11||vs. Monterrey||W 3-0||Robertson Stadium||Friendly|
|03/05/13||vs. Santos Laguna||W 1-0||BBVA Compass Stadium||CONCACAF Champions League|
Here is today's look at Dynamo and MLS news from various news outlets:
· Dynamo take first step in Champions League (Washington Post)
· Davis’s late goal gives Dynamo a leg up (Houston Chronicle)
· Salazar developing skills as member of Dynamo Academy (Houston Chronicle)
· 89th minute goal gives Houston advantage in CCL quarterfinals (AP/Sports Illustrated)
· Dynamo emboldened by victory (MLSSoccer.com)
· Dynamo snatched another win in the final minutes (MLSSoccer.com)
· Davis sparks Houston with late goal (NBC Pro Soccer Talk)
· Late Davis goal gives Houston crucial first-leg win (SB Nation)
· Dynamo vs. Santos Laguna, 1st leg recap (Dynamo Theory)
Following Tuesday's 1-0 win over Santos Laguna, Dynamo goalkeepers coach Tim Hanley spoke with the media about the match.
When the Major League Soccer schedule was released in January, fans took to analyzing the Dynamo's matchups, both home and away. But it was the Dynamo's bye weekend that might prove to be the most valuable for the club.
Following Tuesday's 1-0 win over Santos Laguna in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series, the Dynamo will have the weekend off before traveling to Mexico for the second leg.
Houston is not the only team in MLS with such an advantage. Both the Seattle Sounders and LA Galaxy, who are also competing in the CCL quartefinals, will have this coming weekend off from league play. It's another design by the executives at MLS to give their teams an advantage in the region's premier tournament.
On the flip side, schedule makers for LigaMX did not do Santos Laguna any favors. Santos played last Friday night against Jaguares de Chiapas before Tuesday's first leg at BBVA Compass Stadium. Los Guerreros will host Atlante on Friday, March 9 before hosting the Dynamo in the second leg on Wednesday, March 13.
Will the Dynamo's off weekend give them a leg up in game two? Is Santos a deep enough team to overcome four games in 13 days? Give us your thoughts in the comment section below.