It's no secret that ratings for the MLS SuperDraft have never been high, and while those in soccer circles would love to see the draft rival those of the NBA and NFL, MLS has decided to think outside the box to attract viewers for this year's event. This year's MLS SuperDraft will not be televised on ESPN or any other network, but it will be streamed across the world on ESPN3, ESPNFC, MLSsoccer.com, YouTube.com and all club websites. That's right folks, you can watch this year's draft live on HoustonDynamo.com.
Some might consider the move minor league, but I think it's a brilliant idea. A 12 noon time slot was never going to attract hundres of thousands of viewers. But now, if you are at work or at home, you can turn on your computer and catch the draft, without missing a beat of your regular work day. And if you don't have time to catch the draft live, it will be archived on YouTube later in the day for your viewing pleasure.
Now on to MLSsoccer.com's mock draft following the first day of combine matches.
In the previous mock draft, Simon Borg predicted the Dynamo would take West Virginia defender Eric Schoenle. This time, Borg is giving the Dynamo CSU Bakersfield defender Korey Kindle.
Borg: Sensational athlete. Immediately leaves a mark when he comes into the match. His leaping ability makes him another dangerous aerial weapon for the Dynamo.
Jason Saghini also gave the Dynamo Schoenle in the first mock draft, but this time around he has selected Washington defender Dylan Tucker-Gangnes for Dominic Kinnear's squad.
Saghini: Looked strong in the air, which was expected. But he also looked quicker on the turn than I thought he'd be, and was confident in distribution. Don't see how Houston passes on him.
In his previous mock draft, Matt Doyle projected the Dynamo would take Georgetown defender. In this version, he sticks with a Georgetown defender, but he switches positions from left back (Jimmy Nealis) to center back (Tommy Muller).
Doyle: With Hainault out in Houston, center back is the biggest need and left back option can wait.
In this mock draft, all writers predicted the second round as well. Borg predicted the Dynamo would take Brown defender Eric Robertson. Saghini stayed on the defensive live and gave Houston Wake Forest defender Anthony Arena. Doyle believes the midfield could use a reinforcement and selects Louisville holding mid Paolo DelPiccolo for the Dynamo.
Borg: Dynamo add a tall defender (6-foot-3), who's quick on his feet and excellent in the air.
Saghini: The Dynamo get cover for central defense and left back, both of which are needs with their huge schedule this season.
Doyle: Holding mid is an area that could use some reinforcements and DelPiccolo will fit the Houston system well.
MLSsoccer.com writers are convinced the Dynamo will use their first pick (and maybe their second pick) on a defender. So what do you think? Would you like to see the Dynamo draft a defender or is there another position you would like to see drafted?
Be sure to follow http://www.mlssoccer.com/superdraft/2013/combine for the latest information about the MLS Combine and MLS SuperDraft.
Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis and goalkeeper Tally Hall are currently in training camp with the U.S. men's national team. US Soccer caught up with our Dynamo men to get their impressions of the camp so far.
Hall spoke about getting to know the other members of the team during his first time in camp, the goals of the camp, the opportunity provided by being called into camp, the honor of being called into camp and representing the U.S., and what possibility of playing in Houston in the upcoming friendly means as a Dynamo player.
Davis spoke about getting into camp and meshing with the other players, taking camp day by day and the excitement of camp.
Nice find by the golks at Dynamo Theory.
Big congratulations to Ryan Cochrane! He's now the Assistant Coach at Santa Clara. Good luck in your new role! santaclarabroncos.com/sports/m-socce…
— Dynamo Theory (@dynamotheory) January 11, 2013
Cochrane enjoyd two stints with the Dynamo, totalling 70 appearances over the course of four seasons. An original member of the Dynamo, Cochrane anchored a back line that won back-to-back MLS Cup championships in 2006 and 2007.
Last season, the Portland native played 26 games for the San Antonio Scorpions of the NASL.
Cochrane is not the first Dynamo original to join the coaching ranks. Here are a list of others who have gone from playing to patrolling the sidelines:
- Former Dynamo captain Wade Barrett retired prior to the 2010 season and is now part of Dominic Kinnear's coaching staff.
- Craig Waibel, a fan favorite for his work on and off the field, is an assistant coach for the University of Washington men's soccer program.
- Longtime MLS vet Eddie Robinson hung up his cleats after the 2011 season and is now head coach of the Houston Dynamo U-16 team.
- Pat Onstad retired following the 2010 season and is now the goalkeepers coach for D.C. United.
- Paul Dalglish, a Scotland native who scored two goals in the 2006 Western Conference final, is now head coach for PDL club Austin Aztex.
With exactly a week to go before the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, the real fun begins. Now is the time that draft experts make their predictions about who will be selected by each club come draft day. Unlike college basketball and college football, college soccer is not as widely televised, so fans of most MLS teams rely on reporters and bloggers to learn more about their team's potential picks leading up to the draft.
MLSsoccer.com recently completed their first mock draft, with Simon Borg, Jason Saghini and Matt Doyle providing their first round selections.
Both Borg and Saghini predicted the same player, West Virginia defender Eric Schoenle, would be drafted by Houston with the No. 13 pick in the first round. Here is what they each had to say about the pick:
Borg: A center back the way Dominic Kinnear loves them. No-nonsense, tough and exceptional in the air on defense and on attacking set pieces.
Saghini: Neither Schoenle nor the Mountaineers had a great 2012 season, but he’s still a big, technical central defender who can provide depth at a spot where Houston needs it.
Doyle also projected the Dynamo to select a defender in the first round, but believes it will be Georgetown left back Jimmy Nealis. Here are his thoughts:
Doyle: Without many glaring needs, Kinnear takes the best left back off the board to provide some competition for Corey Ashe and depth for CCL.
So what do you think? Would you like to see the Dynamo draft a defender or is there another position you would like to see drafted?
MLS Combine matches start tomorrow, so be sure to follow http://www.mlssoccer.com/superdraft/2013/combine for the latest information about draft-eligible players.
According to the Houston Chronicle's Jesus Ortiz, former Dynamo defender Andre Hainault has informed the Dynamo that he has agreed to a contract with Ross County of the Scottish Premier League.
— Jose de Jesus Ortiz (@OrtizKicks) January 10, 2013
Hainault appeared in 104 regular season games (100 starts) for the Dynamo over the past four seasons. The 2011 Dynamo Defender of the Year moved between center back and outside back during his tenure in Houston.
Although an official roster has not been released yet, it is expected that Hainault will be a part of the Canadian squad that will take on the United States at BBVA Compass Stadium on January 29.
Dynamo radio broadcast Matt Pedersen made a special guest appearance on Sunday's Keeper Notes soccer show on 1560 AM The Game. Listen to the interview below:
In part 3 of a 5 part series, Matt Doyle and Dan Haiek look ahead to the SuperDraft, breaking it down team by team, looking at the Houston Dynamo, Real Salt Lake, Chicago Fire & Columbus Crew.
Dynamo midfielder Boniek Garcia has been invited to the Honduran national team's training camp ahead of the squad's participation in the 2013 Central American Cup. Of the seven teams competing in the tourmanent, the top five will qualify for this year's Gold Cup.
Honduras is paired with El Salvador and Panama in Group B. Los Catrachos will take on El Salvador on January 18 and Panama on January 22. All matches will be played at Estadio Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica.
If Honduras finishes in first or second place in their group, they will automatically qualify for the Gold Cup. If they finish in third place, they will need to win a one-game playoff against the third-place finisher in Group A to qualify. Teams in Group A include Costa Rica, Guatemala, Niacragua and Belize.
Garcia has 72 career caps for Los Catrachos and one career goal. As a result of his participation in the tournament, the 2012 Dynamo Newcomer of the Year will miss the beginning of training camp. According to this report on fenafuth.org, Garcia will re-join the Dynamo after Honduras' World Cup qualification match against the United States on February 6.
On Wednesday, the Houston Dynamo announced the full schedule for the 2013 regular season. Although this will be the Dynamo's second season at BBVA Compass Stadium, it's the first season in which Houston can play home games starting in March. Last year's home schedule did not start until May 12, and as a result, there were a lot of Houston home games in a short period of time.
Here are some key takeaways from the 2013 Dynamo schedule:
As previously announced, the Dynamo will open the season at home against D.C. United on Saturday, March 2. The re-match of last year's Eastern Conference Championship will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network beginning at 7 p.m. CT.
Similar to last year, the Dynamo and FC Dallas will square off only once in 2013. That match will take place on Sunday, March 17 as part of Major League Soccer's Rivalry Week. Since last year's match was played at BBVA Compass Stadium, this year's match will be played at FC Dallas Stadium. The winner of the match will take home El Capitan, a Civil War-era mountain howitzer.
The Dynamo and Sporting KC have played each other in each of the past two playoffs. In 2011, the Dynamo knocked off Sporting in the Eastern Conference Championship. In 2012, Houston defeated SKC in the Eastern Conference semifinals. In total, the two teams have played each other nine times in all competitions over the past two years. This year, the two squads will meet an additional three times, with the May 12 home match to be broadcast nationally on ESPN and the May 26 road match to be broadcast on NBC Sports Network.
Speaking of national broadcasts, the Dynamo will play on national TV 13 times in 2013. They will play three times on ESPN2, once on ESPN, three times on NBC Sports Network, once on NBC and five times in Spanish on UniMás.
Potential Road Trips?
The fun part of the schedule announcement is the chance to figure out which games Dynamo fans will be able to travel to. You can expect a large contingent will make the trek up I-45 for the Texas Derby on March 17. Chicago (Sept. 1) and Sporting KC (May 26) are also drivable for those fans wanting to see their club on the road. If you want to see the LA Galaxy this year, you will have to make the trek to California, as the two-time defending MLS Cup champions do not come to Houston in 2013 (at least not during the regular season).
In 2012, the Dynamo had five home games on weeknights and 12 on weekends. In 2013, the Dynamo will have only one weeknight game, with the remaining 16 MLS home games to be played on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. The lone weeknight game is Wednesday, Oct. 9 against Sporting KC.
So what do you think Dynamo fans? Do you like the schedule? Which match are you circling on your calendar?
According to Major League Soccer, the full 2013 schedule will be released Wednesday at 11 am CT.
We already know that the Dynamo will open the season on Saturday, March 2 at BBVA Compass Stadium against D.C. United. We also know that as a result of the Dynamo advancing to the quarterfinals of the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League tournament, Houston will have the second week of the MLS season off. The Dynamo will host Mexican club Santos Laguna in the first leg of their home-and-home series on Tuesday, March 5 and then travel to Torreon for the second leg on Wednesday, March 13.
While the full MLS schedule will be unveiled on Wednesday, we do know that the Dynamo's opponents will flip from 2012. For instance, if the Dynamo played an Eastern Conference foe twice at home in 2012 and once on the road, they will play them twice on the road and once at home. That means that Dynamo fans will more than likely have the chance to see the New York Red Bulls at BBVA Compass Stadium twice in 2013. The only caveat is that there are two Eastern Conference teams that the Dynamo will only play twice - once home and once away - in 2013 (similar to 2012).
With regard to Western Conference opponents, if the Dynamo played the team on the road in 2012, they will play them at home in 2013 and vice versa. So that means Houston fans should expect to see Vancouver, San Jose, Colorado, Seattle and Chivas USA at home this year. The Dynamo will hit the road to Dallas, Portland, LA and Real Salt Lake.
So which teams are you most looking forward to seeing in 2013? What road trips are you most looking forward to planning? Let us know in the comments below!