Head coach Dominic Kinnear gives you his thoughts on the San Jose Earthquakes in this week's X's and O's.
After two weeks of Major League Soccer, the Houston Dynamo placed towards the top spots in week two’s power rankings. With their 2-0 win at home against D.C. United in the season opener and their bye week due to CONCACAF Champions League, MLS’s Matthew Doyle and Bleacher Report’s Joe Tansey have the Dynamo ranked No. 2, behind the L.A. Galaxy.
This is what MLS writer, Doyle, had to say about Houston.
Like the Galaxy, the Dynamo were off during the weekend but had a good midweek result to build off of in CCL play. They're very, very balanced and they're very, very tough to break down at this point. It's still going to be a monumental task to come away from Santos with an historic midweek result.
Meanwhile Houston’s next rival, FC Dallas, ranks No. 15 in the MLS Power Rankings after their 3-1 loss to Chivas USA.
Sport Illustrated’s power rankings by Avi Creditor have Houston ranked No.1 in the league. Here is what Creditor had to say about the Dynamo.
Given a bye from league play because of their involvement in the CONCACAF Champions League, the Dynamo carry a 1-0 edge with them into Torreon, where they eye rare MLS success on Mexican soil and hope to eliminate Herculez Gomez's Santos Laguna to seal a place in the tournament semifinals. Win or lose, awaiting the Dynamo next weekend is the start of a tough league stretch and a Texas rivalry bout with FC Dallas.
Houston will look to stay at the top spots of the power rankings, as they play on Sunday against FC Dallas in the “Battle for El Capitan,” part of MLS Rivalry Week on ESPN 2 at 12 p.m.
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|
It's no secret that I'm a fan of the U.S. Open Cup. I love any tournament where am amateur team (Cal FC) has the opportunity to knock off a professional club (Portland).
It's the reason that everyone loves the NCAA tournament. We live for the upsets, the cinderellas and the great story lines. And the U.S. Open Cup is soccer's opportunity to captivate that same audience.
Unfortunately, despite the Open Cup entering its 100th year of existence, it still does not have the cache of college basketball's March Madness or England's FA Cup. But that's not through lack of trying from the guys at TheCup.US. Josh Hakala, the muscle behind the site, is one of the hardest working men in the business and has made it his mission to keep the public informed about the United States' longest running national soccer competition. But he can't do it alone.
TheCup.US is currently going under a massive redesign in honor of the tournament's 100th year and they are looking for support from the soccer community. The goal is to make the site more user friendly and allow fans to more easily access stats about their favorite players in the tournament. The site will also house box scores for every game that an MLS club participated in.
The fundraising campaign for the site ends Feb. 19. Click here for more information.
Although no team would turn down the opportunity to play in the MLS Cup Final, the price of success means a shorter window to make adjustments to the squad for the next season. Now that the off-season has begun (and it began with a flurry of moves on the west coast), Dominic Kinnear and his staff must turn their attention to the 2013 Houston Dynamo squad.
The Houston Chronicle's Jesus Ortiz mentioned a few players who could leave the Dynamo via free agency this off-season.
Over the next two weeks, two drafts will take place during which the Dynamo can add players to the squad. On Friday, December 7 MLS will hold Stage 1 of the 2012 Re-Entry Draft. A player is eligible for the Re-Entry Draft under the following circumstances:
- Players who are at least 23 years old, have a minimum of three years of MLS experience, and whose options were not exercised by their clubs (available at option salary for 2013).
- Players who are at least 25 years old, have a minimum of four years of MLS experience, were out of contract, and whose club did not offer them a contract at their previous salary (available at 2012 salary).
- Players who are at least 30 years old, have a minimum of eight years of MLS experience, were out of contract, and whose club did not wish to re-sign them (available for at least 105 percent of their 2012 salary).
For any eligible player that was not selected in Stage 1 of the Re-Entry Draft, they will be available in Stage 2, which will be held Friday, December 14. Any team who drafts a player in Stage 2 must negotiate a new salary with that player.
Teams are not required to select any player in the Re-Entry Draft. Each draft is two rounds. If a team passes on their pick they are done for the remainder of that stage.
Also, a player may opt out of participating in the Re-Entry Draft and have his rights retained by his current club. Last year, Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell opted out of Stage 1 of the Re-Entry Draft and was re-signed by the Dynamo.