The 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup groups and schedule were announced on Wednesday, with Houston's BBVA Compass Stadium set to host Group B matches. This will be the fifth consecutive Gold Cup with matches being played in Houston.
Group B consists of Honduras, El Salvador, Trinidad & Tobago and Haiti. Honduras is currently in the final round of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.
"Houston has become a top soccer city over the years, and BBVA Compass Stadium has emerged as an elite facility," said Dynamo president Chris Canetti. "Hosting a marquee event like Gold Cup is exciting and indicative of the respect organizers have for our city, stadium and organization."
Both Honduras and El Salvador participated in the 2011 tournament. El Salvador lost in the quarterfinals to Panama on penalty kicks (5-3), while Honduras lost to Mexico 2-0 in the semifinals, a game that was played at Houston’s Reliant Stadium. Haiti’s last CONCACAF Gold Cup appearance was in 2009 when it lost 4-0 to Mexico in the quarterfinals, whereas Trinidad & Tobago’s last appearance was in 2007, when it failed to advance out of the group stage.
The Honduran national team could have some familiar faces from Major League Soccer in their squad. Houston’s Boniek García, Víctor Bernárdez and Marvin Chávez (San Jose), Mario Martínez (Seattle), Jerry Bengtson (New England), Hendry Thomas (Colorado), and Johnny Leverón (Montreal) all feature regularly for Los Catrachos.
The Honduran and Salvadoran national teams are no strangers to playing in Houston and both have proven to have strong support from the local community.
Honduras played Peru to a scoreless draw on Nov. 12, 2012 at BBVA Compass Stadium, while El Salvador played New Zealand to a 2-2 draw at BBVA Compass Stadium on May 23, 2012. In addition, more than 27,000 fans packed Robertson Stadium in May 2011 to see a friendly between Honduras and El Salvador.
Tickets to all Gold Cup matches will be available to the general public starting on Thursday, March 21 at 10 a.m. by visiting www.GoldCup.org.
Group B schedule (time listed in CT):
Monday, July 8 – Red Bull Arena (Harrison, NJ)
El Salvador vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 6 p.m.
Haiti vs. Honduras, 8:30 p.m.
Friday, July 12 – Sun Life Stadium (Miami, FL)
Trinidad & Tobago vs. Haiti, 6 p.m.
Honduras vs. El Salvador, 8:30 p.m.
Monday, July 15 – BBVA Compass Stadium (Houston, TX)
El Salvador vs. Haiti, 6 p.m.
Honduras vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 8:30 p.m.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't enjoying the work SI.com has been doing over the past few weeks chronicling the most power figures in sports. They started with a list of the top 50 most powerful people in sports and have done separate lists for media members (including commentators) and folks affiliated with individual sports.
Today, lead soccer writer Grant Wahl released his list of the top 50 most powerful people in American soccer and two names associated with the Dynamo made his list.
First was the tandem of Philip Anschutz, owner of AEG and Tim Leiweke, president of AEG. The two men came in at No. 6 on Wahl's list. Anschutz and Leiweke oversee the company that owns 100% of the LA Galaxy and 50% of the Houston Dynamo. AEG have been large proponents of the Dynamo since day one and were crucial in the club's development of BBVA Compass Stadium.
Coming in at No. 42 on the list is Dynamo president Chris Canetti. Canetti, who recently signed a three-year extension with Houston, has been with the club since 2006 and has served as president since Oliver Luck left for the AD position at West Virginia midway through 2010. Wahl had this to say about the Dynamo boss:
A star on the rise, Canetti has put together a successful operation in Houston while spearheading other important projects, including the recent Soccer Night in Newtown.
The rest of the list is flush with people involved in Major League Soccer, from owners to players to front office personnel. It's a good read for any American soccer fan.
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.
In talking with Dynamo players and coaches after training on Monday, the word playoff was thrown around quite often. OK, maybe it was me asking them if Wednesday's match reminded them of a second leg of a playoff series, but since no one refuted the statement that counts, right?
Regardless, although the Dynamo are only one game into their MLS season, Wednesday's Champions League match against Santos Laguna is the type of situation the Dynamo have excelled in over the past seven years. Few coaches around Major League Soccer have been able to navigate a team through a home-and-away series better than Dominic Kinnear.
Since 2006, Kinnear and the Dynamo have participated in 12 home-and-away series. That stat includes the MLS Cup playoffs, CONCACAF Champions League and CONCACAF Champions' Cup. In those 12 series, the Dynamo have advanced eight times. Two of the four series losses came in the CONCACAF Champions Cup with a third coming in the Champions League and the fourth coming in the 2008 Western Conference semifinals.
In two of those eight wins, the Dynamo have closed out the series with a result on the road, something Houston will have to do on Wednesday if they want to remain alive in the 2012-13 Champions League.
|Dynamo in two-legged series (8-4 record all-time)|
|Year||Opponent||Leg 1||Leg 2||Competition|
|2006||vs. Chivas USA||L 2-1||W 2-0||Western Conference Semifinals|
|2007||vs. FC Dallas||L 1-0||W 4-1||Western Conference Semifinals|
|2007||vs. Puntarenas||L 1-0||W 2-0||CONCACAF Champions Cup Quarterfinals|
|2007||vs. Pachuca||W 2-0||L 5-2||CONCACAF Champions Cup Semifinals|
|2008||vs. Municipal||T 0-0||W 3-1||CONCACAF Champions Cup Quarterfinals|
|2008||vs. Saprissa||T 0-0||L 3-0||CONCACAF Champions Cup Semifinals|
|2008||vs. New York||T 1-1||L 3-0||Western Conference Semifinals|
|2008-09||vs. Atlante||T 1-1||L 3-0||CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals|
|2009||vs. Seattle||T 0-0||W 1-0||Western Conference Semifinals|
|2011||vs. Philadelphia||W 2-1||W 1-0||Eastern Conference Semifinals|
|2012||vs. Sporting KC||W 2-0||L 1-0||Eastern Conference Semifinals|
|2012||vs. D.C. United||W 3-1||T 1-1||Eastern Conference Finals|
|2012-13||vs. Santos Laguna||W 1-0||???||CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals|
A few months ago, when we first decided to commit to our digital platforms and provide more Dynamo coverage than ever to our fans, we made the decision to also use that same philosophy with regard to our gameday magazine. It was determined that our magazine, in the current form, was not reaching the audience that we desired and we were looking for new ways to engage our fans with the new content we were creating.
Thus sprang the idea of the digital gameday magazine. It's something that professional clubs around the world have had much success with and something that clubs have found to be an intricate part of their fans' gameday experience.
Ideally, we would have launched our first digital gameday magazine prior to the first match. Unfortunately, we underestimated the process of getting a magazine approved through Apple's Newsstand.
So after four rejections from the App Store, we are proud to announce that our first digital gameday magazine is now available for download for iPhone users. Moving forward, we hope to have each gameday magazine available for download at least 36 hours prior to each match. It will also be available on multiple platforms so fans who do not have an iPhone will be able to download and enjoy the content.
The first edition includes the following features, plus more:
We thank everyone for their patience and welcome their feedback on the first edition. Also, if you have content ideas that you would like to see in future editions please let us know in the comments section below.