Wilf Thorne/Houston Dynamo

Canetti's Corner - May 3, 2010

Welcome to my weekly blog. It will appear on the new HoustonDynamo.com every Monday.

It was an impressive 3-0 home win over KC on Saturday. A lot of credit goes to the team for rebounding after a tough loss in Chicago. It was an especially good performance with so many key players out (Cameron, Ching, Cruz, Ngwenya, and Weaver).

Despite our early-season injuries and other challenges, we are off to one of our best starts in club history at 3-2-1 (10 points). Our track record of slow starts is well documented; for example, we were 1-2-3 (6 points) through six games in 2009. The improved start is important, because every point matters in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.

It was good to see Luis Landin notch his first goal of the year. It’s always good to see Brian Mullan hit the back of the net and get rewarded for his hard work. It was also good to see Sammy Appiah make his MLS debut and cap it with his first career goal. Congrats to him on both fronts!

A nice moment came with 20 minutes on the clock, when fans held up No. 20 placards in tribute to Geoff Cameron (No. 20), who had knee surgery on Friday. It was an amazing gesture by our fans and impressively organized. Cameron will be out at least four months while rehabbing. The original prognosis had him out for the year, so this is good news. We can now look for a comeback toward the end of the regular season.

While the midfield (Ashe, Davis, Palmer, Mullan) performed very well on Saturday, we are looking to add depth in Geoff’s absence. A search is ongoing. With the transfer window closed until the summer and salary cap limitations, it will not be easy to sign an immediate replacement. Nonetheless, we will continue to work on this as a priority.

We hope to get some feedback from FIFA this week on the Joe Ngwenya issue. We signed Joe 19 days ago but have been unable to secure his International Transfer Certificate (ITC). Without an ITC, he cannot be added to the active roster. His former club in Turkey is holding up the ITC for undisclosed reasons. Our hope is that FIFA resolves the issue. We’ll see what happens this week. It is pretty much out of our hands. Hope for the best, and maybe we can see him on Wednesday (FC Dallas, 8 p.m.) or Saturday (at Chivas USA, 9:30 p.m.).

Last week, we announced details of the 2nd annual Dynamo Charities Cup. The Dynamo will host CD Aguila from El Salvador on Saturday, June 19, at 8 p.m. Aguila is one of the top clubs from Central America, and we look forward to an excellent match, a good crowd, and a strong charitable effort. Last year’s inaugural Dynamo Charities Cup was an exciting, hard-fought victory over Monterrey of Mexico.

The Dynamo Charities Cup is an annual match between the Dynamo and a reputable foreign club. A portion of the proceeds go to Dynamo Charities and its beneficiaries. We are building a Dynamo tradition that we hope to extend far into the future. We want to draw various clubs from around the world and establish an event that can excite fans and contribute to charitable causes.

I look forward to the day when it’s become so big that fans are anxiously anticipating the match and spending the off-season speculating over the next opponent. Will it be Bayern Munich, Benfica, Boca Juniors, Club America, Inter Milan, Liverpool, Rangers, Santos, Valencia, etc? This is the vision …

This year, Aguila is a good fit for many reasons. The economics are favorable; the timing works; and there is a substantial Salvadoran community here in Houston. Finding a club was a real challenge in 2010. With the FIFA World Cup and the MLS All-Star Game, our options were limited. We chose not to invite a Mexican club so fans could see some variety (having played Monterrey last year and with SuperLiga returning in July). We looked to European clubs, who generally seek matches in May or July, but those dates didn’t work given our busy May schedule and the MLS All-Star Game on July 28.Fortunately, the MLS All-Star Game will be our fans’ chance to see a major European club in 2010. Look for an announcement on this very soon.

The timing of the ’10 Dynamo Charities Cup is great, because it is during the three-week World Cup break and one week prior to our return to MLS action. It gives the team a chance to stay fresh and prepare for the rest of the season. We look forward to your support of the Dynamo Charities Cup this year and your participation in building a great tradition for years to come.

The dates for SuperLiga were also announced last week. We will host three SuperLiga dates and four matches. The schedule is as follows:

1. Thursday, July 15, 7 p.m. – Dynamo vs. Mexican Club 1 (TBA)
2. Sunday, July 18, 7 p.m. – Dynamo vs. Chivas USA and Mexican Club 1 vs. Mexican Club 2
3. Wednesday, July 21, 7 p.m. - Dynamo vs. Mexican Club 2 (TBA)

The Mexican clubs should be announced later this month.

Games 1 and 3 are part of the 20-game season ticket package. Season ticket holders will have the option to purchase the doubleheader date, which was a late and unexpected addition to the home schedule.

This busy stretch of five home games in 35 days ends this Wednesday when FC Dallas comes to Robertson. We have some great Cinco de Mayo festivities in store, and it’s your one and only chance to see our intra-state rivals in 2010. The winner of El Capitan will be determined. I hope to see you there.

That wraps it up for this week. I’ll be back in touch next week with the latest. In the meantime, feel free to email me at ccanetti@houstondynamo.com with any comments or questions.