Welcome to edition No. 11 of my weekly blog. It appears on the new HoustonDynamo.com every Monday.
As we head into the second half of the 2010 MLS season, we face a new challenge: chasing a playoff spot. Over the last four years, we have comfortably sat in playoff position at the midway point and beyond.
We intend to make a run for the playoffs, as we are currently three points out with 14 games left to play. We are essentially chasing four teams: San Jose, Colorado, FC Dallas, and Toronto. We have four head-to-head games left against these clubs.
The key to our playoff run is improved play, the addition of Anthony Obodai, and the return of Geoff Cameron.
I think Saturday’s draw and shutout was another positive result and a sign of good things to come. A win would have been sweet, but it appears we are starting to get our back line on track, and that will hopefully lead to more victories.
Obodai has rejoined the team on trial, and it is possible he will be signed and available for Thursday’s SuperLiga game against Pachuca. Obodai can add depth to our central midfield and give Brad Davis the chance to move back to his natural position on the left. Obodai was impressive during his trial period with the club. He has a strong resume that includes a club career in the Dutch Eredivisie and call-ups to the Ghanaian national team.
Cameron is making good progress on his rehab and could return in mid-August, meaning he may only miss 3-4 more MLS games.
SuperLiga is now upon us, and we are focused on making a run at the title. This was an exciting tournament for us in 2007 and 2008. You may recall that we lost to Pachuca in the ’07 semifinals and lost to New England in the ’08 final (both on PKs). The atmosphere around these games is playoff-like. We are expecting the same level of intensity again this year, so it should be a lot of fun. We have three home dates:
Thursday, July 15 Dynamo vs. Pachuca, 7 p.m.
Sunday, July 18 Dynamo vs. Chivas USA, Pachuca vs. Puebla, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, July 21 Dynamo vs. Puebla, 7 p.m.
Season ticket holders have seats to the July 15 and 21 games. The July 18 date was a late add-on and not a part of the 20-game package. Season ticket holders can get discounted seats to the July 18 doubleheader by calling their account executive at (713) 276-7500.
The MLS All-Star Game is now just 16 days away. Sales have picked up substantially over the last week, and more than 45,000 seats have been sold. If you don’t have your seats yet, what are you waiting for? Manchester United arrived in Chicago today to start its training. They will play in Toronto, Philadelphia, and Kansas City before coming to Houston. Chicharito Hernandez has been confirmed for the roster.
In case you haven’t heard, we have an early bird special on 2011 season tickets. Fans renewing before the All-Star Game receive a price freeze, the opportunity to obtain a free season ticket in 2011, and the opportunity to get onto the pitch for pre-game warm-ups during the MLS All-Star Game (while supplies last, only 96 spots left). Call your account exec for more details.
We are closely watching the Thierry Henry situation to see if he has indeed signed with the New York Red Bulls. We play New York at home on July 31, and it could make for an exciting night if that turns out to be Henry's MLS debut.
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