It’s a big day in Houston soccer history, with the official FIFA delegation arriving this afternoon to visit our fine city as part of the United States’ bid to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup. The Chronicle’s Richard Justice writes that Houston is an international city well deserving of playing host to the world’s biggest sporting event. Jesus Ortiz details the red-carpet (orange-carpet?) treatment that will be rolled out to the delegation and some of the reasons Houston makes sense. He also ranks Houston as the No. 2 soccer city in the U.S., behind Los Angeles.
The Dynamo are off from training on Thursday, but will welcome Jamaican international Lovel Palmer back to the field on Friday. You can’t tell from this article, but he played in Jamaica’s 2-1 loss to Peru on Tuesday. However, Palmer will still be suspended for the September 18 match against Toronto.
In a cross between international and Dynamo Academy news, home-grown midfielder Francisco Navas Cobo won his sixth cap for the United States U-20 national team yesterday, playing 90 minutes in a 2-0 loss to Colombia, the country where Navas Cobo spent some of his childhood. The Colombian squad included several former teammates at Deportivo Cali for the Dynamo’s 18-year-old.
While local Dynamo Academy players are getting some extra off-field training in preparation for January’s Copa Chivas in Mexico, one Academy standout – goalkeeper Fernando Piña – continues to be in line for the No. 1 goalkeeping spot in next year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup, training in Madrid with the U.S. U-17s (a mix of residency and foreign-based players) this month.
In MLS last night, Chicago and Toronto played to a scoreless tie that included chances (two controversial handballs and a breakaway) but no goals and served only to hurt both teams’ playoff chances. Seattle and RSL meet tonight on national TV.
At the national team level, the Washington Post’s Steve Goff reports the U.S. men could be making a fourth trip to South Africa in the last four years for a November friendly, but it’s a 50-50 proposition. Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl, meanwhile, has an intriguing proposal for an expanded Copa America.
The United Soccer Leagues announced a general restructuring concept but no specifics to go with it – could we be headed for another NASL-USL offseason scramble?
Finally, could we see another must-watch soccer documentary? There may be a video version of Finn McCool’s Football Club, the book about a New Orleans pub devastated by Hurricane Katrina.