Danny Cruz ran to the sideline to celebrate his first MLS goal with teammates.
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Canetti's Corner - May 24, 2010

Welcome to edition No. 4 of my weekly blog. It will appear on the new HoustonDynamo.com every Monday.

There is nothing more satisfying than a Dynamo win in front of a nice home crowd. When they come together, it is just great, and that is what we got on Saturday night. It was a good bounce-back game and a critical home victory in front of 24,471 fans.

Congratulations to Danny Cruz for getting his first MLS start and goal. Also, congrats to Tally Hall for getting his first MLS start, win, and shutout. It was good to see contributions from some of the younger players. It was also good to see Cam Weaver play, and I thought he looked good in his 30 minutes of action.

I watched the game with two guests from England – Tony Scholes, a chief executive from Stoke City, and Gary Mellor, a UK-based players’ agent. It was their first MLS experience, and it was fun to get their perspective. They were both very impressed with what they saw (and surprised by the heat).

The upcoming home game vs. the Philadelphia Union (Saturday, 7:30 pm) is important. We want to collect three points before a challenging road trip that takes us to New York and Los Angeles in four days. Having two road games on opposite coasts is one of the quirky and most difficult parts of our schedule. This Saturday is also our last MLS home game until June 26. I encourage fans to turn out once again and support the team in this important home match.

One of the big things on Saturday is Craig Waibel’s “Bald Is Beautiful” day. Craig’s program helps raise money to fight childhood cancer. As you may recall from last year, fans shaved their heads at a pre-game party to support the campaign. It raised $40,000 in 2009, and the goal is to exceed it this year. Fans cans support the cause with a $100 donation, which includes a ticket to the match, a commemorative T-shirt, and a head shave if you desire.

A few pieces of team information:

The Joseph Ngwenya issue was finally resolved last week and he is now eligible.

We are negotiating with Brad Davis on a contract extension through 2013. Brad’s current deal runs out in December, and I am optimistic that we will get it done soon.

We are continuing to look for players that may help us in the summer transfer window. Assistant coach Wade Barrett spent the weekend scouting matches in two different cities. Having Wade for this purpose is a benefit that we did not have prior to him being hired.

Saturday was our first-ever Dynamo Academy Day. It was a gathering of 200+ Academy and Junior Academy players and their families. The day included lunch, watching the Champions League final, attending the Dynamo game, and watching the Dynamo Academy vs. the U-17 U.S. national team. It was an incredible array of soccer with an opportunity for the kids to get many different perspectives on the game.

Our Academy played well against the national team and earned a 0-0 draw. Two Dynamo Academy players (Fernando Piña, Bryan Celis) are current members of this U.S. national team and proudly returned home to play against their Dynamo teammates. It was nice seeing them in the red, white, and blue.

Coincidently, we had two Dynamo Academy products on the active 18-man roster vs. D.C. United. Goalkeeper Tyler Deric and midfielder Francisco Navas Cobo were on the bench together for the first time. This – more than anything - symbolizes the whole purpose of the Academy program and illustrates the dreams of all current Academy and Junior Academy players. After the professional game, I even saw Francisco sit with his former Academy teammates for part of their game against the U.S.

At the end of the night, I could not stop thinking about how our Academy is providing the best opportunities for young players to develop on and off the field.

AT&T MLS All-Star Game tickets continue to move at a fast clip. Lower bowl seats are limited, and fans should get tickets now if they want to be downstairs. The best way to get lower bowl seats is by being a Dynamo full season or mini-plan holder. This is still possible, as good package deals are available. Four-packs are currently available to the general public in the upper bowl via TicketMaster. Groups of 10 or more throughout the stadium are available by calling (713) 276-7500.

This week, we will announce the inaugural Dynamo Charities 5K run. It will be a part of the all-star festivities this summer. There will be competitive and non-competitive divisions. Look for this announcement and registration information in a few days. I hope a lot of Dynamo fans participate and help support Dynamo Charities.

The Dynamo Charities Cup is right around the corner (June 19, 8 p.m.). Our opponent, Aguila of El Salvador, lost in its league final on Sunday. I am really focused on making this a huge tradition. I hope fans will share this vision and support the match. We have a special opportunity for season ticket holders to get involved. Season ticket holders can get lower bowl seats for $25, with $5 going towards the charity, and upper bowl seats for $12 with $2 going to charity. An email communicating this offer will be sent soon.

Final Thought: Congratulations to Dynamo Sr. VP Rocky Harris for taking the lead in raising more than $30,000 to benefit The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The campaign included an event at Lucky’s Pub last week where Dynamo players served as guest bartenders.

I hope to see everyone at the game on Saturday, and here’s to three points.