Wilf Thorne/Houston Dynamo

Canetti's Corner - August 23, 2010

Welcome to edition No. 16 of my weekly blog. It appears on the new HoustonDynamo.com every Monday.

It is awfully nice to be writing to you after a win. It is sweet because we haven’t tasted victory for so long and because of the way we earned it.

We played some of our best soccer of late but faced adversity in getting the win. Overcoming that adversity was proof of this team’s character. The 3-1 second-half lead seemed safe, but we suddenly found ourselves tied at three and looking at the possibility of another frustrating result. The guys knew that they deserved a win and fought until the end to snatch a 4-3 victory from the Fire. Like I said last week, this team will never quit and will always give 100 percent. This weekend’s match was a pure example of that. It was another memorable night of soccer at Robertson Stadium.

With a win, our hope for a playoff run remains alive. We picked up some points, but more importantly, displayed some quality soccer. If we can get this kind of play over the final nine games, then we will challenge the teams ahead of us.

The playoff picture now looks like this:

Eastern Conference
1. Columbus    46
2. New York     34

Western Conference
1. Los Angeles 43
2. Salt Lake      39

Remaining Field
5. Dallas          36
6. Seattle         29
7. San Jose      29
8. Colorado      28
Toronto            26
Chicago           24
Houston         23
Kansas City     23
New England    21

Big games to keep an eye on this weekend include:

Toronto vs. Real Salt Lake
New England vs. Philadelphia
New York vs. San Jose
Seattle vs. Chicago
LA vs. Kansas City

We had a decent crowd of 18,000-plus on Saturday. I want to thank you for sticking with us and being vocal and supportive of the team from the get-go.

As noted last week, here is a quick update on our two big off-the-field news items, the stadium and training complex:

Plans are to open the stadium in 2012 and break ground by the end of 2010. These events are dependent on our ability and timing to finalize our lease with the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority and our private financing with our banking partners. Negotiations with these groups are ongoing and productive. We have hired ICON Venue Group as the project manager and Populous as the lead architect. They are hard at work in getting the development off the ground and making progress on a parallel path to the previously mentioned negotiations. We have received proposals for a general contractor and will award the bid within the next month. Prep work is underway on the site, as private utility companies are moving above- and below-ground pipes and wires. I will share an updated conceptual design as it becomes available soon.

The training complex is set to open in 2011. There will be seven fields and a 40,000-square foot building to house the Dynamo locker room, a sports performance center, a sports rehab clinic, public rest rooms, meeting space, and a restaurant. One field will be solely dedicated to the Dynamo, while the remaining fields will be available for public rental. The Dynamo will manage the complex, which includes maintenance and programming. Once the fields are ready, we will open them for public use. Construction is underway, and they should be ready around January. This is dependent on the contractor’s ability to lay sod in October as planned. The building should be open for business in April. This is dependent on a September ground-breaking, which is dependent on the completion of various legal agreements, which are pending. The Dynamo will move team operations and training to the complex when the building opens. Anyone interested in renting field space should contact my assistant, Stephanie, at stgonzalez@houstondynamo.com.

That’s it for this week. Let’s hope for a big win at Colorado this weekend (Fox Soccer Channel, SportsTalk 790, La Ranchera 850). It’s a big game!

As always, feel free to email me with any questions or comments to ccanetti@houstondynamo.com.