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Canetti's Corner - September 27, 2010

Welcome to edition No. 20 of my weekly blog. It appears on the new HoustonDynamo.com each week.

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As you well know, it’s been a difficult and challenging season. The recent losses to Toronto FC and Kansas City were particularly painful.

The Toronto loss felt like rock bottom. Then there was the Kansas City game. If Toronto felt like rock bottom, then I don’t know what the Kansas City feeling was …

But credit to the coaching staff and team for going into D.C. and snatching a win. After grueling back-to-back losses, and with the dimmest of playoff hopes, they could have gone through the motions on the road and packed it in. That clearly didn’t happen.

While we’ve been struggling to get the desired results, I’ve been promoting this team’s character along the way. I’ve said, playoffs or no playoffs, we will fight to the end and give our fans an effort they can be proud of. Saturday’s win was an example of that. And even in the recent string of tough losses (SJ, TFC, KC), the team came out ready to play and fought hard in those games. It was a moment here, a letdown there, or a crummy break that cost us.

I’ve seen a lot of teams over the years, in and out of soccer, that have given up on a season when all seems lost. I am proud to say that this team has not. With four games left, we will look to end strong and build positive energy for next year. With all of the things that have happened in 2010, positive energy and confidence has suffered. It’s often referred to as swagger in sports. We have to get our swagger back, and a good run at the end will help kick-start 2011.

As you know, we put ourselves in a position to win the SJ, TFC, and KC games. I couldn’t help myself from thinking yesterday about what could have been if we had won … We would have 35 points and sit one point out of the playoffs – behind SJ, who would have 36 points, and ahead of TFC, who would have 28 points, and ahead of KC, who would have 30 points. I know that “would’ve, could’ve, should’ve” doesn’t get you anywhere, but that thought definitely crossed my mind.

We are now officially out of the playoffs. While we will do our best to win these last four games and finish as high as possible, that will be the bottom line on this season. Out of the playoff is out of the playoffs, no matter where you are in the standings. What matters is how we play and what we can gain from these matches toward improving ourselves next year. Our players have a good perspective on this and a professional approach.

Saturday's game will be another measuring stick at Philadelphia. If you think back to May 29, when we hosted Philly, this was the start of our troubles. We were 5-4-1 entering the match and ended up suffering a difficult loss in stoppage time. The loss started a sequence of events that sent us in the wrong direction. There is a small measure of redemption that can come from winning the match.

I encourage you to tune in – not just to see how the team plays – but to get a look at their new stadium. I think it is a good snapshot of what our stadium will be like. The general design is different but their new stadium can give you a feel of what you will experience here. Saturday's game will be televised nationally on TeleFutura, rather than on our local stations, but there will still be local radio broadcasts on SportsTalk 790 and La Ranchera 850.

There is no major news to report on the stadium front, which is good in a lot of ways. Things are moving along as planned and scheduled as of now.

I hope to see you at one of our final home games (Oct. 10 and Oct. 23). We appreciate your on-going support.

>>Buy tickets for remaining two home games<<

As always, please send comments or questions to ccanetti@houstondynamo.com. Thanks.

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