So, here we are, just 21 days into 2013 and already we’ve got a lot to talk about. Let’s get into it …
Today is the first day of training camp. The new season is here. Can you believe it?
The off-season was a very short 49 days, dating back to our return from MLS Cup on Dec. 2. Today, we stand just 40 days from the first game (Sat., March 2 vs. DC United, 7pm).
We open camp with high expectations and lots of optimism. We believe we are in a good position to once again compete for an MLS Cup. We are also excited about our opportunity for success in the CONCACAF Champions League. That quest is also right around the corner with our first quarterfinal match against Santos on March 5 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Since Dec. 2, some new faces have arrived and some familiar faces have departed.
The departures include:
- Colin Clark (released, signed with LA Galaxy)
- Andre Hainault (free agent, signed with Ross County in Scotland)
- Mac Kandji (free agent, unsigned)
The arrivals include:
- Eric Brunner (trade with Portland Timbers)
- Omar Cummings (trade with Colorado Rapids)
- Jason Johnson (MLS Draft, Virginia Commonwealth University)
- Jimmy Nealis (MLS Draft, Georgetown University)
We like the additions we have made and think we have a solid roster going into camp.
If you are able to make it out to a training session this week, you will notice that a few players are missing.
- Bruin, Davis and Hall are with the U.S. National Team and could be picked for the roster when the U.S. makes its BBVA Compass Stadium debut next week (Tue., Jan. 29 vs. Canada).
- Garcia is with Honduras as they compete in the Central American Cup.
- Carr is rehabbing the knee injury he suffered in the MLS Cup final.
Looking back at the 2013 SuperDraft, I am very excited at the prospects we acquired. I believe we got the best available talent when our numbers were called at picks 13 and 37. At the same time, we addressed a need by adding an attacking player (Johnson) and depth on the back line (Nealis).
MLS schedule improvements
In case you missed it, the MLS schedule was recently released. Our home schedule is a huge improvement from 2012 and much more fan-friendly. You’ll notice the following:
- Games are more widespread over eight months.
- There are no day games during the hot months of May through August.
- There are only five games between June and August versus 10 in 2012.
- We have moved most summer kickoff times to 8pm for fan comfort.
- 16 of the 17 MLS games are weekend dates.
- We play NY and KC two times each at BBVA Compass Stadium.
- Seattle, San Jose, Colorado, Vancouver and Chivas USA will make their BBVA Compass Stadium debuts.
Aside from the MLS schedule, we will host a minimum of three CONCACAF Champions League matches, including the aforementioned Santos quarterfinal match and the “to be announced” 2013-14 group stage matches.
We are also seeking an opponent and date for the 2013 BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup. I expect this match to take place in late July or early August.
Support the red, white and blue
I urge everyone to get their tickets for the Jan. 29 friendly between the United States and Canada. This is the first time the USMNT will play at BBVA Compass Stadium and we need to show the U.S. Soccer Federation that Houston is a great soccer town and that it can support these events. Making an impressive showing will be vital to getting future matches, including World Cup qualifiers.
New radio home for the Houston Dynamo
I am pleased to announce that we have a new English radio partner in Gow Media. This means Yahoo! Sports Radio 1560 AM and ESPN 97.5 FM is now your home for Dynamo soccer. This group is very much behind the Dynamo and MLS and will bring our radio coverage to the next level. Be sure to support these stations as they will be talking Dynamo Soccer more so than any other sports talk station in town.
We will kick off the partnership with a special event tonight at House of Blues from 6-9 p.m. Glenn Davis will be broadcasting Dynamo All-Access live from the event beginning at 7 p.m. Click here for more details.
Soccer Night in Newtown
As you may have seen or heard, the Dynamo played a leading role in organizing “Soccer Night in Newtown” on January 7. This event was a response to the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Approximately 50 soccer players came together to help bring smiles to children’s faces, provide a brief diversion from the awful realities facing their town, and create positive lifelong memories. It was hugely successful and the most satisfying thing I’ve ever been a part of in my career. Seeing the reaction from the children and the gratitude from the community was incredible. Corey Ashe, Brian Ching, Ricardo Clark and Cam Weaver were the Dynamo representatives at the event. Click here for more information about the event.
Ok, this has run a bit longer than usual, but there was a lot to cover. I hope you enjoyed the information and are now ready for the 2013 season. Catch you next time, but until then follow me on Twitter @chriscanetti for more frequent updates.