Houston Dynamo Archive

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Dear MLS, please kill the No. 4 vs No. 5 playoff game dead

MLSlogoplayoffsFor a guy who writes about soccer as much as I do, loves the game as much as I do, I surprise myself about how many times I wonder if there are too many matches being played.

The world would be a better place without the League Cup (we get to see who the big clubs put on the bench today!), meaningless friendlies, North American summer tours by European clubs… They are like the cheapest of Scotch; too much exposure to these things, and you might get so turned off that you forsake the good stuff, too.

And, if Major League Soccer cared about the integrity of its playoff system, it would do the world a favour and jettison the No. 4 vs. No. 5 conference playoff games.

Wednesday’s match, which saw FC Dallas end the Whitecaps season with a 2-1 win, was another example of why the No. 4 vs. No. 5 playoff game is a massive issue. The announced attendance was 10,279. Almost Chivas bad. But, as anyone in Sports Marketing 101 would tell you, what do you expect when a team is expected to sell playoff tickets for a game that happens on a midweek evening, just three days after the regular season ends?
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5

Suspensions for Impact playoff meltdown have a familiar ring to them

Marco Schallibaum

Marco Schallibaum

The Montreal Impact’s flameout in Houston will have lasting repercussions.

The Impact lost its MLS Eastern Conference play-in game by a 3-0 count Thursday, but also endured the embarrassment of finishing the game with just eight men. Nelson Rivas saw two yellows, while both Andres Romero and star Designated Player Marco Di Vaio were sent off for an 89th-minute incident, instigated by Romero kicking at the Dynamo’s Corey Ashe, who was down on the field.

The league’s disciplinary committee has decided that both Romero and Di Vaio will serve another two games each on top of the automatic one-game bans. So, each player will be banned for the first three games of the 2014 regular season.

The Impact have been fined $25,000 and Impact coach Marco Schallibaum is out another $2,500. Di Vaio got dinged $1,000, while Romero got a $250 fine.

Houston coach Dominic Kinnear was banned for one game because he came onto the field of play. He will serve that in the Dynamo’s playoff match this weekend against New York.
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0

Impact sees red as Dynamo runs riot in Eastern Conference playoff

Nelson Rivas: First start of season, first ejection of season, season comes to an end.

Nelson Rivas: First start of season, first ejection of season, season comes to an end.

The Houston Dynamo, with a 3-0 win over the visiting Montreal Impact, will play the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference semifinal on Sunday. The Impact players return home having reached the objective they set for themselves at this point last year, but nonetheless ended the 2013 season as somewhat of a disappointment given their early successes.

Head coach Marco Schallibaum rolled the dice and started Nelson Rivas on the back line.

“I’ve seen him for the last two weeks,” said Schallibaum on RDS before the game got underway. “He’s got experience and he may not be 100 per cent, but even at 80 per cent, he’ll help the team.”

Making his first start of the year following knee surgery late in the 2012 season and an extended recovery period that had the Colombian defender the subject of so many Tour de France jokes that the club asked local media to tone it down, the rugged Rivas gave a good accounting of himself but left at he behest of referee Mark Geiger in the 70th minute.

He would not be the only Impact player sent off. Montreal would have only eight men left when the final whistle blew.
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0

Montreal Impact: The pressure is off, it goes into Houston as the team with nothing to lose

mlscupshotThe Montreal Impact has backed into the MLS playoffs.

The Impact needed one of three results to go its way Sunday. But both the New England Revolution and Houston Dynamo won their matches, leaving it up to the third and final game to decide if the Impact’s season would be over or not.

And, after surrendering the first goal of the game to the Chicago Fire’s Mike Magee, the New York Red Bulls roared back with five unanswered goals — based on the strength of three assists from Peguy Luyindula — and took the game 5-2.

Chicago’s loss allowed the Impact to cling onto the fifth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

As well, the fact that Marco Di Vaio (20 goals) is in the playoffs, while Magee (21 goals) isn’t, may influence the MVP vote.
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1

Loss at Houston sees Impact slide down Eastern Conference table

Ricardo Clark

Ricardo Clark

For it to be a virtual replay of the Impact’s outing against Chicago last week, all that was missing from Friday evening’s game against the Houston Dynamo was a late-game tying goal to allow the Montreal side to escape with a largely unearned point. As a result of the 1-0 defeat, Marco Schallibaum’s crew traded slots on the MLS Eastern Conference ladder with their hosts and are now fourth with 46 points on 30 games, one point behind Houston and only three ahead of fifth-place Chicago.

The home side took the initiative early, getting a first try three minutes in with Bobby Boswell heading an Oscar Boniek Garcia service over the bar, before taking the lead in the sixth.

The only goal of the match was a beauty. Garcia sent a long pas in towards the Montreal goal. Chested deftly from forward Giles Barnes to Ricardo Clark, the midfielder controlled the ball with his first touch, spun and sent an arcing shot off the inside of the left upright and into the mesh behind Troy Perkins for the first goal the Dynamo has scored against the Impact this season.
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1

Impact coach Schallibaum fined for incident that occurred when he was suspended at the time

Marco Schallibaum

Marco Schallibaum

For the consipracy theorists out there who think that MLS has it in for Montreal Impact coach Marco Schallibaum, Friday’s news will add fuel to the fire.

Schallibaum, who has been sent off and suspended on three different occasions in 2013 — and was given and after-the-fact penalty after another match this season — received word Friday that he would be fined for the actions of his team in last weekend’s 5-0 win over Houston.

But, this is the thing. Schallibaum wasn’t on the bench last week. He was in the stands, serving the first of a two-game suspension. Mauro Biello coached the Impact last week, as he will this Saturday in Philadelphia.
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0

Rowe’s brace earns him MLS Player of the Week award

Kelyn Rowe

Kelyn Rowe

With other braces from the likes of Montreal’s Marco Di Vaio and Chivas USA’s Erick Torres also in the running, Kelyn Rowe’s two-goal effort earned him the MLS Player of the Week Award.

Rowe’s two goals, both from distance, helped his New England Revolution to a 5-1 demolition of the Philadelphia Union on Sunday. On Monday, Rowe got most first-place votes from the membership of the North American Soccer Reporters.

With so many goals in MLS this past weekend (and in the previous midweek), and many two-goal efforts from which to choose, the judges were likely swayed by the difficulty level of Rowe’s tallies. Neither were tap-ins; both were long-range efforts which get you excited about Goal-of-the-Week possibilities.
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0

Impact scores five times, delivers Biello his first MLS coaching victory

Felipe

Felipe

Looking more like the side that played the first dozen games of the schedule than the one that has set foot on the pitch for most of its recent matches, the Montreal Impact, if only for a matter of hours pending Sunday’s match results, regained top spot on the MLS Eastern Conference ladder with a 5-0 drubbing of the Houston Dynamo.

Mauro Biello was at the helm for tonight’s game, a change made necessary by head coach Marco Schallibaum’s suspension and ended up on the winning side for the first time in MLS.

“We saw fresh legs tonight, good movement and, in the end, it was a big victory for us,” he said after the match. “I think we played well defensively. We were very compact and were able to counterattack several times. We saw a little of everything.”

“When you have that kind of movement up top and the quality we had in midfield, you’re going to give (opponents) trouble,” he concluded.
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TFC gets a draw in the Houston heat; when it gets hot, the games get oh so slow

Koevermans: Great chance to win it

Koevermans: Great chance to win it

Last week, Toronto FC got its first road win of the season. On Saturday, TFC earned a draw in Houston.

And TFC supporters should actually be more appreciative of the single point in Houston than the three earned at the home of the league’s worst team, D.C. United. It’s not just that the Dynamo has been to the last two MLS Cups, and get beaten at home about as often as, well, TFC wins on the road. It’s the heat.

Beating Houston in normal soccer weather would be difficult enough. But when its 30-31 C at kickoff, with humidity hovering around 80 per cent, the Dynamo’s home-field advantage is exaggerated. Sure, it gets that warm in Toronto in the summer, but BBVA Compass Stadium has a very special way of holding in the heat at field level. If the weatherman says its 30 C at kickoff, it’s likely a few degrees warmer on the grass. I don’t have scientific proof of this; I just take it from the testimonials I’ve heard from national-team and MLS players and coaches who have been there.

So, the 0-0 draw — as unexciting as it was for long stretches — was something that TFC coach Ryan Nelsen can take pride in.
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0

Houston, we have problems: Mistakes help Impact to victory

Felipe

Felipe

The Impact’s hold on first place in the MLS Eastern Conference was not at risk when it kicked off against the Houston Dynamo at Saputo Stadium this evening. Second-place New York Red Bulls are on an off-week and nobody else was within three points of the Montreal side. Despite not having anything at risk, Marco Schallibaum’s men took the contest by a 2-0 score to remain undefeated at home this year, a victory due as much or more to the visiting team’s misfortunes as to the Impact’s performance.

If you want to win a game against the Impact it helps to place multiple shots on target. Houston managed but two, the first not coming until the 82nd minute, by which time the game was pretty much on ice, the Impact well on its way to an undefeated 6-0-1 record at home in league play.

Montreal came out like gangbusters in the first half, getting both of the game’s goals in the opening frame while the visiting side held the edge in battles won, ball possession and passes both attempted and completed. These stats were in the home side’s favour in the scoreless second half.

When the whistle sent the teams into their dressing rooms for half time, the Impact had taken 11 shots, with seven of them finding their target, among them both the goals the team scored on the evening. The Dynamo managed to shoot 10 times towards Troy Perkins without a single try finding the proper range.

A pair of first-half miscues sealed Houston’s fate, one a physical mistake, the other a major mental error.
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