Kick Off: Houston Dynamo can't wait to face Seattle
Fans tuning in to the NBC Sports Network for tonight’s broadcast of the Seattle Sounders vs. Houston Dynamo (10 pm ET, Live Chat on MLSsoccer.com) will undoubtedly relish in the show that will be put on by the Sounders faithful at CenturyLink Field.
But the Houston Dynamo may enjoy the Seattle atmosphere even more than everyone else judging by their pregame declarations.
“I love it. I love going there,” says Dynamo manager Dominic Kinnear, while his defender Bobby Boswell takes it a step further with this piece of advice to supporters in other markets: “I tell everyone if they have one game a year where they can go on the road to watch, it should definitely be the Seattle game.”
Kinnear and the Dynamo arrive into Seattle with two wins to open their season-opening, seven-game road trip as they await the christening of the new BBVA Compass Stadium. It’s a feat that’s catching the attention of other MLS teams, including Sporting Kansas City’s Matt Besler: “What they've done so far is pretty impressive.”
While the Houston Dynamo come into the match a healthy squad, the Sounders will be missing talismanic midfielder Mauro Rosales and now right back Adam Johansson is reported to be a gametime decision due to a hamstring issue.
The player that will replace Rosales in the starting XI is expected to be Roger Levesque, Christian Sivebaek or Marc Burch.
Few would have guessed that the two assists by Seattle’s Álvaro Fernández last weekend were double his MLS career assist total to that point. Obviously, Sigi Schmid wants that to continue: “He's shown his ability to ... score some goals and that'll come as well, but him getting assists is important for our team's success."
The Sounders made news yesterday by buying out the contract of forward O’Brian White, who is still not ready to return from recurring blood clots. He will not count toward the club’s 2012 roster or salary budget.
We’ll see if tonight’s MLS match will feature as many goals as the US scored in a 6-0 rout of Cuba in the opening of CONCACAF Olympic qualifying (highlights here). They were helped by an early goal and a 20th-minute red card to a Cuban player: “Up a man, it was nearly impossible to get us off the ball, said US Olympic manager Caleb Porter. (VIDEO)
Canada played the earlier Group A game in Nashville, Tenn., last night but could not do better than a 0-0 draw against El Salvador. The Central Americans looked more deserving of all three points (watch highlights here).
Group B matches take place at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., later tonight with Honduras facing Panama (9 pm ET, Mun2) and Mexico battling Trinidad and Tobago (11 pm ET, Telemundo).
Games, games and more games. Add two more to your summer schedule as Tottenham Hotspur comes to the USA to play the New York Red Bulls and LA Galaxy in July. Harry Redknapp reserved some words for the Galaxy in particular: “Playing the winners of the MLS Cup in LA Galaxy will provide a real challenge. Any team that includes proven international performers like Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan and David Beckham are sure to be top-drawer.”
Stay tuned for footage today featuring New York’s Rafa Márquez lighting up the Empire State Building in Red Bulls colors. He makes his return from a two-game suspension when New York host Colorado on Sunday. “I’m more committed and I’m more embedded into the club,” says the Mexican international.
The Red Bulls home opener on Sunday (4 pm ET, ESPN and ESPN Deportes) will be extra special for RBNY goalkeeper Ryan Meara, who’s a local product: “Growing up as a MetroStars fan and a Red Bull fan, it’s kind of something I’ve always dreamed of.”
Kick TV goes face-to-face with world soccer great Diego Maradona in Dubai. You won’t want to miss this exchange and the video of him on the practice field. (VIDEO)
The Philadelphia Union’s match in Chicago on Saturday (8:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE) is sure to have its fair share of drama after a report emerged that captain Danny Califf is not on the traveling roster and will not make the trip.
For all the talk about Seattle’s crowd and atmosphere, New England Revolution COO Brian Bilello has his own opinion: “Portland, it's probably the best professional sports experience in the country right now," he said.
The Revs host the Portland on Saturday afternoon (4 pm ET, MLS LIVE). Watch video of Timbers manager John Spencer previewing the match here, including his take on that Revs promotional video featuring Slyde the Fox: “If I were Timber Joey, I’d be pissed.” (VIDEO)
The Montreal Impact should have reason to be upset. For all the criticism they’ve received for their supposed lack of firepower up front, they are among the league leaders in shots and they’re second in shots on goal. They play their first MLS match outdoors when they travel to Columbus (4 pm ET, MLS LIVE).
Speaking of the expansion side, there’s a story this morning about a Montreal reporter who left a team practice after apparently being informed he would have limited access to the Impact following a report he filed.
The story of Saturday’s Toronto FC vs. San Jose match (1 pm ET, TSN and MLS LIVE) revolves around how TFC manager Aron Winter will replace the injured Torsten Frings. We’ve already learned Julian de Guzman will wear the captain’s armband but could he also fill in for the German on the backline? “I’m open to everything,” he said.
Can C.J. Sapong keep his hot streak going for Sporting Kansas City against FC Dallas on Sunday (7 pm ET, Galavision)? He scored in the club’s first two matches of the season and manager Peter Vermes says: “When a guy is hitting the three, you feed the bear and keep it going.”
The Vancouver Whitecaps get set to host D.C. United on Saturday (10 pm ET, MLS LIVE) in hope of registering their third shutout win in a row to start the 2012 season. Meanwhile, a report emerged that Vancouver’s Chinese forward Long Tan nearly quit the team last year. We also find out he idolizes LA’s David Beckham and has a poster of him in his room.
It’s a Bundesliga Friday with Wolfsburg vs. Hamburg on GolTV (3:30 pm ET). There’s also a Friday night offering of Mexican soccer with Morelia vs. América (9 pm ET, Fox Deportes).
Why is Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney having to apologize to a fan for breaking his wrist? Find out the full story here.
Soccer fans in Atlanta should keep on the lookout for AC Milan forward Pato, who is set to visit a muscular specialist located in the city in the hope he can address the injuries that continue to hinder him. (SPANISH)
Listen to Taylor Twellman and US Olympic Team’s Joe Gyau on the latest edition of ExtraTime Radio
The Throw-In: “Sexy Football” makes it to MLS after all
MLSsoccer.com’s Q&A with NBC Sports’ Arlo White
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