Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Houston's title defense starts in-state
by Ridge Mahoney, October 26th, 2007 7AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  mls

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS PLAYOFF PREVIEW]The Texas Shootout has been more of a stampede this season, with Dallas avoiding defeat only once by tying Houston, 0-0, at Pizza Hut Park June 30. Houston is deeper than last year's championship team. The additions of Nate Jaqua, Richard Mulrooney and Joseph Ngwenya brought experience as well as ability.

FC DALLAS (13-12-5) vs. HOUSTON (15-8-7)
Saturday, 8 p.m. ET
, HDNet, Direct Kick
Season series: Houston (3-0-1). Goals: 6-1.

In the first half of the season, Dallas took top spot in the Western Conference playing a skillful, fluid style of soccer. Juan Toja is a prime candidate for MLS Best XI and should also get votes as Newcomer of the Year.

GOOD. Houston pressing, smothering defense set a league record by allowing just 23 goals, and keeper Pat Onstad's GAA of 0.82 is also a record. Midfielder Brad Davis missed three months with a knee injury but in the final weeks of the season refined his passing and crossing. In the four regular season meetings, six different Dynamo players scored a goal apiece.

The Dallas strike force of Carlos Ruiz, Dominic Oduro, Abe Thompson, Arturo Alvarez and Kenny Cooper is formidable, and midfielder Dax McCarty is an ideal complement to Toja's rampaging runs.

BAD. Ricardo Clark's range can't be replaced and with Toja romping in midfield, Houston has to shift and move efficiently in support of Mulrooney, who also has to help cover the flanks and protect the central defenders. Eddie Robinson fouls a lot and takes too many cautions. FCD has used a lot of combinations in the back line, which is one reason it has conceded 44 goals.

UGLY. FCD finished 3-10-4 against playoff teams, meaning ten of its 13 wins came against the five leftovers. It failed to score in three of its last four games.

UNKNOWN. Denilson: will he play and if he does, will he help or hinder his team?

KEY MEN.Dallas' Adrian Serioux, whether he plays in the back or in midfield, must play two excellent games against his former team, and Ruiz needs to focus on scoring goals. Brian Ching and Joseph Ngwenya form a good pairing up top, yet both need to sharpen their occasionally wasteful finishing.

BOTTOM LINE. As the favorite in the playoffs against Colorado the past two seasons, FCD faltered. It isn't favored in this series and it shouldn't be.

 

 

Wizards face rising Chivas USA

The Wizards are back in the playoffs three years after finishing runner-up at MLS Cup; among the veterans of that solid team are defenders Jimmy Conrad and Jose Buricaga Jr., midfielders Sasha Victorine and Kerry Zavagnin, and attackers Scott Sealy and Davy Arnaud. They needed a win on the final day of the season to make the playoffs as the No. 8 seed, and as the fifth-placed team in the Eastern Conference are matched against the Western Conference champion on the other side of the bracket. First-year head coach Preki has upgraded Chivas USA from good to borderline excellent by incorporating a more direct, yet skillful, style of play. A remarkable home record (10-1-4) and resilient defense (28 goals allowed, second-best in MLS) indicates sufficient quality to carry Chivas USA to the final.

 



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Copa Centenario: U.S. leagues heavily represented    
The USA's roster for the Copa Centenario includes just nine current MLS players, but 18 other ...
USA-Ecuador: Kellyn Acosta called in, Chandler OK    
U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann added Kellyn Acosta to the U.S. roster for Wednesday's friendly ...
What They're Saying: Carli Lloyd    
"I have scored some big-time goals. I've done well in Algarve Cups. I've done well in ...
NWSL Rewind: Olympic hopefuls stand out in goal    
Chicago Red Stars keeper Alyssa Naeher, who is battling for one of two spots in goal ...
USL Rewind: Wheeler and Warshaw lead Isles to victory    
The Harrisburg City Islanders and Bethlehem Steel squared off for the first time Sunday, and Aaron ...
NASL Rewind: Cosmos back in first place    
The defending NASL champion New York Cosmos returned to first-place in the spring standings thanks to ...
What They're Saying: Earnie Stewart    
"He [Freddy Adu] was 14 years old, very talented but only practiced once a day. That ...
Copa Centenario: Final rosters released    
The final 23-player rosters for the 16 competing teams in the Copa Centenario were unveiled on ...
Video Pick: Wright-Phillip' strikes with overhead kick    
Two of the Red Bulls' goals from their 7-0 win over NYCFC feature among the eight ...
What They're Saying: Andrea Pirlo    
"It's a very hard league to play in. It's very physical, there's a lot of running. ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives