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Houston Dynamo copes with Ike
by Ridge Mahoney, September 23rd, 2008 7AM
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Rather than jam its postponed Concacaf Champions' League match into an already crowded schedule, the Houston Dynamo will instead delay it as long as possible. Hurricane Ike forced the Dynamo's first of six CCL matches last Wednesday against Salvadoran champion CD Luis Angel Firpo to be rescheduled, and on Monday the team announced the new date: Nov. 26, three days after MLS Cup. The Dynamo is in Panama City to play its first CCL match against league champion San Francisco FC on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel).

The only feasible midweek date, Oct. 17, had been filled by a postponed MLS league match, originally scheduled for last Saturday at home against San Jose. Though damage to Robertson Stadium was slight, city and stadium officials couldn't guarantee that sufficient police, security, and emergency personnel could be available nor that access roads and surrounding areas would be clear and safe.

Fans will be permitted to use tickets for the match on the rescheduled date, or exchange them for either of Houston's other two home CCL games: Oct. 7 against San Francisco FC of Panama and Oct. 22 vs. Mexican opponent UNAM.

Four Houston matches have been either suspended or postponed this season; its June 4 MLS game against D.C. United at RFK Stadium had to be abandoned in the 16th minute when lightning storms flashed in the skies near the stadium and torrential rains saturated the field.

It was rescheduled for July 22, then pushed back one more day due to weather. Houston won, 2-0, after power outages and heavy rain suspended play in the 54th minute and forced a delay of nearly three hours. The teams completed the match well past midnight local time.

The Nov. 26 game will be the final Group B match of the CONCACAF Champions League. All other group play will conclude in late October. The top two teams in each of the four groups advance to the quarterfinals that commence in February.

The Dynamo is in Panama City to play its first CCL match against league champion San Francisco FC (8 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel). In the next 32 days, it will play 11 league and international matches, neatly broken up into three segments; four on the road in four different countries, five at home, and two more away.

After playing in Panama City, the Dynamo will return home for a day or so, then travel to Toronto for a league match Saturday. On Sunday the team returns through Houston to Mexico City for a date with Pumas, returns to Houston, and then heads north to play the Rapids.

"Our schedule is insane the next month or so," said midfielder Richard Mulrooney, whose wife and daughter fled to San Antonio to escape the wrath of Ike. "But that's the price of success, I guess."

When asked how many players he will need to get through an arduous schedule that leads right into the MLS playoffs, coach Dominic Kinnear said, "I think that number will start with a 2, to be honest. I think we'll be looking to use more than our regular roster, so we'll be in the 20s for this stretch."

He has used 21 players, including goalkeepers Pat Onstad and Tony Caig, in league games this season.

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