Tag Archive | "Dynamo"

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Preview: Revs @ Houston

Posted on 15 April 2011 by Matty Jollie

The history between these two clubs is almost so well known that it’s overstated. The New England Revolution (1-1-3, 5pts) and Houston Dynamo (1-1-2, 4pts) have faced off in several memorable matches, and the clubs have met in three major finals, with Houston defeating the Revolution in two MLS Cups, while the Revs bested the orange-clad side from Houston in the Superliga Final. One important piece of history in this rivalry? The Dynamo have NEVER beaten New England in Houston (0-4-1 all time). This match, however, has a slightly different twist to it, as for the first time ever, they are meeting as Eastern Conference rivals. Both sides have gotten off to decent but not glorious starts, and are still trying to overcome injuries and find that right chemistry on the pitch. Sunday may not involve all of the major cast of characters, but both clubs know how important it will be to continue their start to the new campaign in a positive direction. Let’s see how it all matches up:

GOALKEEPERS – With Matt Reis still questionable with an abductor strain, it may be the Bobby Shuttleworth show again Sunday night in Houston. Shuttleworth has performed admirably in Reis’ absence, but doesn’t possess as much of an imposing physical presence as the Revs’ veteran does. The back four should be comfortable, however, as this will mark the third straight match with Shuttleworth between the pipes. In Houston, it’s been 25 year-old Tally Hall shouldering the keeper duties, and he has responded well. Hall has yet to surrender more than one goal in a match, and has looked strong in commandeering the Houston defense. Strong in the air and with good instincts, Hall has the potential to be a solid goalkeeper in this league for years to come. ADVANTAGE: Slight edge to Houston. It’s been Hall’s job all season, leading to better chemistry and communication, though Shuttleworth has certainly performed more than adequately in Reis’ absence.

DEFENDERS – New England has come out of the gate in 2011 performing better at the back, which is more than encouraging to a fan base that watched them surrender a league-worst 50 goals last season. Rookies like A.J. Soares and Franco Coria have performed well in their appearances, with good, physical play, and when healthy, Kevin Alston and Didier Domi have settled down the flanks and really pulled the team together at the back. However, with Domi listed as doubtful in the injury report, and veteran Ryan Cochrane listed as questionable, there will be several questions at the back for the Revs. With what is available to him, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Nicol opt for the a similar look to the opening match of the season, with Barnes at LB for Domi, Soares and Coria in the middle, and Alston on the right. Houston has had a nice start to the season defensively, surrendering four goals in their first four matches, and seem to be getting better as the back four have more opportunities to play together. No doubt the centerpiece of the Houston defense is Bobby Boswell who has asserted himself in his first three seasons in Houston as their top defender. Boswell has been joined mostly by Hunter Freeman and Andre Hainault, two defenders with good skills, but not particularly imposing size. The Dynamo have been organized at the back, and look to continue their strong play at the back with no significant injuries or suspensions heading into Sunday. ADVANTAGE: Houston. Healthy, organized, and at home.

MIDFIELDERS – This is without question where the match will be win or lost, as it is the biggest gap in quality between the two sides. New England is decimated by injury and suspension, and will be without Shalrie Joseph (red card), their captain and strongest presence, as well as Pat Phelan (red card), and off-season acquisition Ousmane Dabo is still listed as questionable on the injury report, although he is training with the full squad. Without their two defensive minded midfielders, the Revs will struggle to win and keep possession (even more so than usual). Dabo would help, but you really cannot expect much from a player that has yet to see the pitch in the 2011 campaign. The suspensions will possibly give Chris Tierney a shot to prove himself, which will help the Revolution in providing service to their forwards. Marko Perovic is back healthy and should feature as well, giving the Revolution a creative outlet on the pitch. On the Houston side, there is absolutely no question that Brad Davis the midfield star. Davis has been the team’s best playmaker, and is coming off a performance against Vancouver where he assisted on all three Dynamo goals. Whenever Houston takes the pitch you also need to keep an eye on the always feisty Geoff Cameron, who is the pit bull of the Houston midfield. Cameron is a great ball winner, and will creep up and create chances for the Dynamo if given the opportunity. Youngster Danny Cruz has also begun to announce his presence with the Dynamo, playing well as the season has progressed, which has seen him earn more playing time in the Dynamo midfield.
ADVANTAGEHouston. Big. No Shalrie hurts the Revs the most, but you will also see how the loss of Phelan affects the side also. Expect Davis and Cameron to have big games.

FORWARDS – More question marks abound as you look at the forward position on both sides. The Revolution have seen good play from Zack Schilawski, and when Ilija Stolica finally saw the field in Vancouver, he produced a huge stoppage-time goal the earned the Revs a point. However, the question on everyone’s mind will be whether or not newly-signed Danish striker Rajko Lekic will be able to see the field. Lekic is awaiting his ITC to come through before he can play, and if I were a gambling man, I would say we don’t see the Danish man until next weekend, where he can be unveiled at home in front of his new supporters. Houston has question marks of their own, as their star striker Brian Ching is out with an injury, which has forced rookie striker Will Bruin into the spotlight. Bruin struggled in the early days of the season, but finally broke through last week against Vancouver and opened his 2011 goal scoring campaign. Look for Bruin to be partnered with Cam Weaver, who also scored against the Whitecaps, giving the Dynamo a young, yet physically talented, strike tandem. ADVANTAGE – Push. Bruin and Weaver have performed well, but it’s a small sample size. Stolica and Schilawski have proven they can produce, and the the shadow of Rajko Lekic looms large over this fixture as well.

COACHING – Kinnear and Nicol are cut from the same old-school mold and neither truly separates himself from the other. Both have strong resumes, both know how to handle injuries. ADVANTAGE – Push.

PREDICTION – Both sides have injuries, the Revs are dealing with suspensions, Houston is coming off their best performance of the year and are playing at home. However, this fixture has seen some classics in the past, and it wouldn’t surprise me if a really great match snuck up on us on Sunday night. The loss of Shalrie and Pat Phelan is going to be too much I fear. If the Revs are to win this one it’s going to take multiple goals, a feat that has yet to be accomplished against a stout Dynamo defense. It might not be a pretty match on Sunday, but when these two collide, it’s always worth watching. SCORE- HOUSTON 2 – REVS 0.

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Unfortunate blow as TFC draw Dynamo

Posted on 19 July 2009 by Mahmoud Shoblaq

Toronto FC knew the task coming into this match against Houston. After the road victory at San Jose, TFC was confident and showed fight from the start.

The Toronto FC lineup was left unchanged from the previous game.
Keeper: Stefan Frei
Defenders: Marvell Wynne, Nana Attakora, Nick Garcia, Adrian Serioux
Midfielders: Dwayne De Rosario, Amado Guevara, Carl Robinson, Jim Brennan
Forwards: Chad Barrett, Pablo Vitti

With a slow start the game proceeded to become an entertaining encounter. TFC dominated the first half but the Dynamo came in strong in the second.  Toronto had the better chances and made them count by testing keeper Pat Onstad and putting more shots on target.

On some occasions a side of Toronto emerged that had not been seen before; they were organized keeping possession and completing their passes.

The first goal of the game came from Dwayne De Rosario; the pass from Marvel Wynne intending Danny Dichio who played a dummy through for Dwayne who took the goal beautifully. The score stayed as 1-0 at the end of the first half with Toronto FC leading.

As the second half began, the set pieces favored Houston. The unfortunate circumstances approached Toronto FC as they lost the lead from a bad clearance off a set piece that later saw a cross meet Boswell to get the shot on goal. After a wonderful save from Stefan Frei, the rebound was left for Boswell to score the goal and give Houston some hope of getting something out of the game.

The scoring chances kept coming but the score held still!

Final score: Toronto FC 1, Houston Dynamo 1

The Reds will now face off against River Plate on Wednesday for the annual Carlsberg Cup match held at BMO Field. They will then head to Columbus Crew for the last match up between the two teams of this season and the Trillium Cup decider. After Saturday’s MLS results Toronto FC dropped to fourth in the Eastern Conference standings. Adrian Serioux’s injury status is yet to be determined.

Ratings for players from 1 (low) to 10 (high), ranked by position:

Toronto FC

Stefan Frei: 7.5
Gave Toronto a scare as he seemed hurt in the warm-up but started the game. He also had a knock early in the first half from Bsowell but stayed strong to continue in the game and deny Houston on various occasions.

Marvell Wynne: 7.5
An improvement on his behalf from the last game, was strong defensively and offensively. He also made a great assist.

Nana Attakora: 8
Strong play throughout, was there when needed to deny Houston chances. He showed everyone why he won TFC’s June Player of the Month.

Nick Garcia: 7
Controlled the defense well, yet an unnecessary yellow card.

Adrian Serioux: 7
For the time he was on before his injury, he had great contribution.

Dwayne De Rosario: 8.5
Was all over the pitch, controlled the ball and created great opportunities. A well deserved and taken goal against his former team.

Amado Guevara: 7.5
An improvement from his last performance and had great connective plays with Vitti.

Carl Robinson: 7
Played well and contributed well defensively and offensively.

Jim Brennan: 7
Contributed strongly and covered well in the back after Adrian’s injury and substitution.

Chad Barrett: 7
Had a few chances, definitely one of his better games but he was denied goals on several occasions.

Pablo Vitti: 7.5
Some very skillful playing and great connective play with Guevara.  An unnecessary yellow card.

Danny Dichio: 7.5
Came on in the first half for Serioux, his presence was felt after playing the dummy through to Dwayne for the goal. Some missed opportunities will leave him disappointed.

Fuad Ibrahim: N/A
Came on for Barrett had little contribution.

Marco Velez: N/A
Came on for Vitti, had little to no contribution.

Houston Dynamo

Pat Onstad: 8
Made crucial saves, and had plenty to do to keep Houston in the game

Craig Waibel: 7
Played well defensively, unfortunate knock from Brennan early on but battled through it.

Bobby Boswell: 8
Ran into Frei early on, showed his presence up front and in the back. Took his chance well and followed through perfectly to get the goal. He also did well to deny TFC chances.

Geoff Cameron: 7
Assisted in some attacking plays and caused problems for TFC.

Julius James: 7.5
The former TFC player did very well in the back.

Mike Chabala: 7
Unfortunately had to experience the streamers and confetti from the TFC fans when taking the corner kicks, but did not let it get to his performance and played well. An unfortunate yellow card after being beat by De Rosario.

Corey Ashe: 6.5
His contribution was minimal but no mistakes were made when he had possession.

Brian Mullan: 6.5
Played well could have done better on some occasions.

Ricardo Clark: 7
Well played game.

Dominic Oduro: 7
Was denied access by the TFC defense on several occasion, but still managed to pull out a few chances.

Kei Kamara: 6.5
Was frustrated from the start due to some calls from the referee and was denied on several occasions. His frustration resulted in him receiving a yellow card for unsporting behavior. Yet he improved in the second half and was calmer.

Danny Cruz: 6.5
Came in for Mullan and saw little of the ball, but did well when he had it.

Ade Akinbiyi: N/A
Came in for Waibel to support the attack but saw little of the ball and made minimum contribution.

Erik Ustruck: N/A
Came on for Oduro, but had little contribution.

Who do you believe was the Man of the Match against Houston?(poll)

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DeRo, TFC aim for payback against Houston

Posted on 15 July 2009 by Mahmoud Shoblaq

More than a month ago, Toronto FC went down 3-0 to Houston away from home. A result that was devastating to Dwayne De Rosario as he took on his old club for the first time. With the return game coming up, Dwayne aims for revenge and a crucial win–this time at BMO Field.

Toronto has struggled against teams sitting at the top three spots of either conference table; with the only win coming against Chivas USA back on April 22. To keep their playoff hopes alive, TFC must win their remaining home games and improve their road results.

There is much to aim for, with a heavy schedule in the next few weeks filled with friendly, league and CONCACAF Champions League matches.

Additionally, the Toronto squad is still missing Sam Cronin, O’Brian White and Ali Gerba.

What comes as a surprises is DeRo’s decision to miss the MLS All-Star game due to Toronto FC’s CONCACAF Champions League match on the same night.

This match is vital for Toronto FC as they are now tied for first place in the Eastern Conference on 25 points with a game ahead. But Houston has a lot to play for as well. The Dynamo are closely chased by the Seattle Sounders who are three points behind them at the top of the Western Conference.  

Previous 3 MLS game results for each team:
Houston Dynamo (9-4-4):

vs. Seattle Sounders FC(Away)= 2-1 Loss
vs. Kansas City Wizards(Away)= 1-0 Win
vs. Los Angeles Galaxy(Away)= 1-0 Loss

Toronto FC (7-6-4):
vs. San Jose Earthquakes(Away)= 3-1 Win
vs. Real Salt Lake(Away)= 3-0 Loss
vs. New York Red Bulls(Home)= 2-0 Win

Predictions for the upcoming game:

  • A Similar line up to the last game against San Jose, with a possibility of a position change between Marvel Wynne and Jim Brennan.
  • A strong approach toward the game from TFC will help them get something out it. The fan support, and confidence will help!
  • A 60% chance of TFC taking all 3 points from this game or an 80% chance of at least 1 point.
  • A score of 2-1 for TFC.

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DeRo to T.O.

Posted on 13 December 2008 by Scott Ferguson

Toronto FC announced the arrival of Dwayne De Rosario Friday, with defender Julius James joining Houston Dynamo as part of the trade. De Rosario, who hails from Toronto suburb Scarborough and played for Toronto Lynx at USL level previously in his career, spent three seasons in Houston after that side’s move from San Jose ahead of the 2006 season.

“Dwayne is a player we’ve admired for quite some time,” Toronto FC sporting director Mo Johnston told the media. “When the chance came to work with Houston to get this deal, we were obviously very happy.”

It has been over a decade since De Rosario last played professionally in Toronto before embarking on a career that took him to Germany and Major League Soccer. At San Jose and Houston, where DeRo won two MLS Cups in each city, he has earned a reputation as one of the league’s best with his performances, including two MLS Goal of the Year awards in 2004 and 2005 and a decent shout for a third in 2006. DeRo was MLS Cup MVP twice, in 2001 with San Jose and 2007 with Houston, scoring the winner in both finals.

De Rosario has been a fan favourite at both clubs during his in MLS, and since Toronto FC’s inaugural season in 2007, it was seen as a natural fit for the local boy to play at BMO Field one day. Two straight MLS Cups at Houston in 2006 and 2007, though, combined with a big new contract seemingly designed to scare off Mo Johnston’s prying eyes, meant that Houston had nothing to gain from losing their prized asset.

DeRo turned 30 this year, and a fantastic reception at BMO Field during the 2008 AllStar game may have brought Toronto to the front of his mind again. Events in Houston in recent weeks made that transfer all the more realistic.

Reports are indicating that Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear had told De Rosario that next season’s Dynamo side would place greater emphasis on the pace of youngsters like Stuart Holden and James Cameron, with the Canadian forward restricted to a cameo role. DeRo requested a move to Toronto, with Johnston and TFC boss John Carver willing to part with James and allocation money to bring him home.

De Rosario will be looking to add to his 51-goal tally in the league and can suit up anywhere in the front four of Carver’s favoured 4-2-3-1 formation. His contract runs through 2010 and is at the league maximum without being considered a designated player.

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New Quakes vs. Old Quakes, Round II

Posted on 10 September 2008 by Evan White

The last time the San Jose Earthquakes faced the Houston Dynamo, they fought and clawed for a 2-1 victory at home. That triumph snapped a five game winless streak, providing the team with a short respite from the daily grinds of the early expansion season.

This Saturday’s match carries a very different Earthquake roster and greatly improved mentality. Francisco Lima, Arturo Alvarez, and Darren Huckerby have all been key additions since the last bout between the Earthquakes and the franchise that occupied San Jose before them. The new players have instilled a new ability to score, and brought swagger to the team as well. Alvarez has noted the atmosphere surrounding the team, acknowledging the new sentiment of self-assurance.

“The practices have been very sharp since I have been here and the team is feeling good,” said Quakes captain Nick Garcia. “We are all on the same page right now, working hard for each other and getting results. There is a good atmosphere in the locker room right now.”

Garcia is riding the new wave of confidence as well, and believes that the one dismal playoff hopes are now anything but.
“These next two games are obviously huge,” he said. “We have our own destiny in our hands now. Houston is a very good side, so it will be tough, but we have the guys in here to get two good results and stay in the playoff hunt.”

San Jose comes in to Saturday’s game with an eight game unbeaten streak on the line. Fresh off a 2-1 victory against D.C. United, the Quakes have moved in to fourth place in the Western Conference. Goals by Alvarez and Huckerby fueled San Jose, and the defense had a bend but not break mentality to hold D.C. to just one score.

Huckerby and O’Brien were relentless in their attack from out wide, testing the defense all match long. Lima helped SJ dominate the midfield, which drew just as much praise in the post game press conference from Coach Frank Yallop as any of the goals did.

“He is a driving force and an influence in the middle of the field,” Yallop said of Lima. “He is exactly what we needed in there. I think between Ramiro Corrales and Francisco Lima they were starting to really strike a nice partnership. I like Francisco (Lima) I think he has great character, the guys like him a lot. He is a tough man and he always wants to win and that is terrific to have in any team.”

Including his latest performance, Huckerby has totaled four goals and four assists in the seven games he has played with the Quakes. Alvarez scored for the second game in a row to bring his tally to three goals since coming over from Dallas.
Houston comes in to Saturday’s showdown carrying a similar swagger as the Earthquakes. After a sluggish start, Houston has won 4 of their last 5 games and has surged in to first place in the Western Conference. Their last victory came 3-1 Sunday against the Kansas City, the Eastern Conference cellar dweller. Even though Kansas City was an easy victory, two of their 4 recent wins have come against Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA, the two teams Houston leap-frogged en-route to their status as conference leader.

Familiar faces to The Bay Area have paved the way for Houston, as Brian Ching has paced the squad with 9 goals. Dwayne DeRosario is second on the team with 5, but leads the team with shots on goal.

Although both of those players were absent for their match against Kansas City, the rest of the roster handled the Wiz with ease. Two second half goals from forward Nate Jaqua provided more than enough scoring, and the defense stunted almost all KC attacks in allowing them only one goal. Houston Head Coach Dominic Kinnear understands the importance of the upcoming stretch of games, starting with the white-hot Earthquakes.

“You need to be self-motivated and focused because you never know, things change from day to day. In this next seven-week stretch, it’s important for them to be ready, and they have been so far. The team is successful and is playing well. If everyone wants to be a part of it, most importantly, when they step on the field, the standard cannot drop, and I think we have done that.”

Another player with a big impact on Sunday for Houston was former Quake Kei Kamara, who recorded the first two assists of his MLS career. The striker that once led San Jose in goals will make his first return to Buck Shaw stadium since being traded.

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Toronto look to cause Houston problems

Posted on 06 June 2008 by Scott Ferguson

Toronto FC will take on Houston Dynamo at Robertson Stadium on Sunday night, hoping to keep up an unbeaten record against Dominic Kinnear’s men.

Before TFC brought Major League Soccer north of the border, the Dynamo were the team of choice for many Canadian soccer fans.

National team members Dwayne De Rosario, Pat Onstad and Adrian Serioux were all part of the club’s 2006 MLS Cup-winning squad, with DeRo and Onstad still on Houston’s 2008 roster. Both were a part of Frank Yallop’s San Jose Earthquakes squad prior to their relocation to the Lone Star state.

Jim Brennan and Toronto goalkeeper Greg Sutton will bring insider knowledge of their national teammates to the Robertson Stadium showdown. Brennan will be familiar with De Rosario from Canada duty, while Sutton has emerged as Onstad’s heir-apparent between the posts for the CMNT.

The Houston contingent both played in Canada’s narrow 3-2 defeat to Brazil in Seattle last week before joining up with the Dynamo for Wednesday’s trip to D.C., a match that was ultimately postponed due to heavy rain. After last week’s home win over Los Angeles Galaxy, Toronto’s Canadian duo joined up with the national squad for the midweek clash with Panama in Florida.

International duty has affected Toronto’s roster in recent weeks, with John Carver’s men looking to welcome back defenders Tyrone Marshall and Marco Vélez, the Puerto Rico captain who received a late red card in his side’s 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Amado Guevara’s Honduras.

French winger Laurent Robert was suspended for last week’s game against LA and is likely to take up a starting role against Houston. Robert will resume the wing-swapping with midfielder Rohan Ricketts that has been a trademark of the club’s play so far this season.

For the Dynamo, defender Eddie Robinson is suspended for Sunday’s encounter. Ricardo Clark, returning from international duty of his own with the United States, was one of the stars of last week’s 1-0 home win over Red Bull New York.

“I think our young guys really worked hard… the average age of our midfield was something like 23,” Kinnear told the club’s website after the match. You had Corey (Ashe), Geoff (Cameron), Stuart (Holden) and then Rico (Clark) was the elder statesmen of the group at 25. Just the effort we got from them tonight was great.”

There have been a number of changes at BMO Field since last year, but one thing Toronto will look to carry over is their form against the Dynamo. 2007 saw TFC steal four points against the Men in Orange, recording a 1-0 home win (their first ever league shutout) and a 0-0 draw at Robertson.

While results across the league on Friday and Saturday would have to go their way, Toronto could conceivably finish the weekend atop the Eastern Conference. TFC’s fans won’t be booking their playoff tickets just yet, but the situation in the East represents a far cry from last year’s injury-racked start to life in Major League Soccer, where the Reds finished dead last in the league standings.

Match time: Sunday, June 8th, 8:30 PM

TV: RSN, DK, MLSLIVE.tv, The Score (delayed 9:30 pm).

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Cunningham grabs brace in friendly win

Posted on 10 March 2008 by Scott Ferguson

Cunningham was the man in TexasToronto FC closed out the Texas Pro Soccer Festival with a win on Sunday night, beating Chivas USA 3-2 in Cibolo, Texas.

Shortly after Houston Dynamo won the preseason tournament, albeit on goals scored, after a 1-1 draw with DC United at Steele Stadium, TFC and Chivas took to the field to battle for third place. Both sides had lost their opening two games, by one-goal margins in Toronto’s case, and neither were keen on going home empty handed.

Jeff Cunningham opened the scoring in the 9th minute, beating Chivas goalkeeper Lance Parker on a breakaway. Triallist Kiki Musampa turned the ball into his own net on an Ante Razov corner a quarter of an hour later to level the scores, and it was Razov himself who scored a curling free kick past Greg Sutton to take the lead for his side just minutes later.

Determined to go into the half on level terms, Danny Dichio scored his first goal of preseason on the half-hour mark after being played in by Jim Brennan. His side were handed a lifeline in the 63rd minute when Chivas were penalized for a handball in the box. Cunningham stepped up to dispatch the resulting penalty into the goal.

In claiming the game-winner in such a manner, the club matched their penalty total from the whole of last season, a solitary Collin Samuel strike in Salt Lake on July 4th, and have been productive offensively already this preseason despite the addition of any big names.

Three goals in the seven-goal thriller against Houston was followed by an attacking, if unsuccessful, approach against defending Supporters Shield winners D.C. United in a 1-0 defeat, and John Carver may have found the right balance in the third game of the Texas Pro Soccer Festival.

Next up is the Carolina Challenge Cup, where Toronto managed a runners-up finish last season behind Houston, who will not be participating this season due to their involvement with another CCC, the CONCACAF Champions Cup. San Jose Earthquakes, the club whose squad were relocated to Houston two years ago, are back in the league with new personnel (including a few former Earthquakes) and will join holdovers TFC and Red Bull New York along with the host Charleston Battery.

The preseason tournament, which is quickly becoming a regular curtain-raiser for TFC, will kick off in South Carolina on March 15th. Don’t expect any of the three visiting teams to take the competition lightly; each previous winner of the CCC, now in its fifth year, has gone on to win either the Supporters Shield or the MLS Cup that season.

Scoring summary:

TFC – Cunningham 1 ‘9, Dichio 1 (Brennan 1) ’30, Cunningham 2 (PK) ’63

CHV – Kiki Musampa own goal 1 (Ante Razov 1) ’23, Ante Razov 1 ’27

Lineups and further information will be posted as it comes in.

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Triallists run rampant in Houston loss

Posted on 07 March 2008 by Scott Ferguson

With a number of guest internationals making up the Toronto FC roster in MLS pre-season, head coach John Carver was given lots to think about ahead of the squad registration deadline. In the club’s first match of the Texas Pro Soccer Bowl, attacking football was the theme of the day as Houston Dynamo defeated TFC 4-3 on March 5th in Cibolo, Texas.

Chris Wondolowski’s headed goal had given the Men in Orange an early lead at Steele Stadium. Also in the first half, Jim Brennan crossed for triallist Kiki Musampa to send his own thumping header past Canadian keeper Pat Onstad in the Dynamo net. Houston went on to romp to a 4-1 lead on two first half goals from Brian Ching and an Erik Ustruck strike after an interval rife with substitutions.

TFC managed to make a game of it with 2 late goals, as former Newcastle midfielder Martin Brittain converted a penalty after a foul by Dynamo forward Wondolowski and fellow triallist Tony Vairelles bagged a goal with eight minutes left. Despite the late fightback, Dominic Kinnear’s men — who also beat their Canadian opponents last year in their first game of the 2007 Carolina Challenge Cup — held on for another pre-season victory, this time in the first edition of the Pro Soccer Festival on home-state soil.

Brittain and one time-Manchester City midfielder Musampa fit the mould of British-based attacking players that TFC Director of Football Mo Johnston has sought in the past, but Vairelles represents a departure from such a recruitment strategy. The 34-year-old, who played for France in the 1996 Olympics, has spent his club career in his home country and Belgium, where he scored 18 goals in 57 games during two different spells at SC Bastia on the French island of Corsica.

All three of the visiting players have helped their chances of earning a permanent contract in Toronto, with salary cap space available since the departure of Ronnie O’Brien to San Jose. Canadian under-23 international Tyler Rosenlund looks set to join the side, pending league approval, and will join compatriot Kevin Harmse at BMO Field; the midfield hardman having joined from Los Angeles Galaxy last week.

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