For many in Sports media around the world, Deadline Day is one that is circled three times on the calendar. The reason? DRAAAAAAMA. So much drama. Helicopters being deployed all over Europe, fax machine malfunctions, Harry Redknapp, players just up and showing up at rival teams training facility hoping to force a move, and of course, the heartbreak for fans and players of dream deals falling just short.
MLS does not have this. The league is too centralized. Europe has an entire industry devoted to transfer speculation and rumor mongering that gets fans into an agitated fugue state. That industry is not as well established here in Major League Soccer. Teams tend to be pretty leaky and so there are very few transactions that come as a real surprise. There is a lot of irony on Twitter about various odd situations that demonstrate how “soccer has finally made it here”, but until we get our own Harry Redknapp getting blockaded in his car by reporters on the way home from practice, we’re still just playing dress up. Read More
Maybe Houston is a bottom of the Western Conference barrel team, maybe they’re fighting for the last spot. Not to limit a season or story that has yet to be played out. But there probably isn’t much in the way variance in how this season ends for the boys in Orange. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves just yet.
2015 in review
The first week of November 2014 saw the Houston Dynamo fully shift into a new direction as just a month prior saw their only manager in franchise history, Dominic Kinnear, leave and return to San Jose.
President Chris Canetti announced the organization's pursuit of not just a replacement for Kinnear, who was the team’s coach and organizational decision maker, but a new direction, ethos and brand. Matt Jordan was hired away from rival Montreal as the first Technical Director, General Manager and Vice President in Dynamo history.
A month later, Canetti called Owen Coyle, a veteran commander of many English Premier League relegation battles, and handed him the coaching reigns. The Englishman gladly accepted and found himself in new colors, a new country and likely a new definition of heat.
The question I’ve had since last December is whether or not Coyle is the right man for the job. Jordan was hired with a very pronounced intention to implement use of analytics into the team and organization. Coyle has a past history of grinding out results based upon quantity and volume, which isn’t necessarily a recipe for long term success. But, in fairness he hasn’t had the horses to do much else.
More on 2015 and looking ahead to 2016 after the jump. Read More
Hey U.S. fans, look on the bright side. We get an extra soccer game this fall! The USMNT will be in a one game playoff against either Mexico or Jamaica for the privilege of representing CONCACAF in the 2017 Confederations Cup. That bit of fun was brought to you by a loss of stunning proportion to Jamaica. The U.S. gave up two goals in five minutes off of set pieces in the first half and couldn’t mount a useful attack against a determined Jamaican defense. The 2-1 loss, the first to a Caribbean side on U.S. soil since 1968, will sting for a long time, especially for yours truly who was looking forward to going to the Gold Cup Final to watch the U.S. with his son. Not all stories have Hollywood endings. And certainly sports wouldn’t be sports without the heartbreak.
This game was a perfect example of why soccer statistics can sometimes lie. If you didn’t watch the game and just looked at the box score you might think that the U.S. was simply unlucky. They held 60% of the possession and completed 82% of their passes. They outshot the Jamaicans 20-10 and put 7 more shots on goal (10-3). The U.S. won the expected goal battle by a score of 2.3.-1.0, but looked up at the scoreboard at the end and saw the final score was actually reversed. Read More