Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sam Houston Bearkats picked to win Southland Conference

Photo by Kirstin Kelly,
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (July 20, 2017) Sam Houston State University received 20 first place votes and the top spot in the pre-season football poll, as reveled at the 2017 Southland Conference Football Media Day. The Bearkats, who were 12-1 in 2016, return 13 starters and 55 lettermen and are picked to win the conference. They received 200 points in the poll, 23 points ahead of second place Central Arkansas . McNeese State is picked thrird, with 163 points, followed by Southeastern Louisiana (4th, 136 points), Nicholls (5th, 133 points) and Stephen F. Austin (6th, 114 points).

The Lamar Cardinals palced seventh (68 points), followed by Abilene Christian (8th, 66 points), Houston Baptist (9th, 56 points), Northwestern State (10th, 49 points) and University of the Incarnate Word (11th, 48 points).  The Southland Conference kicks off the 2017 schedule on Sunday, August 27, 2017 with the Bearkats hosting Richmond. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Jamaica, El Salvador battle to one-all draw; both advance to knockout stage of Gold Cup

Nelson Bonilla (#9) reacts to scoring the first goal for
El Salvador in thier win over Jamaica in the 2017 Gold Cup.
Photo by Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS (July 16, 2017)  Jamaica and El Salvador battled to a one-all draw in the final game for both teams in Group C action of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas on Sunday, July 16, 2017. The Reggae Boyz finish the group stage of the tournament in second place with a 1-0-2 record (5 points). Los Cuscatlecos finished with four points and a 1-1-1 record. Both teams will advance to the knockout stage of the tournament, with El Salvador having the best record of third place teams.

El Salvador found pay dirt in the 15th minute with a solid shot from forward Nelson Bonilla. It was his second goal of the tournament, having scored in the 10th minute in La Selecta's 3-1 loss to Mexico on July 9. As a result of his score and play, he was selected the Man of the Match.

Jamaica had a chance to even the score in the 45th minute when midfielder Ewan Grandison came rushing down the right side and drilled a shot from the edge of the penalty area, which was deflected by goalkeeper Derby Carillo. After one minute of added time, both teams headed to the locker room at half time with El Salvador leading 1-0. The Reggae Boyz finally did even the score in the 64th minute when they were awarded a penalty kick. Forward Darren Mattocks nailed the shot to tie the score. With the score, Mattocks, who plays professionally for the Portland Timbers, became Jamaica's all-time top score in the Gold Cup. He made his debut in Jamaica's 2-0 win over El Salvador on August 15, 2012.

Two yellow cards were issued in the match; the first to Jamaica's Romario Williams in the 47th minute and the second to El Salvador's Narciso Orellana in the 63rd minute. The Reggae Boys pushed their overall Gold Cup record to 14 wins, 17 loses, and seven draws. La Selecta overall record is eight wins, 16 loses, and seven draws. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Charuk Captaining Team Canada

Former Cougar serving as Captain for Canadian Indoor National Team

HOUSTON -- Former University of Houston Volleyball middle blocker Lucy Charuk is serving as Captain for the Canadian Women’s Indoor Volleyball National Team at the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix.

“We couldn’t be prouder of Lucy and her opportunity to serve as Captain on the Canadian National Team,” Head Coach Kaddie Platt said. “She was a tremendous player for this program, and her success has continued both on the professional and international level.”

Charuk, a four-year letterwinner for the Cougars (2007-08, 10-11), was a three-time Conference USA First-Team All-Conference and three-time AVCA Midwest All-Region selection. She garnered AVCA All-America Honorable Mention honors in 2008 and 2010 before picking up Houston’s first All-America laurel since 1994 with a Third-Team selection as a redshirt senior in 2011.

A force at the net, the native of Tswwassen, British Columbia, is still the program career record holder for hitting percentage (.361). Charuk also ranks second all-time in career total blocks (526) and block assists (440), third in blocks per match (1.24), fifth in solo blocks (86) and eighth in kills (1,250).

She is also the single-season record holder for hitting percentage (.387, 2011) and block assists (140, 2008).

Charuk has been competing for Team Canada since 2014 and served as Captain since 2016.

Canada returns to competition July 15-16 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, before retuning to the maple leaf country for matches July 22-23.

HBU Places 5 on Preseason All-SLC Football Teams

Dolan named first team; Chadwick, Guzman, Moncure, Broussard make second team.

HOUSTON, TEXAS (July 13, 2017) Senior linebacker Garrett Dolan was an automatic first-team selection, while senior linebacker Cody Moncure, senior cornerback Derek Broussard, senior punter Christian Guzman and junior kicker Alec Chadwick were second-team honorees on the Preseason All-Southland Conference Football Teams released by the league office Thursday.

Dolan became the first Associated Press and STATS All-America selection in HBU history last season and was also a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, which honors the FCS Defensive Player of the Year. The Mont Belvieu, Texas, native was an All-SLC first-team pick, his third-straight selection, after leading the league and ranking second in the FCS with 12.3 tackles per game. Dolan recorded 135 tackles (47 solo), 15.5 for losses, two sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, three quarterback hurries and three pass breakups. He tied his own school record with 18 tackles and recovered in the 2016 season-opener at Central Arkansas on Sept. 1 and had 17 tackles in the Huskies’ overtime victory over Abilene Christian on Sept. 17. Dolan made seven tackles and a sack for a 15-yard loss, which resulted in a fumble returned for a touchdown in a win over Texas Southern on Sept. 10 and had 14 tackles and forced a fumble, which set up HBU’s first touchdown in a victory at Lamar on Oct. 29.

Chadwick was also an automatic selection after being named to the All-SLC second team in 2016. The Valencia, California, native made the longest field goal in NCAA Division I play season with a 60-yarder at Incarnate Word and also added a 43-yard field goal in the Nov. 17 contest. For the season, Chadwick made 16-of-25 field goals, including 2-of-3 from 50-plus yards, and went 21-for-21 on extra points. He went 3-for-3, including a 46-yarder, against second-ranked Sam Houston State on Sept. 24, also made three field goals against Nicholls on Oct. 15 and drilled a 52-yard field goal at UTEP on Nov. 5

Broussard earned All-SLC honorable mention last season, playing in all 11 games and ranking sixth on the team with 45 tackles, one interception, one forced fumble and a team-leading nine pass breakups. The Beaumont, Texas, native tied for sixth in the league with 10 passes defended and made a season-high eight tackles, broke up two passes and forced a fumble in the Huskies’ win over Abilene Christian on Sept. 17, 2016. Broussard made his interception in the season finale at Incarnate Word and had a 20-yard return. He was also named to the Southland Conference Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll.

Guzman has been selected to the All-SLC teams twice, earning honorable mention last season and second-team honors as a freshman. The Brookshire, Texas, native enters the season with the third-longest yards per punt average in conference history at 42.9 yards. Last season, Guzman punted 80 times for a 41.6-yard average, ranking third in the league. He also had 11 punts of 50-plus yards, 22 inside the 20 and 21 fair catches and recorded a season-long 59-yard punt against second-ranked Sam Houston State on Sept. 24.

Moncure earned All-SLC honorable mention last season, ranking second on the team behind Dolan with 73 tackles (32 solo), eight for losses, 2.5 sacks and two quarterback hurries. The Richmond, Texas, native recorded a season-high 12 tackles in the Huskies’ 31-24 victory over Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 12 and made 11 stops against Southeastern Louisiana on Oct. 22 and again in the season finale at Incarnate Word on Nov. 17.

The Huskies begin fall practice on Wednesday, Aug. 2 in preparation for the season opener at Texas State Sept. 2 in San Marcos.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Canada & Costa Rica battle to one-all draw in CONCACAF Gold Cup Group A action

Alphonso Davies (12) scores the first goal of the match for Canada.
Photo by Darla S Tamulitis, Las Vita Loca Photography,
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (July 11, 2017) Canada and Costa Rica battled to a one-all draw at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston in the second match for both teams in Group A action of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Canada struck first in the 26th minute when midfielder Alphonso Davies drilled the ball past Costa Rica goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton to put The Canucks up 1-0. The Ticos came back and scored the equalizer in the 42nd minute when defender Francisco Calvo headed a shot into the net off a corner kick.

Canada won the Gold Cup title in 2000 in 12 appearances, dating back to 1991. When The Canucks beat French Guiana 4-0 on Friday, July 7, 2017, it was the first match they had won in their previous eight Gold Cup games. Prior to that, they last tasted victory on June 11, 2011 as Dwayne DeRosario netted the lone goal from the penalty spot in a 1-0 win over Guadeloupe. The next opponent for Canada will be Honduras. They will face their final Group A opponent on Friday, July 14 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

Costa Rica downed Honduras 1-0 on July 7 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. Their best finish in previous Gold Cups was runner-up in the 2002 final against the United States at the Rose Bowl. Their overall record is 16 wins, 15 draws, and 19 loses in Gold Cup action prior to 2017.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Houston Dash settle for draw against Portland Thorns

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (July 8, 2017) On Saturday, July 8, 2017, the Houston Dash led for the majority of the match, but had to settle for a one-all draw as the Portland Thorns scored in added time in the second half. The match, which began after a 90-plus minute weather delay at BBVA Compass Stadium pushed the Dash record to 4-7-2 (14 points) with the Thornes posting a 5-4-4 (19 points) record. 

It did not take long for the Dash to get on the scoreboard, when midfielder Janine Beckie took an open shot from the center of the box. She drilled the ball past Portland goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, off the cross from forward Rachel Daly. The goal was the first of the season for Beckie, who played her college ball for the Texas Tech Red Raiders. The assist was also the first of the season for Daly, who was the first England player selected in the NWSL college draft (in 2016).

Portland came back after halftime, playing a more offense game, trying to cut the one-goal deficit. They scored the equalizer in added time of the second half with midfielder Lindsey Horn nailed a free kick into the top 
Carli Lloyd was issued a red card
in added time of the second half.

Photo by Darla Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved
corner from 25 yards. Forward Carli Lloyd, who was serving as the Dash captain, was issued a red card for aggressive foul on Mallory Weber. When the Dash play the Washington Spirit on Saturday, July 15, they will be without the services of Lloyd as a result of the red card.

The Dash and Thorns will face each other twice more in 2017. Their next match-up will be on Saturday, August 5 and Saturday August 19, with both games occurring at Providence Park in Portland.

Canada, Costa Rica begin CONCACAF Gold Cup with first-day wins

Mexico will try to win their seventh Gold Cup in 2017
Photo by Darla Tamulitis, La Vita Loca
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (July 9, 2017) The 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup kicked off on Friday, July 7, 2017 with two games at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. Canada downed French Guiana 4-2 and Costa Rica beat Honduras 1-0 in Group A action. Next up in Group A, with July 11 matchups, finds Costa Rica facing Canada and Honduras playing French Guiana.

Group B action saw the United States and Panama battle to a one-all draw, while Martinique downed Nicaragua 2-0 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee on Saturday, July 8, 2017. All four teams will play on July 12 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Group C kicks off on Sunday, July 9 with Curacao and Jamaica playing the first game at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. That will be followed by Mexico taking on El Salvador. Each team will play three matches in the group stages, with the top two teams in each group advancing to the knockoff stage. The best two third-place teams in group play will also advance to the knockout round.

The CONCACAF Gold Cup began in 1991 with the United States winning the first of their five titles (1991, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2013). Mexico took the title in 1993, 1996, 1998, 2003, 2011 and 2015. Canada is the only other country to win the title, in 2000.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Houston Dynamo to face Montreal Impact on Wednesday, July 5

Photo by Darla Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved
HOUSTON, TEXAS (July 4, 2017) The Houston Dynamo will return home on Wednesday, July 5, 2017 to host the Montreal Impact on their annual "Honoring Our Heroes" night at BBVA Compass Stadium, with the Dynamo celebrating the men and women in uniform who serve our community at home and abroad.

The evening after Independence Day will see the Dynamo recognize police, fire fighters and first responders within the Houston community along with active duty military members and military veterans. NASA will also be honored.  Men and women in uniform will be featured in on-field activities and around the stadium before and during the game.

At halftime, they will honor Dynamo legend Brad Davis who is the team's all-time leader in games played, games started, minutes and assists. He officially retired as a member of the Dynamo in February. After the game, the Fourth of July week will be capped off with post-game fireworks.

Dynamo FW Erick Torres called up to Mexican National Team for CONCACAF Gold Cup

Photo by Darla Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (July 4, 2017) Houston Dynamo forward Erick Torres (No. 9, shown right) has been added to Mexican National Team roster for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup. He was called up for international play after Alan Pulido injured his shoulder playing in an international friendly match against Paraguay this past Saturday (July 1).

Torres will join "El Tri" following the Dynamo's game against the Montreal Impact on Wednesday night, July 5, at BBVA Compass Stadium at 7:30 p.m. CDT. He is the fourth Dynamo player to be called in by their respective national teams for the Gold Cup. The trio of midfielder Boniek García and forwards Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto have been called up by Honduras for the duration of the tournament.

Torres has represented Mexico in multiple international tournaments at the youth level, yet the Gold Cup will be the 24-year-old’s first tournament at the senior international level. Torres has played at the senior level in four friendly matches and scored one goal, which came on October 12, 2014 when he scored the game-winning goal in a friendly match against Panama. 

Sunday, July 02, 2017

District 22-6A softball players named to TSWA All-State Team

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved

DEER PARK-PASADENA, TEXAS (July 2, 2017) Ten players from three District 22-6A schools were named to the Texas Sports Writers Association (TSWA) All-State Softball Team for 2017. Voting was conducted by TSWA members based on nominations from coaches and media members from around the state. Deer Park High School had six players named to the elite squad, with Pasadena Memorial High School placing three on the team, while Pasadena's J. Frank Dobie High School had one.

Of the ten players from District 22-6A, the Deer had one player on the first-team roster, two on both the second- and third-teams, and one player named honorable mention. Pasadena Memorial's three selections and Dobie's single selection were named honorable mention. Listed below are the 22-6A selections.

Deer Park High School
McKayla Chamberlain-outfielder, first team
Maddie Nelson-pitcher, second team
Sara Vanderford-second base, secong team
Erin Edmoundson-pitcher, third team
Maleah Olvera-outfielder, third team
Ash Wade-catcher, honorable mention

Pasadena Memorial High School
Hannah Garcia, pitcher, honorable mention
Victoria Garivey, third base, honorable mention
Savana Mata, DP/utility, honorable mention

Pasadena Dobie High School
Yvonne Whaley, outfielder, honorable mention

Chestnut, Stonie to meet in 2017 Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest

Stonie (left) and Chestnut faced off in 2016 at the
Niko Niko's  World Gyro Eating Chontest in Houston.
Photo by Darla Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography,
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK (July 2, 2017) At precisely 12 noon EDT, a Fourth of July tradition that goes back over 100 years will occur at the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Brooklyn, New York. Hot dog, and competitive eating fans) will gather at the historic landmark for the annual Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. The competition will pit two of the greatest eaters in history, Joey "Jaws" Chestnut and Matt "Megatoad" Stonie, against each other in their quest for the coveted Mustard Belt.

Chestnut has won 10 of the past 11 contests, establishing a new world record of 70 hot dogs consumed in 2016. Stonie took the title in 2015, consuming 62 hot dogs in the 10 minute conetst. In the female division, three-time champion Miko Sudo will look to retain the pink Pepto Belt. Other contestants include Badlands Booker, winner of the Charlotte, North Carolina qualifier with 24 dogs, Erik "The Red" Denmark (St Louis, MO qualifier, 28 dogs), and Geoffrey Esper (Boston, MA qualifier, 51 dogs). Fans can view the contest on ESPN and WatchESPN at 12 noon EDT on July 4.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

TSWA announces Class 6A All-State Softball Team

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved

LONGVIEW, TEXAS (July 1, 2017) The Texas Sports Writers Association (TSWA) has announced their Class 6A All-State Softball Team for the 2017 season. Voting was conducted by TSWA members based on nominations from coaches and media members from around the state. Teams selectced include first team, second team, third team, and honorable mention.

Coach of the Year: Bryan Poehler, Keller
Player of the Year: Kasey Simpson, Keller

Pitchers: Dylann Kaderka, Keller; Makinzy Herzog, Fort Bend Ridge Point; Brooke Vestal, New Braunfels Canyon
Catcher: Bethany Edwards, Belton
First base: Isabella Dayton, Wylie
Second base: Camryn Woodall, Keller
Third base: Trinity Cannon, Rockwall-Heath
Shortstop: Kasey Simpson, Keller
Outfield: Amanda Desario, Keller; Rehin Trochim, Waco Midway; McKayla Chamberlain, Deer Park

Pitchers: Clarissa Hernandez, Northside Brennan; Alexandra McLennan, Austin Bowie; Maddie Nelson, Deer Park
Catcher: Kelcy leach, The Woodlands
First base: Morgan Smith, Brazoswood
Second base: Sara Vanderford, Deer Park
Third base: Caitlyn Curlee, Keller Timber Creek
Shortstop: Aralee Bogar, Byron Nelson
Outfield: Alayis Seneca, The Woodlands; Payton Jackson, Ford Bend Ridge Point; Kaylee Buck, Pearland
DP/Utility: Marisa Arriaga, Cedar Hill

Pitchers: Erin Edmoundson, Deer Park; Madison Lindsey, Humble Kingwood; Rachel Hertenberger, Alvin
Catcher: Kayla Keeling, Houston Memorial
First base: Sierra Schottler, Northside Brennan
Second base: Nikki Gil, Austin Bowie
Third base: Madi Traver, Coppell
Shortstop: Mady Lohman, Timber Creek
Outfield: Maleah Olvera, Deer Park; Avery Drake, Belton; Hanna Jones, Keller
DP/Utility: Olivia Lantigua, San Marcos

Pitchers: Emily Langkamp, The Woodlands; Jaqueline Longoria, Edinburg North; Christa Radke, Lufkin; Kennedy Cameron, Longview; Adrianna Chavarria, Pearland; Cami Duffey, Rockwall-Heath; Madison Cotton, Belton; Saleen Donohoe, Duncanville; Taylor Tubbs, Belton; Hannah Garcia, Pasadena Memorial; Marisa Cruz, San Angelo Central
Catchers: Ash Wade, Deer Park; Anna Vest, Brazoswood; Hannah Thompson, Dickinson; Kerris Cameron, Longview; Alexis Perry, Wylie; Hannah Scheaffer, Cypress Fairbanks; Sophie Wideman, Waco Midway; Kindell Brooks, San Antonio MacArthur; Caitlin Garcia, Spring; Hope Rodriguez, Edinburg North.
First base: Emily Clark, Rockwall-Heath; Caleigh Robinson, Belton; Ashley Reyna, Harlingen South; Tanjala Smith, Killeen.
Second base: Jordan Stange, Rockwall-Heath; Mackenzie Bartlett, Belton; Katelyn Belch, Wylie; Judy Alvarez, McAllen.
Third base: Kayla Sanchez, Northside Brennan; Meagan Ramos, Austin Bowie; Natalie Rodriguez, Edinburg North; Madison Bartlett, Belton; Victoria Garivey, Pasadena Memorial
Shortstop: Baylee Klingler, Dickinson; Madison Legget, Rockwall-Heath; Leah Akridge, Lufkin; Clarissa Barron, Alvin; Abby Odneal, Ridge Point; Amanda Roth, Hebron; Juliana Brown, Austin Westlake
Outfield: Madison Ward, Belton; Brooke Goynes, Longview; Alexandra Torres, Northside Brennan; Casey Akers, Timber Creek; Sheridan Fisher, Cypress Fairbanks; Ashley McClellan, Midland; Madie Green, Timber Creek; Yvonne Whaley, Pasadena Dobie; Bethany Busch, Baytown Sterling; Lauren Kuhrt, Kingwood; Jackie Ramos, Austin Bowie; Aziah James, Spring; Sami Thomas, Coppell; Caraline Woodall, Keller; Karlee Canada, Cypress Ranch; Sarah Polanco, El Paso Montwood.
DP/Utility: Savana Mata, Pasadena Memorial; Arsen Franco, Irving Nimitz; Miranda Davila, Belton; Ciara Bosquez, San Marcos.

Houston Cougar DT Ed Oliver Named Sporting News Preseason All-American

Defensive tackle was named to seven First Team All-America teams in 2016.

HOUSTON, TEXAS (July 1, 2107) Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver has been named to The Sporting News Preseason All-America First Team, the publication announced Friday.

The preseason honor is Oliver’s second after being named to Athlon’s Preseason All-America First Team on June 20.

A First Team All-American on seven teams as a true freshman last year, Oliver leads all returning defensive linemen nationally with 23 tackles for loss. He finished second nationally among all positions in tackle for loss last season while leading all defensive linemen nationally with nine pass breakups. The number also led all non-defensive backs in The American and was sixth in the league regardless of position.

The American’s Rookie of the Year, Oliver was also named Scout’s Freshman of the Year and the winner of the 2016 Bill Willis Award, presented annually to the nation’s top defensive lineman by the Touchdown Club of Columbus.

Playing out of the tackle spot on a three-man line, he was second nationally among all defensive linemen with 47 solo tackles and 13th among all defensive linemen nationally with 66 total tackles.

Oliver’s 66 tackles were second among all freshmen in The American, regardless of position, and led all freshmen defensive linemen nationally. His five sacks led all freshmen in The American. Oliver also led Houston and finished second in The American with three forced fumbles, a number that ranked second nationally among freshmen.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Houston Dash & Boston Breakers battle to scoreless draw

By Jennifer Edwards
Special Correspondent for TexSport Publications
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved 

HOUSTON, TEXAS (June 28, 2017) In National Women’s Soccer League action, the Houston Dash hosted the Boston Breakers at BBVA Compass Stadium on Wednesday, June 29, 2017. The Dash were 3-0-0 overall against the Breakers prior to the start of the game. The match marked the third game that Kealia Ohai has missed in her career with the Houston Dash. Ohai was injured in last week’s match against the Orlando Pride. It was later stated that she will miss the remainder of the season with an grade 3 ACL sprain and a medial meniscal tear of the left knee. Many are wondering how this injury to one of the Dash’s key players will affect the outcome of the remainder of the season. In good news on the injury front, Bruna Benites was listed as a probable coming off a grade 2 MCL sprain to her left knee. The Breakers are also feeling their fair share of loss in the college draft standout Rose Lavelle, who is nursing a strained hamstring injury that occurred during her last appearance with the Women’s National Friendly game.

            In the opening minutes of the match Rachel Daly and Megan Oyster collide while simultaneously attempting to head the ball. As the sprinkles of a summer rain shower descend on BBVA Compass Stadium a penalty is assessed on the the Dash and that hasn’t slowed the momentum of the Breakers offense. Rachel Daly continues her all out and physicality playing style that she is known for. In the 20th minute Daly’s teammate Andressinha passed the ball to Carly Lloyd who kicked the ball wide of the goal. Lloyd followed the first attempt up with a second that sailed over the top goalpost.

A yellow card was issued to Boston Breakers’ Morgan Andrews for tripping Rachel Daly. The penalty kick failed to make it’s mark and was saved by the Breakers’ goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme. After 26 minutes of play both teams have failed to make it on the board, but are showing the NWSL that they are very equally matched with the amount of back and forth going on. Penalties are reigning supreme tonight being pretty equally spread between both teams. In the 28th minute the Dash’s keeper, Jane Campbell, made a spectacular save, on a free kick by the Breakers.  Shortly after Camille Leven is tripped up and a penalty kick was assessed and taken by Carly Lloyd. Unfortunately it did not make it’s intended target.

The Breakers have an answer for every Dash play that they tried to execute within the first half of play as well as most of the second half. Poliana, the NWSL Player of the Week, contributed in a strong, quiet fashion that she is known for. She drove the ball toward the net and Prudhomme answered with a great save.  Her Brazilian national and club teammate, Andressinha had several shots and assists on potential goals that went wide of the net. They teamed up again when a yellow card was assessed against former teammate Allysha Chapman. Andressinha took the kick and Poliana headed it over the net.

The second half brings a calmer Breakers team while the Dash kept chipping away at their defense a bit more sluggishly than the first half, they were just not finding those good scoring opportunities. While there were a few opportunities on the Dash side, they were unable to put the ball in the net. Late minute substitutions for a tiring Dash proved to be not enough to get the ball in the back of the net. With three additional minutes of stoppage time, the score ended 0-0. The Dash will take on the Portland Thorns next Saturday at BBVA Compass Stadium.



Mexico downs Ghana 1-0 in international friendly at NRG Stadium

Ghana DF Jonathan Mensah (4) and Mexico MF Erick Hernandez (8)
battle for the ball at NRG Stadium.
Photo by Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (June 28, 2017) Mexico capitalized on a mistake by Ghana and with a single penality kick, downed Ghana by the score of 1-0 in an international friendly match at Houston's NRG Stadium on Wednesday, June 29, 2017.

Ghana came out quickly; penetrating the Mexican defense in the first minute. Forward Majeed Waris got the ball inside the box and attempted to drive it past goalkeeper Moises Munez. Mexico picked up on the shot and deflected it away from the goal. Play continued for the next 20 minutes at a fever pitch until Munoz suffers an inadvertent blow; which sent him to the grass. After he was checked out by medical personal, the game resumed.

El Tri found the back of the net in the 32nd minute to get on the scoreboard. The Black Stars was penalized and Mexico midfielder Elias Hernandez drew blood on the penalty kick. When both teams headed to the locker room after 45 minutes, Mexico retained their 1-0 lead over Ghana.

Ghana got close to equalizing the score in the 56th minute when midfielder Frank Axheamppong made light work of three Mexican defenders, but Munez grabs and covers the cross to deny the goal

In two previous meeting, Mexico has come out on top; winning their last meeting by the score of 2-0 on March 26, 2008 at Craven Cottage in Fulham, London. On March 1, 2006, they met in their first-ever meeting, with Mexico coming out on top 1-0.

Houston Dynamo drop 2-0 decision to Kansas City in U.S.Open Cup

Photo by Robert Kelly
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved
By Jennifer Edwards
Special Correspondent for TexSport Publications
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (June 28, 2017) The Houston Dynamo hosted Sporting Kansas City in the Round of 16 of the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at BBVA Compass Stadium on Wednesday, June 28, 2017. The game was the first of a double header for Houston soccer fans to enjoy.  The second match had the Houston Dash hosting the visiting Boston Breakers.

The first 20 minutes of the match was dominated by the Dynamo; who were unable to capitalize on their numerous chances to score. A yellow card was issued to the Houston’s Eric Bird in the 23th minute. The Dynamo’s offense continued to beat against Kansas City and the Kansas City goalkeeper, Tim Melia, who made some heroic saves to keep the score at 0-0 leading into halftime. Sporting Kansas City defense showed their might while fending off three missed goal attempts from Brazilian midfielder Alex,  A yellow card was issued in 62 minute to Memo Rodriguez for tripping. In a weird turn of events, the card was issued and play was resumed unbeknownst to Ellis who was talking to coach with his back to the play.. According to the referee, talking to your coach while a play is happening is within the rules, but that one play changed the momentum of the game. Wilmer Cabrera stated that the play, “Changed the momentum of the game.” during his post game press conference. A verbal warning was also issued to Dynamo coach, Wilmer Cabrera, by the on-pitch referee for extending too far out of the designated coaching area while arguing the play. 

Following this play, the Dynamo substituted in Ruben Luna for Alex, who the crowd cheered loudly for in their appreciation of his service to his team. As an elder member of the squad, Cabrera stated he made the substitution to allow the younger players time and exposure to the opponent. He also stated that the Dynamo knew that Sporting KC was bringing their first team minus their national team callups. The Dynamo understood that placing the younger players on the pitch gave them great exposure but the objective was clear, the Dynamo wanted to win against a team that is very strong and have been playing for a few seasons.  

After several Dynamo substitutions, the offense could not find the footing they displayed in the first half of the game. The second half was clearly dominated by Sporting Kansas City’s offense. The second and final goal was scored by Fernandez in the 90th minute of play solidified the win by the visiting team. After traditional handshakes post game, the Man of the Match was Memo Rodriguez.

After the game Cabrera stated that the Dynamo understood that Sporting Kansas City put it’s first team on the pitch against very young and promising Dynamo players. The loss marks the end of the road for the Dynamo in their quest for the Lamar Hunt Cup. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Mexico to face Ghana in international soccer friendly at NRG Stadium

Mexico last appeared in Houston  during the 

2016 Copa America tournament.
Photo by Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (June 25, 2017) Soccer fans from Houston and the Gulf Coast area will be headed to NRG Stadium on Wednesday, June 28, 2017 to witness No. 17 Mexico take on No. 49 Ghana in an international friendly match. Pre-game ceremonies and activities are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CDT with kickoff slated for 8:06 p.m. CDT.

The match will be the final game for “El Tricolor” prior to their participation in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the official national team competition in the region. Mexico has defeated Ghana in two all-time meetings (2006 and 2008). The 2006 game, played at FC Dallas’ Toyota Stadium, saw Guillermo Franco score the game’s only goal with a 75th minute header. Mexican National Team legend Pável Pardo was the hero of the 2008 game, scoring the winning goal,  a penalty,in the 85th minute to give Mexico a 2-1 win, in a match played in England.

In the first match of their 2017 tour, Mexico defetaed Iceland 1-0 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas on February 8. They followed that with 2-1 loss to Croatia at the LA Memorial Coliseum on May 27. After the loss to Croatia, they rebounded with a 3-1 over Ireland at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

Klingler leads USA Softball JWNT to two exhibition wins in Massachusetts

Photo courtsey of Codi Warren, USA Softball
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

CONCORD, MASSACHUSETTS (June 24, 2017) Dickinson High School's Baylee Klingler connected for a three-run blast in the sixth inning to lead the USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team (JWNT) to an 11-1 win over the Massachusetts/Northeast Region All-Stars in game one of two-game exhibition series in Concord, Massechusetts. The 5-9 senior, who plays both infield and catcher, picked up three RBI in the six inning win that was played on Saturday, June 24, 2017. In the second game, she was 3-for-4 with two RBI in the 9-1 USA win.

In game one, the USA scored in the first inning with the All-Stars scoring the equalizer in the bottom of the third inning. The JWNT resonded with three runs in the fourth inning to take the score to 4-1. That scored reamined until the sixth inning when the American's tallied seven insurance runs to close out game one.

The second game of the exhibition double-header saw the United States conenct for 12 hit to generate theie 9-1 victory, scoring in four-of-six innings. Klinger picked up another RBI with a single in the first inning. She added another RBI in the third for secure the win for the Americans. USA head coach Laura Berg was quoted after the game.

“I see lots of speed and a lot of power on this team. I think we’re doing a really good job in the circle and I’m excited to see how the pitcher’s fare during the World Cup against the older international teams.  We’re doing what we need to at the plate, making adjustments, hitting behind the runners and getting the big hits.  We’re just out there playing catch and taking care of business on the field, which is always good to see.”

The USA Softball JWNT now set their sights on their first international contest of the season during the World Cup of Softball XII in Oklahoma City, Okla.  The JWNT will compete against tough competition, facing the top four-ranked countries in the world as the team prepares for the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Junior Women’s World Championship. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Houston Dash down Orlando Pride 2-0 for third win of season

Marta and Carli Lloyd (10) faced off twice in one week in NWSL action.
Photo by Darla Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

ORLANDO CITY, FLORIDA (June 24, 2017) The Houston Dash broke their six-game losing streak in downing the Orlando Pride by the score of 2-0 at Orlando City Stadium on Saturday, June 24, 2017. The win raises their record to 3-7-0 (9 points) for eighth place in the NWSL standings. 

Orlando forward Jasmyne Spencer kicked a  cross in the fifth minute, but Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell handled it to shut down the Pride's attempt. After Orlando won back-to-back corners, Pride defender Ali Krieger's header was a near miss on the far post. Camila took a shot  in the 21st minute from the edge of the box, but Campbell was in position to handle the ball and continue to deny Orlando a goal. She tallied a safe in the 23th minute when Hill's shot was on target, but right at Campbell. The Pride continued their assault in the 29th minute with a shot off the bar, but Campbell got a hand on it to keep the game scoreless.

Both teams took a hydration break in the 30th minuet with in the 30th minute with temperatures hovering the high 80s at kickoff. Just six minutes later, Andressinha's free kick was cleared by the Pride, The rebound found Janine Beckie outside the box in the 36th minute, but her volley was off-target, The 5-8 forward, who played her ccollege ball at Texas Tech, also took a shot from outside the box, which was too high. The Dash closed out the first half with Carli Lloyd shooting from outside the right side of the box, in stoppage time. with a right-footed strike for her first goal of the NWSL season.

The Dash added an insurance goal in the 62nd minute when Poliana got the ball on the counter-attack, dribbled down field and fed the ball to an alert Rachel Daly. Daly quickly put the ball in the back of the goal to put Houston up 2-0.  With the assist, Poliana became the Das leader co-lead in assists.