Saturday, June 22, 2019

Alyssa Naeher emerges as strong leader in USA triumph over Sweden

Aylssa Naeher
Photo coutsey of Leoboudv
via Wikipedia and Flickr
By Jennifer Edwards
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

LE HAVRE, FRANCE (June 21, 2019) The United States Women’sNational Team (USWNT) took down their rival Sweden in a 2-0 victory to advance to the knockout rounds of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. This game was also the third straight shutout game for the United States.

While Sweden was the most formidable opponent that The Stars and Stripes has encountered during the tournament, the American defense had a chance to shine. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher (shown right) had gone mostly untested by previous teams. During this match, Sweden shot at Naeher seven different times and no goal was scored.

Naeher has been largely overshadowed by successes of her predecessors, Hope Solo and Briana Scurry. Solo was released by the U.S. Soccer Federation after some unsportsmanlike comments she made about the Swedish players during the Rio Olympics. While Solo was good, many critics will say that Briana Scurry was even better. Highly decorated, Scurry was the U.S. goalkeeper for the 1995, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2004 and 2007 US Women’s National Teams and is currently the first assistant coach for the Washington Spirit in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).

While living in the shadows of these great goalkeepers, Naeher has made a name for herself in the NSWL. She is the starting goalkeeper for the Chicago Red Stars and received the NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year award in 2014, as well as a “Best 11” award that year as well. Last season with the Red Stars, she played a total of 2,070 minutes and had seven clean sheets.

In 48 appearances internationally, Naeher has 27 clean sheets (shutouts). She is not flashy as Solo but is a strong consistent keeper like Scurry. The casual fan will not hear much about her because she is a strong and quiet leader of the backfield. Most fans will hear her name, but not know much about her.

She is best known for her quiet leadership. She isn’t flashy and doesn’t relish the limelight. She doesn’t push agendas; letting her play speak for itself. This is something that the USWNT has needed for quite some time. It will be interesting to see her in action on Monday, June 24, when they take on Spain at 11 a.m.

Friday, June 21, 2019

El Salvador, Jamaica battle to scoreless draw in CONCACAF Gold Cup

El Salvador midfielder Darwin Ceren (7), who
plays in the MLS for the Houston Dynamo,
moves the ball past Jamaican defender
Damion Lowe at BBVA Stadium.
Photo by Darla S Tamulitis
La Vita Loca Photography
Copyrightr 2019 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (June 21, 2019) In front of a highly partisan El Salvador crowd, No. 69 La Selectra battled No. 54 Jamaica to a scoreless draw in Group D action of the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup at BBVA Stadium in Houston. The draw gives both squad a 1-0-1 record, with four points in group standings.

The first half was evenly matched, with both squads pushing back-and-forth trying to locate a weakness in the others defense, without much success. Two events brought the El Salvador fans to their feet, in the 10th and 42nd minutes. Defender Roberto Dominguez was issued a yellow card early in the game. Just prior to the half, midfielder Darwin Ceren was also yellow carded. The first half ended with neither team able to get the ball into the goal.

The second half saw much of the same play, with four yellow cards being issued. The Reggae Boyz received three; with forwards Dever Orgill and Junior Flemmings being carded in the 48th and 60th minute, respectively. Defender Damoin Love added the third yellow card for Jamaica in the 85th minute. Defender Jonathan Jimenez received the final yellow card of the match, for El Salvador, in the 90th minute.

Previously, on June 17 at Kingston Jamaica's National Stadium, Jamaica downed Honduras 3-2 while Curacao fell to El Salvador 1-0. On Tuesday, June 25, at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Jamaica will face Curacao with Honduras facing El Salvador to close out group action.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Haiti, Costa Rica win first games in CONCACAF Gold Cup Group B action

Logo courtsey of CONCACAF
By Chris Price
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA (June 16, 2019) No. 39 Costa Rica had an easy time, but Haiti had to come from behind to win their first round matches in Group B of the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup at National Stadium of San Jose, on Sunday, June 16, 2019. In the first match, in front of a mostly emply stadium, No 174 Bermuda scored first, but No. 101 Haiti came from behind to take the first game of the double-header by the score of 2-1. In the nightcap, hometown favorite Los Ticos had little trouble dispatching No. 129 Nicaragua by the score of 4-0. The wins gave both Costa Rica and Haiti three points in group play, with all four teams meeting on Thursday, June 20 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

Defender Dante Leverock got Bermuda on the board in added time of the first half. Forward Frantzdy Perrot tallied a brace 12 minutes apart; scoring for Haiti in the 54th and 66th minute. In the second game, Costa Rica had three first half goals in their 4-0 won. Defender Bryan Oviedo sccored in the 7th minute, with midfielder Celso Brooks nailing the goal from the top of the arc, in the 19th minute. Midfielder Elias Aguilar scored from midfield off afree kick in first half added time. Midfielder Allan Cruz added an insurance goal in the 75th minute to secure the win. The match was the first meeting between Costa Rica and Nicaragua in Gold Cup play, and their 19th meeting going back to 1941. Los Ticos leads the all-time series 17-1-1.

Houston Dash, Orlando Pride battle to 2-2 draw at BBVA Stadium

Sophia Huerta (11) is congratulated by
Kealia Ohai (hugging) after Houston's first goal.
Photo by Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loco Photography
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (June 15, 2019) Two second-half goals by the Houston Dash were sandwiched between two scores by the Orlando Pride, as both teams battled to a 2-2 draw in National Women's Soccer League action at BBVA Stadium in Houston. The draw pushes the Dash record to 3-2-3, 12 points for the season, while the Pride moves to 0-7-2 (2 points).

Midfielder Joanna Boyles got the Pride on the board in the 13th minute with an early goal from 19 yards out, off a free kick. Two minutes into the second half, Kealia Ohai beat the Pride defense to the goal line and fed a perfect low cross to Sofia Huerta for her third score of the season. Twenty minutes later, Kristie Mewis drilled a left-footer shot from outside the box to give Houston a 2-1 lead. It did not last long, as Danica Evens came off the bench to score the equalizer in the 71st minute for Orlando.

Mewis stated after the game:
“I think I’ve wanted it for a long time, and I felt pretty good tonight. I just felt on and struck it pretty well. Obviously, we had a great play before that but I think we just had so many chances and we just couldn’t put enough of them away. It was really fun to get my first goal but it doesn’t mean as much as it should, I guess.”
Houston is off to the best start in club history under head coach James Clarkson with 12 points in eight games played. He discussed the result of the game with the press in the post-match presser.
“I’m really disappointed. I didn’t think we played particularly well in the first half, but in the second half we came out and took it to them. We scored two good goals, created many other chances but unfortunately, we gave out another soft goal away. I think if we look at both their goals, they’re really poor from our standpoint. You can’t fault the player’s effort. They’ve really put everything into the game, but we’ve cost ourselves two points tonight. It’s really frustrating.”

The last time Houston played Orlando was on May 5, where they went on to take a 1-0 win. Ohai scored the game winning goal in the seventh minute; her first of the season.

Houston was playing without the services of seven players who are taking part in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France. Lindsay Agnew, Allysha Chapman, Nichelle Prince, and Sophie Schmidt are representing Canada, while Rachel Daly is playing for England. In addition, Clare Polkinghorne is on the Australian roster and Kayla McCoy in playing for Jamaica.

Next up for the Dash is a Saturday, June 22 match against the Washington Spirit at Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Maryland. Houston's next home game will be on July 13, where they host the Chicago Red Stars with a 7:30 p.m. CDT start. The game will be broadcast on Yahoo Sports.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Canada, Mexico score early wins in Group A of CONCACAF Gold Cup

Logo courtsey of CONCACAF
By Chris Price
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA (June 15, 2019) The 2019 edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup kicked off on Saturday with two matches at Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California. Also known as Spieker Field at the Rose Bowl, the 97-year-old venue hosted the kickoff double header in Group A action, with No. 78 Canada facing Martinique and No. 18 Mexico playing No. 175 Cuba. Due to the fact that Martinique is not a member of FIFA, they are not ranked, but as a member of CONCACAF, they are eligible for participation in the Gold Cup.

In the first match at the Rose Bowl, Canada blasted past Martinique 4-0, with Jonathan David getting a brace in the 33rd and 53rd minute. Junior Hoilett and Scott Arfield added insurance goals in the 63rd and 68th minute, respectively.

Match two gave Mexico an easy 7-0 win over Cuba off a hat trick by Uriel Antuna, scoring in the 2nd, 44th, and 80th minute. Raul Jimenez added a brace, in the 31st and 80th minute; with Diego Reyes scoring in the 38th minute. Alexia Vega added an insurance goal on the 74th minute.

Group A will continue on Wednesday, June 19 at Broncos Stadium at Mile High in Denver. Cuba will face Martinique with a 7 p.m. MT start, while Mexico will play Cuba in the night cap.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Houston Dynamo advances to Round of 16 in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup

Photo by
Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (June 11, 2019) Playing with a squad that was depleted due to international assignments, the Houston Dynamo got an early lead and held on to down Austin Bold FC 3-2 in fourth round action of the Lamar HuntU.S. Open Cup at BBVA Compass Stadium. Houston now moves to the Round of 16 for the fifth straight year. The draw for the Round of 16 is set for Thursday, June 13 at 10 a.m. CDT, with matches scheduled for June 18 or 19.

The Dynamo jumped on the scoreboard in the first half with three goals. Midfielder Tomas Martinez (shown above) struck first, in the 14th minute, followed by forward Renaldo Pena in the 31st minute and midfielder Matias Vera in the 40th minute. Martinez was credited with the assist for the Pena goal, with Pena receiving the assist for Vera's goal. For the Bold, midfielder Xaiver Baez cut the Dynamo's lead to two, with a goal in the 48th minute. Ten minutes later, forward Promise Issac got Austin within one of Houston.

The Dynamo won their first-ever Open Cup this past September, bringing the century-old trophy to the Bayou City, in downing the Philadelphia Union 3-2.

Thailand falls to the United States 13-0 in 2019 Women’s World Cup debut for both teams

By Jennifer Edwards
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

REIMS, FRANCE (June 11, 2019) Thailand fell to the United States, 13-0 in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup debut for both teams. Thailand created a very unique setup using one forward, five mid-fielders, four defenders and a goalkeeper throughout the game. In the end it proved to be a fruitless setup. The United States’ forward Alex Morgan had a record five goals in this match; breaking her scoreless streak in three international games. Rose Lavelle scored her first international goal in her international debut on the team. Samantha Mewis scored twice, while Lindsey Horan, Megan Rapinoe, Mallory Pugh and Carli Lloyd added a goal each to the scoreboard. 

While the scoreboard shows a clear US victory over a team that values respect, the question begs itself, “When is the score too high?” A phrase that was continuously used by commentators in the match was “goal differential”. Throughout this lopsided game, the commentators kept using the phrase “goal differential”, so let’s break that phrase down. 

Each team receives a three points for a win and one point for a draw. Once group play is complete the goals for each team are tallied and used for advancement. In the event of a tie, the number of goals a team has is brought in to play to determine a winner. Therefore a team needs the maximum number of goals possible in each game to advance out of group play. 

The United States will play Chile Sunday June 16 at 11 a.m. CDT and will play Sweden on Thursday June 20 at 2:00 p.m. CDT to complete their group stage of games

Understanding the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup

By Jennifer Edwards
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (June 6, 2019) It’s bordering on 100 degrees in Texas and it is 53 degrees in France where elite Women’s National Teams are fighting to raise the FIFA Women’s World Cup trophy and declare victory for another 4 years. This tournament is over a year in the making with qualifying matches happening last year within the respective soccer organizations. This tournament is sanctioned and governed by FIFA, Fédération Internationale de Football Association, in English it stands for International Federation of Association Football. FIFA governs both Men and Women’s international soccer matches and tournaments. 

Within this parent federation are the confederations. There are six confederations worldwide, with the United States playing in CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football). CONCACAF is the third most winning confederation in the FIFA organization. In order to qualify for the World Cup, national teams must play in the confederation’s tournament and win a certain number of games and score a certain number of goals to qualify for the World Cup tournament. Once the field is set with the winningest confederation teams, FIFA creates “groups” for group play in the World Cup. 

This year there are six groups of four teams playing each other in the first round. Once the dust settles on the group play, points for wins and goals are tallied and the team that has the most points wins the group. The top two teams from each group advance to bracket play. This narrows the field to the top 16 and they play a single game in knockout rounds until a champion is crowned. The United States has won the trophy three times in 1991, 1999 and in 2015 while Germany has won twice; in 2003 and again in 2007. These two teams are the teams that have won the trophy the most. Who will take the trophy this year? Watch the United States, as they are considered a powerhouse team. Yet, don’t count out some of the other formidable opponents such as Germany, Sweden and Norway. It will be interesting to see how this tournament unfolds in France.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Two fast goals by San Antonio FC secure 3-2 win over Reno 1868 FC

Photo by
Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS (June 8, 2019) Two late goals, only one minute apart, gave San Antonio FC a 3-2 lead, and the eventual win over Reno 1868 FC at Toyota Field. The win pushes SAFC to 4-7-3 (15 points) and breaks a three-game losing streak dating back to May 25. In the five-game all-time series of the two teams, San Antonio raised their record to 2-3-0 and 2-1-0 at home.

Reno jumped on the scoreboard in the ninth minute, when forward Corey Hertzog booted the ball past SAFC goalkeeper Matthew Cardone for his sixth goal of the season. Eight minutes later, 15-year-old sensation Cade Cowell scored his first professional goal to put Reno up 2-0 in the 17th minute. From that point on, the match was all San Antonio.

Mexican forward Ever Guzman (No. 99, shown above right) got San Antonio on the board in the 44th minute, when he received the ball from defender Kai Greene and headed it into to goal to put the score at 2-1 at halftime. The score was Guzman's sixth of the season, with the assist the being the first of the season for the Seton Hall
Photo by
Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved
product. San Antonio tied the game in the 61st minute and took the lead in the 62nd minute on goals by Ethan Bryant and Jose Gallegos 
(No. 27 left). Bryant's goal was the first of the season, for the 5-9 midfielder who was starting his second game for San Antonio. The game-clinching goal came one minute later when Gallegos put the ball past Cardone for his first goal of the season. SAFC took 18 total shots including 12 from inside the box to hold Reno at bay. They held the ball 60% of the game and conceded only 11 fouls to Reno's 15.

Next up for San Antonio is a Saturday, June 15 match up against OKC Eneregy FC (5-4-6, 21 points) who are currently sixth place the  Western Conference. Game time at 8 p.m. CDT at Taft Stadium in Oklahoma City.

A photo slideshow of the game, by senior photographer Darla S. Tamulitis, can be viewed here.

Saturday, June 01, 2019

FBCA Swimmers receive post-season honors

Story and photo Tracy Brown
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

PASADENA, TEXAS (June 1, 2019) May brought the swimmers from First Baptist Christian Academy out of the pool and on to the stage as these "Warriors in the Water "celebrated their third season of TAPPS competition.

The Lone Star Academic and Aquatics Federation (LSAAF)  recognized five swimmers from FBCA.  These swimmers have been named to the Academic All-State Lone Star Swim Team. The requirements are that the athletes must have competed in the TAPPS regional swim championship meet and have a minimum of 3.75 overall grade point average. This honor is bestowed on swimmers from their freshman to senior year.   Congratulations to Christopher Brown, Annalyn Henry, Stephen Lawson, Makenzee McComb, and Keeleigh Wilbanks.

Every member of this team improved, or in swimming, “dropped time”. This year, the Hustle Award goes to Annalyn Henry for her outstanding effort at practice and for serving as our team manager at the state championships.  Through the course of the season she worked hard to “knock the rust off” her strokes at practice.  According to head coach Scott Brown, her dedication to the swim team was evident and he is thrilled to be a part of her high school swim career.

The Coach’s Choice Award was presented to Sela Stokes for her hard work in the pool and to recognize the incredible seconds she dropped as she perfected her freestyle strokes throughout the season.  By the end of the season, her progress from marginally able to make it 25 yards to swimming a competitive 100-yard freestyle race was a joy to watch. Sela was also named to the Texas Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association's Academic All-State Award.  This award is limited to Juniors and Seniors who have a 4.0 or above and have a TISCA coaches’ recommendation.

This year’s FBCA Women’s Swim Team MVP was Makenzee McComb.  She is a tough competitor and really took on the backstroke as “her event”.  From her infectious smile during the Wacky Relays at the Big Kahuna Meet at Chavez High School through her push to the wall in the University of Houston Natatorium at regionals, she was FBCA’s women’s high point earner in every meet.

In the Men’s division the Hustle award goes to Timothy Henry for his outstanding effort at practice.  He set a goal at the beginning of the season to reach the state level meet and he did so as an individual in the 100-yard backstroke as well as a member of both the 200-yard freestyle relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay.

The Coach’s Choice Award was awarded to the Most Improved swimmer, Harrison Brown, for his hard work in the pool and to recognize him for dropping the most time per 100 yards of any member of the swim team.  His signature event was the 100-yard backstroke and he dropped six seconds to break the FBCA record.  He dropped 20 seconds in the 200-yard freestyle from the Big Kahuna in December to the Regional Meet in January.  That kind of swim deserved a trip to state; where he competed in both the 100-yard backstroke and the 200-yard freestyle,  as well as a member of both  the 200-yard freestyle relay and 400-yard freestyle relay.

This year’s MVP and high point earner is Christopher Brown.  He led the team in most points scored at every meet he competed in and as high point earner overall.  He took his third trip to the state championships where he competed in the 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle relay and individually where he finished seventh in the 200-yard individual medley and fifth place with a new personal best and school record in the 500-yard freestyle.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Houston SaberCats remain unbeated at AVEVA Stadium with 32-17 win over Glendale Raptors

Photo by
Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (May 29, 2019) The HoustonSaberCats scored in the second minute to take an early lead in route to downing the Glendale Raptors by the score of 32-17 at AVEVA Stadium in Houston, Texas. The win pushed the SaberCats record to 5-10-0 for the season in Major League Rugby, with one regular season match to go. Houston will close out the 2019 season with a Saturday, June 1 contest against the Utah Warriors at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah.

Flyhalf Sam Windsor scored the first three points of the game for Houston on a penalty kick. He also added conversion kicks in the 14th, 21st, and a try in the 36th minutes to contribute to the SaberCats total. In addition, he scored an additional penalty kick in the 45th minute. Windsor leads the league in penalty goals (27), is also ranked second on total points (149) and seventh in conversions (19). Jamie Dever scored a try in the 14th minute along with Josuea Vivi (shown above right) in the 21th minute. Glendale scored tries in the 11th minute, 55th minute, and 60th minute, along with two conversions.

Houston’s final match of the season against Utah will be the second between the two teams. The SaberCats came out on top, by the score of 29-27 on March 21 at Constellation Field in Sugar Land, Texas. In 2018, Houston dropped both matches to Utah; a 36-30 decision on May 26 at Houston’s Dyer Stadium, in addition to a 31-27 loss on June 23 in Utah.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Houston Dash sign Ariana Calderón to National Team Replacement Contract

Photo courtsey of
Casey Snedecor, Assistant Athletic Director
Director of Media Relations
LIU Brooklyn Athletics
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (May 28, 2019) The Houston Dash have signed former Long Island Brooklyn Blackbirds player Ariana Calderón (No. 5 shown right) to a National Team Replacement Contract. The 5-9, forward has played the past two seasons with Þór/KA in Iceland and has earned 13 caps for  the Mexican National Team.

She scored two goals for Mexico, in addition to representing El Tri in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, her first World Cup appearance.  At Long Island University, she became the first player to make the NSCAA First Team All-Region Squad. Calderón tied the school career mark in goals scored with 29 and concluded her career as the all-time leader with 69 points. In her four years there, Calderón finished with a team-best 64 shots and five game-winning goals.  

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Houston SaberCats down Austin Elite 36-15

Photo by J.B. Fletcher
Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (May 25, 2019) With two tries by forward Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz and two conversions by flyhalf Sam Windsor, the Houston SaberCats downed their in-state rivals, Austin Elite Rugby, by the score of 36-15 at AVEVA Stadium in Houston. The win was Houston's second over Austin, with their first win coming on January 26, at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas, by the score of 21-20. The win pushed the SaberCats seaason record to 4-10-0 with two games remaining.

Houston added tries by wing/center Malacchi Esdale (57'), center Thretton Palamo (15' and 80') and flanker Cecil Garber (34'). Windsor, who leads Major League Soccer in penalty goals, was joined by Palamo in scoring one conversion.

The SaberCays have to games remaining this season, beginnig with a Wednesday, May 29 match against the Glendale Raptures (7-6-2) in Houston. They close out the season travelling to Utah to take on the Warriors on Saturday, June 1.

Kyah Simon leaves pre-FIFA World Cup training camp

Photo by
Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved
By Chris Price
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (May 26, 2019) It is being reported by Football Federation Australia (FFA) that Houston Dash 
forward Kyah Simon (shown right, No. 17, back row, second from left) has left the Westfield Matilda's pre-FIFA Women's World Cup training camp in Turkey following a setback of her hamstring injury. The 27-year-old played 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, where she scored both of Australia's goals in a 2–1 win over Norway. In that game, she became the first Indigenous Australian player to score a goal in a FIFA World Cup. With the Dash this season, she saw action in two games; playing 49 minutes with two tackles.

Friday, May 24, 2019

USA falls to Ukraine 2-1 in FIFA U-20 World Cup

By Chris Price
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

BIELSKA BIALA, POLAND (May 24, 2019) The United States U-20 National Team dropped a close match to Ukraine by the score of 2-1 in the opening match for both teams in the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Playing in Group D at Bielska-Biala Stadium in Bielska Biala, Poland, the USA evened the score in the 32nd minute on a goal by  Brandon Servania (FC Dallas). Ukraine scored first, in the 26th minute, off the foot of Serhii Buletsa.

Denys Popov headed in the go-ahead goal, in the 51st minute to secure the American's defeat. The United States will next face Nigeria, who downed Qatar 4-0 in their first round match) on Monday, May 27, at  Bielska-Biala Stadium.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Results of Pasadena Strawberry Festival Mud Volleyball Tournament announced

Photo by
Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

PASADENA, TEXAS (May 20, 2019) Eighty-six teams converged on the grounds of the Pasadena Convention Center on Saturday, May 18, to take part in the 32nd Annual Pasadena Starwberry Festival Mud Volleyball Tournament. The competition saw the teams competing in bracket play with the top teams from each bracket advancing to the finals and the eventual tournament champion. 

The teams played in a double elimination bracket on their court, with the top team in each bracket seeded in a single elimination playoff bracket based on their respective point differentials. The "Quagmires" bested all others teams, emerging as the overall tournament champions, witj the "Dirty Dogs" finishing in second place. "Wild Mud Dogs" placed third, with "Back At It" coming in fourth.

The Lee College women's volleyball team served as the officials for the tournament. Katie Gazaw, chairperson of the tournament, was quoted:

"All of our teams, new and old, had a great time and were competitors. The officials, provided by Lee College women's volleyball program, dis and outstanding job, and we are so grateful for their help. I look forward to seeing everyone again next year."

The entry fee for the tournament was $150, with entries for the 2020 tournament being accepted beginning Janaury, 2020.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Two early goals by Chicago Red Stars gives Houston Dash 2-1 loss

Story and photo by Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (May 19, 2019) Foward Sam Kerr scored two goals, in the eighth and thirteenth minute, to give the Chicago Red Stars a 2-1 win over the Houston Dash at BBVA Compass Stadium. The game, which was very physical, which saw both squads playing without some of their top players due to international asignments for the upcoming FIFA Women's World Cup.

In the eighth minute, Kerr got behind Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell and rounded the ball into the net. She came back five minutes later to again get the ball past Campbell for her second brace in as many games. In the 26th minute forward Sophia Huerta runs onto the ball brought down by forward Kayla McCoy and left-footed it in the far corner for her seccond goal of the season.

With the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in the horizon, the Dash is looking to maximize in the games left with the club’s world cup players. CanWNT players Lindsay Agnew, Allysha Chapman, Nichelle Prince and Sophie Schmidt left last week to join Canada as they compete in Group E against Cameroon, the Netherlands and New Zealand. After this evening’s game against the Stars, the Dash are projected to miss the rest of the players adding up to eight this summer during the FIFA Women's World Cup. 2018 Team MVP Rachel Daly and England will compete in Group D against Argentina, Japan and Scotland. Kyah Simon will join Clare Polkinghorne and Australia as they face Brazil, Italy and Kayla McCoy and Jamaica in Group C play.

Houston Dynamo come from behind to down D.C. United, 2-1

Story and photo Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (May 18, 2019) On a humid evening in Houston, where fans hoped the rain moving in from the northwest would be delayed, witnessed the Houston Dynamo score two goals in two minutes to down D.C. United by the score of 2-1 at BBVA Compass Stadium. The United loss was their fourth of the season, with Houston taking a 16-6-5 lifetime record versus D.C. The win was Houston's fifteenth over United in history and the tenth in Houston. Houston improves their season record to 7-2-2 (23 points) and pushes them into third in the Western Conference standings; behind Los Angeles FC (9-1-3, 30 points) and Seattle (7-1-5, 26 points).

The two squads battled to a scoreless draw after 45 minutes, which held into the five minutes of added time. In the 10th minute, fan favorite Alberth Elis left the game after he collided with United player. He was bleeding, and was immediately placed under concussion protocol. The Honduran forward, who was hoping for a score in the game to move to fifth on the club's regular-season goal list, was replaced by Memo Rodriguez.

However, the scoreless game did not last in the second half. In the 46th minute, midfielder Ulises Segura got the ball at the far post; pushing it to a waiting Wayne Rooney at the near post; who tapped the ball into the unprotected left side of the goal for his seventh goal of the season.

The Dynamo were not to be denied, as they scored two goals in the span of two minutes to take a 2-1 lead in the 68th minute. The scoring frenzy began in the 67th minute when Memo Rodriguez came down the right side of the pitch; cutting across the top side of the box, and punching the ball to the left post for his fifth goal of 2019. One minute later, Tommy McNamara kneed the ball pass goalkeeper Bill Hemis for his first gaol in a Dynamo uniform. He entered the game two minutes prior to the score, as a replacement for Romell Quioto.

“It was good three points at home. We really fought today, and it was good team effort defensively. We’re closing out huge now. Sometimes we suffer but we still get the three points and that’s important," stated Rodriguez. He added  "It (the team’s performance)was difficult because this was our third game in eight days. We knew that some of us were tired but it’s part of fútbol. You have to be ready at all times. We knew DC United was in first place in their conference. Their a tough team and they play well but we knew that we had to come out with the intensity and bring the game to them.”

The match wrapped up a eight-day, three game series; and was the eighth home game for Houston. In their next ten games, the Dynamo will play seven of them on the road.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Houston Dynamo, Portland Timbers battle to 1-1 draw

Story and photo by Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (May 15, 2019) The Houston Dynamo scored late in the first half and and kept the lead for the next 37 minutes, when the Portland Timbers tied the score. The score stayed the same for the remainder of the game. The 1-1 draw at BBVA Compass Stadium pushed Houston's season record to 6-2-2 (20 points) and placed them in fourth place in the Western Conference standings of Major League Soccer.

Mauro Manotas' goal in the 40th minute tied him with Brad Davis (41) for third on the club's regular-season goal list. The goal also increased his total for the season  to six, which leads the club this season. The goal was scored with assists by Alberth Elis and Memo Rodríguez. Elis' assist gives him six for the season, which also leads the team. The Timbers' goal came in the 77th minute when Brian Fernández score in the 77th minute, with an assist by  Sebastián Blanco.

Houston will have a scant three days to prepare for their next match; a Saturday, May 18 meeting with Wayne Rooney and DC United. The "Black-and-Red" top the Eastern Conference with a 7-3-3 record. Rooney lead DC United with six goals this season, with two of them from penalty kicks. He also leads his team in assists (4), shots (34), and shots on goal (13). Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. CDT. The game theme of the match is "Superhero Night" presented by Greater Houston Honda Dealers.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Sugar Land falls 3-1 to Long Island on Mother's Day

Story and photo by Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

SUGAR LAND, TEXAS (May 12, 2019) The Sugar Land Skeeters (10-7) could manage only a single hit until the ninth inning, when CF Jared Mitchell tagged a home run over the right field fence, as they dropped a 3-1 decision to the Long Island Ducks (12-4) at Constellation Field on Mother's Day. Right fielder C.J. McElroy singled on a bunt to second base as the lead off batter in the bottom of the first inning. The Skeeters added another hit, off Miller's home run, and an additional single in the ninth inning by DH Courtney Hawkins,

The Ducks tallied all three of their runs in the third inning; with scores by DH Rey Fuentes, CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and SS Vladimir Frias.

With the loss, the Skeeters posts 1-2 record versus the Ducks to complete their current series. Sugar Land took the first game, on Friday evening, by the score of 4-3. They dropped an 8-5 decision, in 11 innings on Saturday night. The Skeeters will take on the York Revolution at 7:05 p.m. CDT on Monday, May 13, to kickoff a seven-game series.