Sunday, April 28, 2019

Houston Dynamo top Columbus Crew, 2-0

Photo by
Darla Tamulitis
La Vita Photography
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved
By Jennifer Edwards
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 27, 2019) Against a near perfect backdrop, the Houston Dynamo took on Columbus Crew SC, Saturday night at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. The Dynamo came out showing their strength with a goal in the third minute, from Mauro Manotas, on a touch pass from Alberto Elis. The opening 20 minutes showcased a great deal of volleying back and forth between the two teams; with Houston outshoting the Crew 4 to 1, in those first 20 minutes. There were a series of great long passes by the Dynamo, and with Elis setting up Memo Rodriguez for the shot on goal, but it missed over the top of the goal. 

Then, Houston’s Maynor Figueroa was putting pressure on the Crew with great defensive plays to contain the Crew’s offense and not allow any goals in the 30 minutes of play. In the 41st minute Lundkvist make a spectacular move to keep the ball out of the goal and denying the Crew the best chance to score in the first half. A yellow card shown to olumbus' Waylon Francis in the 50th minute. The penalty kick was taken by Memo Rodriguez, with the ball hitting the top of the crossbars bringing the Dynamo to 12 shots on goal to the Crew’s nine. The scoring opened up with a goal by Tomas Martinez in the 54th minute. 

Dynamo Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera discussed the outcome the game after the match.

“Yes, I think it went well. Of course, when we start winning in the third minute of the game it’s always positive. But we knew that we had to face a very talented team. Columbus Crew is a very talented team despite they made some changes because they played midweek. They are talented. They have quality and normally they have possession over the opponents. So, we wanted to be sure that we couldn’t give them the ball the whole time, otherwise they are going to get motivated and they’re talented, so are going to feel comfortable. I think we did a good job trying to put pressure, trying to alternate the pressure—high pressure. We also tried to move the ball and play. We could have done better in the first half with our possession, but I think we created some good options. We continue trying to bring goals which is positive and the second half we had the possibility to score a second one which gave us a little more calmness to finish the game. I think we closed it, the game, very well. It was important for us to close the game to feel like we can have a clean sheet, first game of the season. So, that is also very positive for us, especially for the boys because it is solid performance when you win 2-0 at home, when you don’t receive a goal it’s positive. So, we’re happy about that.”

Play was temporarily halted to escort a fan who ran onto the pitch in the 76th minute prior to a Houston substitution. The game continued after the fan was arrested; showcasing both team’s long and short passing abilities. The game ended with a 2-0 score in favor of the Dynamo. Houston is back in action Saturday, May 4th in a match against Dallas in Frisco.

Escape, Bag of Donuts kick off Friday enetrtainment at Pasadena Strawberry Festival

Bag of Donuts will take to the main stage at the
Pasadena Strawberry Festival at 10 p.m.
on Friday, May 12, 2019.
Photo courtesy of Bag of Donuts and Jonathan Hoerner.

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

PASADENA, TEXAS (April 26, 2019) Escape and Bag of Donuts will kick off opening night entertainment at the 46th Annual Pasadena Strawberry Festival on Friday, May 12, 2019. Both musical acts will perform on the main stage of the Pasadena Municipal Fairgrounds in Pasadena.

Beginning the evening's entertainment will be Escape, who are billed as a "Journey" Tribute Band. Members include Tom Calandra on vocals, Bobby Cayton (bass/vocals), Joel Gregoire (guitar/vocals), Josh Howe (keyboards/vocals) and Wesley Murrell on drums. The group was founded in 2000 and has performed at numerous venues and events in the Houston and Texas Gulf Coast area. They will perform from 8 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. to begin the enetrtainment for the evening.

Taking the stage at 10 p.m. will be Bag of Donuts from New Orleans, Louisiana. They are described on their Facebook page as follows.

There is a visual history in New Orleans culture. Mardi Gras Indians, street parades, make-up, costumes, Carnival, city art, artists both local and transplant alike are only a small portion of the rich tradition. The world renowned music scene has given birth to such art and much has been documented as to it's importance in wider pop culture. Enter Bag of Donuts.The New Orleans based quartet have been engaged in such endeavors for over two decades. Having celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2012, the momentum only seems to be building. Along with their flair for kabuki make-up and extravagant costumes, the four New Orleans natives cover songs in a style they have branded as Superpop: Any song popular from any era. Their flamboyant performances are a combination of ultimate showmanship, call and response audience participation, visual ingenuity, professional musicianship and pure entertainment with a nod to the comedy gods.

The band consists of lead vocal Bobby Hoerner, who also plays cowbells and percussion, Jonathan Hoerner on guitar and vocals Jerry Christopher, Jr., bass and vocals, and Kevin George on drums and sample pad.

Discount admission tickets can be purchased at with 
free parking available at San Jacinto College.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

46th Pasadena Strawberry Festival begins Friday, May 17

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

PASADENA, TEXAS (April 21, 2019) The 46th Annual Pasadena Strawberry Festival, scheduled for May 17-19, 2019, promises three days of fun-filled enetrtainment, activities, and events at the Pasadena Municipal Fairgrounds, located at 7902 Fairmont Parkway in Pasadena, Texas. This year's events include three days of concerts, along with carnival rides and games, a petting zoo, in addition to a car, truck and motorcycle show, and the world's largest strawberry shortcake.

The festival begin on Friday, May 17, from 3 p.m. until 12 midnight. Saturday, May 18 activities will begin at 10 a.m. and end, again, at 12  midnight. Sunday, May 19 events will run from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

On the main stage, entertainment is scheduled for all three days, beginning on Friday with Escape, a Journey tribute band from 8-9:30 p.m. Following at 10 p.m., Bag of Donuts will perform a one-and-a-half hour concert.

Saturday sees four performers taking the stage; including Justin Taylor (3:30-5:30 p.m.), Dalton Domino (6-7:30 p.m.), Randall King (8-9:30 p.m.) with Josh Ward rounding out the evening's enetrtainment from 10-11:30 p.m. The Samy Jo Band will preform on Sunday from 3-5 p.m.

Free parking will be available at San Jacinto College with free shuttle rides from the college to the fairgrounds. Discount admission tickets can be purchased at

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Houston Dash earn first win of 2019 season with 1-0 victory over Sky Blue FC

Photo courtesy of
Paul-Michael Ochoa and Major League Soccer
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 20, 2019) The Houston Dash and Sky Blue FC battled for 83 minutes, after which midfielder Sofia Huerta broke the scoring drought to give Houston a 1-0 win on Saturday evening.  The fleet-footed Heurta left-footed the ball past Sky Blue goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan from outside the box, to the bottom left corner. It was the first goal of the season for the 28-year-old who played her college soccer for the Santa Clara Broncos. The win gave the Dash three points, pushing their season total to four and  third place in the current NWSL standings. 

The Dash took 11 shots on goal; 10 more than Sky Blue could manage. Houston controlled most of the game; including shots (19-8), blocked shots (3-2), corners (8-3), crosses (21-8), and total passes (496-418), and possession (54-7%-45.3%).

Two yellow cards were issued during the match. The first was to Dash defender Lindsay Agnew in the 49th minute and to Sky Blue midfielder Carli Lloyd; both for "unsporting behavior." At the 63rd minute, Houston  midfielder Kristie Mewis entered the game for Agnew, stepping foot on the field for the first time since her knee injury last May. Along with Mewis, forward Jamia Fields entered the game for midfielder Sophia Schmidt, making her Dash debut.

Houston Dynamo drops heartbreaker in final minutes to LA Galaxy

By Chris Price
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (April 19, 2019) The Houston Dynamo dropped their record to 4-1-1 (13 points) with a 2-1 loss to the LA Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California on Friday evening. 

The Galaxy scored in the 31st minute on a penalty kick by Zlata Ibrahimovic. The Dynamo responded with their own penalty kick by forward Alberth Elis in the 53rd minute. Diego Polenta nailed the game clincher in the 88th minute to give Houston their first loss of the season. Elis scored for the fourth consecutive game when he converted the penalty kick. The scoring streak is the longest of his MLS career. In addition, he improved to five-for-five in his MLS career on penalty attempts and started for the 50th time in league play with the Dynamo and made his 61st career league appearance.

Midfielder Boniek GarcĂ­a made his 201st appearance for the Dynamo in all competitions this evening, which placed him in a tie with former Houston FW Will Bruin for sixth on the club’s all-time list.  TheDynamo and the Galaxy each had 13 shots in the game. It was the first time this season that the Dynamo and their opponent were level on shots. Houston’s 450 total passes were the second-most in a game this season, behind only their 494 passes against Montreal on March 9.

The Galaxy struck first when Ibrahimovic converted the penalty kick. It was the third time this year that Houston conceded the game’s opening goal, and the Dynamo are now 1-1-1 in those games. Los Angeles also had the better of possession, holding the ball for 51.3 percent of the game. It was the fourth time this season that the Dynamo had less possession than their opponent, and they are now 3-1-0 in those games.

The Dynamo return home to BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday, April 27 to host Columbus Crew SC for the club’s inaugural End Cancer Night, presented by The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. 

Houston Dash to face Sky Blue FC after 1-1 draw against Seattle Reign FC

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

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 20, 2019) Against a new, perfect backdrop, the Houston Dash took on Seattle Reign FC at BBVA Compass Stadium on Sunday, April 14, 2019.  The game also celebrated a milestone. Defender Amber Brooks (shown right) celebrated her 100th game in the NWSL. Brooks is a mainstay of the Dash defense and did not disappoint during the game. Her tenacity and new found confidence on the field and propelled the Dash to a 1-1 draw.

In addition to the celebration, the Dash organization ushered in their newest head coach, James Clarkson. Clarkson’s entrance marks the end of the short lived Vera Pauw era. While Pauw wanted the fans, including the locally famed Bayou City Republic, to quiet down so the players could hear her, Clarkson has taken an opposite stance. 

Bayou City Republic was allowed to let loose and hype the fans up. For those unfamiliar with the Dash, Bayou City Republic is to the Dash, what the Texian Army is to the Dynamo. Coming with drums of all varieties, they bring banners and joyful music with them. They are the official host of the Houston Dash watch parties and keep the spirit alive during away games. 
Photo by
Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

With that being said, Clarkson is already making an indelible mark on the Dash. Players have said countless times that there is more club chemistry and that there are good vibes within the team. That is showing on the pitch. The passing game, while rough at times, has amazing potential. With the addition of a few new faces on the Starting 11 in Christine Nairn and Sophie Schmidt, it is easy to see how the passing game will evolve and get stronger as the ladies’ playing time increases. One potential Achilles heel could be the lack of strength at the midfielder level. 

Clarkson put Haley Hanson, traditionally a midfielder, in as a second half substitution for forward Nichelle Prince. It was easy to see she would need some work if she is going to transition to being a forward. In spite of this substitution, the mid-fielders looked tired in chasing the ball during the second half of the game. Hopefully, this area of play will gain the same strength and fighting power as the forwards. Overall it was a great outing for the Dash, holding the Reign to the 1-1 draw.

Looking forward to this evening's game against Sky Blue FC, the Dash will face two-time FIFA Women’s Player of the Year, Carli Lloyd at 5 p.m. at Yurcak Field. 

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Houston Dash, Seattle Reign battle to 1-1 draw to kickoff 2019 NWSL season

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 (April 14, 2019) In a match that
saw Nichelle Prince (shown right) get the first goal of the 2019 season, the Houston Dash battled to a one-all draw against Seattle Reign FC at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. The fleet-footed forward pounced on a loose ball in the 10th minute of the game; tucking it to the far post for the score. The Canadian as already matched her goal total for 2018, where she played in 19 games while starting in 11.

The match was a back-and-forth affair, with the Dash holding the lead until the 58th minute, when Darian Jenkins shot from the top of the box. The ball was deflected and wrong-footed past Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell for the goal; her first in a Reign uniform.

In the 20th minute, Reign forward Jasmyne Spencer stretchered off the field with an injury. The injury, along with Prince's goal, slowed Seattle's control of the game. Houston played aggressively, with Rachel Daly and Kalia Ohai taking shots on goal that were either wide or blocked by Seattle.

You can view the photo slideshow from the game, by 
Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loco Photography by clicking here.

With added time running out in the second half, Campbell saved the draw for Houston, when Reign FC forward was warded a penalty kick. Campbell blocked the shot to end the game. It block was Campbell’s fourth penalty kick save in the league, the second most in NWSL history.

Photo by
Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved
The draw earned one point for the Dash, in head coach James Clarkson's debut. In addition, the match was defender Amber Brooks' (shown left) 100th regular season appearance in the NWSL. She wa shonored prior to the game for the achievement.

For their second game of the season, the Dash will travel to Piscataway, New Jersey to take on Sky Blue FC on Saturday, April 20, with a 5 p.m. CST at Yurcak Field. In their first match of 2019, Sky Blue fell 2-0 to the Washington Spirit.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Three Aggie victories highlight first day of Texas A&M Invitational

Photo courtesy of
Russell James and
Texas A&M Univeristy
Athletics Communications
COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS (April 12, 2019) A trio of Aggie victories highlighted Friday’s portion of the Texas A&M Invitational among eight field events contested at E.B. Cushing Stadium. Tyra Gittens (shown right) claimed the long jump, Maddy Stulce won the women’s javelin and Sam Hardin bettered the field in the men’s javelin.

Through four field events for the women the Aggies scored 48 points, which places them ahead of Houston (31), UTSA (20), Arizona State (18) and Sam Houston (14.5). The A&M men, through four field events, have scored 42 points to lead Houston (26), Sam Houston (20), UTSA (14) and Rice (12).

Action in the Texas A&M Invitational continues on Saturday with field events starting at 3 p.m. while running events begin at 5:30 following an Aggie ring presentation at 5:15 p.m.

Gittens won the long jump with a leap of 20-9 (6.32) in the fifth round. She trailed the leading mark of 20-7 ¼ (6.28w) set by Houston’s Samiyah Samuels in the opening stanza. Gittens came within a quarter inch of the leading mark with a 20-7 (6.27) in the fourth round and then moved into the lead on her next attempt.

“After the first three jumps I was warm and excited,” noted Gittens. “In the final three rounds I was ready to bring it. I’m happy to start off my season in the long jump like this, which is better than I thought I would do today.”

Aggie teammates LaJarvia Brown and Virginia Kerley produced their career best marks in placing third and fourth. Brown had a windy 20-5 (6.22) in the final round, but also registered a wind-legal career best of 20-3 (6.17). Kerley improved upon her high school best of 19-7 ½ with a career best jump of 19-10 ¾ (6.06) in the third round and then had a barely windy best of 20-2 ¼ (6.15) in the fifth stanza. Taryn Milton finished eighth with a windy 19-3 ½ (5.88).

“I definitely feed off my teammates,” added Gittens. “It’s good when you are performing well, but it’s even better when your teammates are doing good also.”

Maddy Stulce won the javelin on her first round throw of 166-9 (50.84), and then improved to 173-2 (52.78) in the final round to secure a second consecutive victory at Cushing Stadium. Runner-up to Stulce was a 165-6 (50.44) by UTEP’s Roosa Yloenen.

Celine Markert placed third in the javelin as she had another improvement in an event she just started this outdoor season. Coming into the meet with a best of 154-9 (47.18) from The Reveille last week, Markert bettered it in round three with a 158-4 (48.26) toss. Then she produced another five-foot improvement with a throw of 163-9 (49.91).

Aggies also placed fourth and fifth in the javelin with Jenna Ellis (146-5) and Natalie Scheifele (141-3).

Hardin led a 1-2-4 A&M finish in the men’s javelin as his opening throw of 236-10 (72.20) locked up his second victory at Cushing Stadium. Nick Mirabelli followed with a 220-6 (67.21) from the second round while William Petersson finished fourth with a mark of 204-2 (62.23). Rice’s Dane Stolsig placed third at 204-8 (62.39).

A runner-up finish in the high jump by Mason Farley produced a clearance of 6-10 ¼ (2.09), which was just a quarter of an inch off his career best. Three attempts at 6-11 ½ (2.12) followed, but Farley and winner Elijah Hughes of Arizona State missed all three attempts. Alstian Walker made it over 6-8 ¼ (2.04) to place fourth while Jake Lamberth (6-6 ¼) and Mason Corbin (6-4 ¼) were eighth and ninth.

Robin Nool, who will compete in the pole vault on Saturday, had a windy 23-8 (7.21) to finish fourth in the men’s long jump.

Markert started the afternoon off with a throw of 167-11 (51.19) to place seventh in the women’s hammer. KJ Grimes placed ninth in the men’s hammer with a career best throw of 173-11 (53.03) as he remained in the No. 7 position on the A&M all-time list. Hunter Madore placed 14th with a toss of 150-10 (45.98).

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Christin Garin upsets No. 2 seed at U.S. Men's Clay Court Champs

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 10, 2019) In a match that lasted a bit over three hours, Christian Garin (right)  defeated the number two seeded Jeremy Chardy 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(7) in second round play of the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships at River Oaks Country Club in Houston, Texas. The 22-year-old Chilean saved five match points to upset the number two seeded Chardy. The match was was the fourth longest in U.S. Clay Court history. Garin is 5-0 in deciding sets this year and is headed into the quarterfinal to face Henri Laaksonen (Switzerland), who downed American Ryan Harrison 6-4, 7-5.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Steve Johnson begins quest for third straight U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship title

Story and Photo Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 8, 2019) It is an occurrence that has not occurred since 1938. In that year, Seabiscuit beat War Admiral, the New York Giants beat the Green Bay Packers 23-17 for the NFL title, and the New York Yankees swept the Chicago Cubs in four straight games to claim the World Series. In addition, Bobby Riggs won his third consecutive U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship title. At River Oaks Country Club in Houston, Steve Johnson, who was the champion in 2017 and 2018, will attempt to the match Riggs’ success in winning the 2019 title.

Play at River Oaks kicks off on Monday, with Johnson slated to begin take to the court on Thursday, as the number one seed. He will face the winner of the Daniel Elahi Galan (Columbia) versus Paolo Lorenzi (Italy). The Galan-Lorenzi match will be on court three on Tuesday, April 9 with a 12 noon CDT start.

This is the second ATP Tour tournament at which Johnson has held the number one seed. His other top seeding was at Newport in 2016. He is 11-4 lifetime at River Oaks, winning his last nine matches. The 29-year-old Johnson, who is ranked No. 39 in the world, is coming off Round of 64 loss to Joao Sousa at the ATP Masters 1000 Miami. In the same tournament, Johnson teamed with Marcel Granollers; losing in the doubles bracket to Nikola Mektic and Dominic Thiem. In the 2017 Clay Court Championship, Johnson downed Thomaz Bellucci (Brazil) 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(7-5) for his first title, following up with a 7-6(7-2), 2-6, 6-4 win over Tennys Sandgren in 2018.

Bill Tilden won six consecutive clay court championships from 1922 to 1927, in addition to the title in 1918. Since the championship has been held in Houston, Andy Roddick has won three titles (2001, 2002, 2005) and Juan Monaco has two (2012, 2016).

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Weather postpones qualifying at U.S. Clay Court Championship; play resumes on Monday

Action from the 2017 U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship
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 (April 7, 2019) Due to severe and hazardous weather passing through the Houston area on Sunday, April 7, 
the final qualifying matches for the 2019 Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship at River Oaks Country Club were suspended and postponed.

Play will resume on Monday, April 8 with the matches suspended on Sunday, with play beginning at 12 noon CDT. First round matches scheduled for Monday will kick off at the regular posted time of 3 p.m. 

Two former U.S. Clay champions headline the first night session at River Oaks Country ClubIvo Karlovic, who won the 2007 title in the event's last year at Westside Tennis Club, opens play at 3 p.m. against Ryan HarrisonMarcel Granollers, who won the following year when the tournament moved to River Oaks, will play 2018 semifinalist Taylor Fritz at 6 p.m. 

One other former U.S. Clay winner is in action Monday, with 2009 singles champion Lleyton Hewitt playing doubles with fellow Australian Jordan Thompson against the second seeded team of Austin Krajicek and Artem Sitak.

Houston Dash prepare for 2019 season opener with 5-0 win over Texas Tech

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

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 7, 2019) On Saturday, April 30, the Houston Dash faced off against the Texas Tech women's soccer team at Houston Sports Park in their final tune up test prior to their 2019 campaign.

The Dash looked strong during and after the 5-0 win over the Red Raiders. Their five goals were scored by five different players. New head coach, James Clarkson was quoted after the scrimmage saying, 

“We want to be competitive, we want to win games, we want to scores goals.” 

That is exactly what his team did. Goals were scored by NWSL veterans Kealia Ohai (No. 7 above) and Sophie Schmidt as well as rookies Jamia Fields and Cece Kizer.

The Dash’s passing game is improved greatly over last year’s open practice and the new leadership’s visions are being recognized. The Texas Tech goalkeeper, Marissa Zucchetto, had her hands full as the Dash peppered goal attempts time and time again. She was able to deflect many of these attempts only allowing the five goals.

This year’s open practice scrimmage was very well attended. Fans enjoyed music, balloon animals and free shirts. The team stuck around after the practice to sign autographs and encourage everyone to come out to the season opener. The Dash will kick off their 2019 season against the Seattle Reign on Sunday, April 14 at BBVA Compass Stadium, with a 5 p.m. CDT start.