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.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Head Coach Jill Ellis announces USWNT roster for 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup

By Jennifer Edwards
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

SEABROOK, TEXAS (May 8,  2019) On May 1, 2019, Women’s National Team (USWNT) head coach Jill Ellis announced her roster of 23 players selected to represent the United States in the FIFA Women’s World Cup that will be played this summer. This announcement comes as almost no surprise to fans who have followed the USWNT during the last World Cup where the United States won the tournament for a third time in USWNT history. 

Ellis made her selection based on the friendlies that the US played as well as monitoring the NWSL action. Let’s break this down by positions: 

Goalkeepers: Ellis selected two veterans in Ashlyn Harris and Alyssa Naeher. Naeher has been Ellis’ go-to keeper since the fiery departure of Hope Solo. She has also called on World Cup rookie Adrianna Franch, who has made quite a name for herself around the NWSL as one of the premier keepers in the league. 

Defenders: Assisting the goalkeepers is are seven world class defenders. They will be anchored by Ali Krieger, Kelley O’Hara and Becky Sauerbrunn who all have 3 time appearances in World Cup action. Ellis selected four rookies in Abby Dahlkemper, Tierna Davidson, Crystal Dunn and Emily Sonnett. Krieger was the surprise, while die-hard fans were rooting for her return to USWNT soccer, seeking that elusive 100th cap. 

Midfielders: This position lacks the depth of veterans as the defenders and forwards have. They are anchored by Morgan Brian and Julie Ertz who both have two previous appearances in World Cup play. Rookies are Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, Allie Long, and Samantha Mewis. Do not discount the rookies who have seen international action previously. Horan played for Paris Saint-Germain for four years prior to joining the Portland Thorns. 

Forwards: Of all the positions this group has the most returners. Carli Lloyd will return for her fourth World Cup, while Tobin Heath, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe will return for their third WC appearances. Christen Press will see her second World Cup dreams being realized and rookies Jessica McDonald, Mallory Pugh are the newcomers hoping to hoist the trophy for the first time. 

Ellis stated at the roster press release “’s a group that has the talent, confidence, experience and desire to help us win the World Cup.” 

All eyes will turn to France where the Women’s World Cup will begin June 7, 2019 and run until July 7, 2019.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Houston downs Dallas in first game of Texas Derby

After the match, BBVA Compass Stadium broadcast
The Kentucky Derby on the scoreboard
for the soccer fans to watch.
Story and photo by Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (May 4, 2019) With a totally domination of FC Dallas (5-3-2, 17 points), forward Mauro Manotas scored a brace to give the Houston Dyanmo a 2-1 win in the first match of the Texas Derby, played at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. The goals were his fourth and fifth of the season, and raised his career total to 40.

The first score came in the 21st minute on a penalty kick; putting the ball past Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez and into the back of the goal. The PK was awarded when Alberth Elis was tripped in the box; causing Dallas fans to question the penalty, since the call was not reviewed by the game officials.

His brace occured in the 58th minute, when the Dynamo counterattacked, bringing the ball down the pitch, with Elis nailing a pass to Manotas. The Colombian right-footed the ball from the right side of the box; again getting the ball past Gonzalez.

The match was the first of two meetings between Houston and Dallas this season. The second game will be played at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, on Saturday, August 24. Houston won the Texas Derby, and the "possession" of El Capitan, a Texas Revolutionary War-era cannon. The fully functional cannon was won by the Dynamo in 2016; retaining it in 2017, before Dallas Captures it last season. 

With the win, Houston moves to 6-1-1 (19 points) and gives them their fifth straight home victory; improving their home record to 5-0-1. It also improved Houston's record versus Dallas to 11-10-13 all-time and 8-4-6 in Houston. It also improved the Dynamo's record against Western Conference opponents to 4-1-1 on the year.

Next up for the Dynamo is a Saturday, May 11 game against Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, with a 9 p.m. CDT start.

Solid passing, advancing the ball keys to Houston Dash downing Orlando on Sunday, May 5

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

HOUSTON, TEXAS (May 4, 2019) The Houston Dash lost to the North Carolina Courage by the score of 4-1 this past Sunday (April 28) at BBVA Compaass Stadium. The score did noy reflect the amount of work the Dash displayed on the field and in practice. It was easy to see that the Houston did their homework ahead of the 2018 NWSL Champions coming to Houston. They did a great job defensively and had a pretty decent showing offensively. Their passing game has come a long ways in the past two seasons. They are making better connections with their passing and communicating within those passing opportunities much better than in previous seasons.

While the passing game is coming together, was a major disconnect between the Dash midfielders and the forwards. It looked as if the game plan was to keep the midfielders from crossing the midfield area and take a more defensive role and not assist the forwards in advancing toward scoring opportunities. The only problem with this idea was when of the two designated forwards advanced the ball with their speed, the offsides call was made because there were not enough players across the line when a shot was attempted. Rachel Daly (No. 3, shown above right) scored a beautiful goal that was called back for this reason. She tried to argue the call knowing it was going to a fruitless argument.

The coaches made some great strategic moves to make positive changes, but it was too little too late when the Courage scored 3 goals in the second half. While the four goals scored would clearly point to a goalkeeping issue, that is not the case in the Dash defensive line. Jane Campbell had a spectacular save in the free kick that the Courage were awarded. She also had a number of “Save of the Week” worthy saves. It can clearly be seen that the Dash’s full time goalkeeper coach is doing great work and making great strides in this area.

The Dash will take on the Orlando Pride this Sunday. Hopefully their offensive woes will not carry over on to this game and the Dash can get back to their solid passing skills and advancing the ball without so many offsides calls.