News Update 3/15- It's Derby Time

Let's do this!!! - Bob Levey

Rivalry Week is here and so are the Houston Dynamo.

Howdy folks! Well I don't have to tell you what this weekend is all about do I? It's Rivalry Week(end) in MLS and as we all know the hated Dynamo will be here on Sunday.

FC Dallas

I hope you are all as excited as I am for the Texas Derby in Frisco this weekend. Anyone who's been following any SG's on Twitter or Facebook know the smack talk that's already started between the two sides supporters and will surely make for an entertaining game experience. If you don't have your tickets then GO GET THEM NOW!!! This is not a game that you will want to miss.

Mark Norris at FCDallas.com spoke with coach Shellas Hyndman about the derby, what he expects, and what it will take from FC Dallas to come out victorious.

Keeping cool and sticking to the game plan is what Hyndman wants his players to do on Sunday – no matter how intense it might get.

"It does become a physical game," Hyndman said. "It does become a hot game."

I'm sure we all remember the Jair Benitez red card last year that helped to doom the Hoops in Houston during the teams only meeting of 2012. I do love that the players feel the same intensity that the fans feel but I surely hope they can all keep cool heads (and hot feet) on Sunday.

Demetrio Teniente found out what the rivalry between the two Texas team means to the players when he spoke with Zach Lloyd at FCDallas.com.

"It’s a prideful game that always gets physical," said Loyd. "It’s a ‘who is the best team in the state’ kind of thing. The fans really care about the game and it’s a game that we want to get three points for and win El Capitán."

With Blas Perez back in the lineup and the new 4-4-2 being played for the first time this season, FC Dallas will not be short of firepower this weekend. I fully expect to see "step up" performances from guys like Zach, Cooper, and others who have under performed this year (I'm looking at you Defensive Midfield....).

For those unfamiliar with the history of the derby trophy "El Capitan", our own Daniel Robertson has a rundown up at FCDallas.com.

Having won the cannon in 2011 on a late Geoff Cameron goal in Frisco, the Dynamo secured a permit in early 2012 to fire the howitzer in their new stadium and they’ve taken full advantage, integrating the trophy into their game-day experience. It’s become a BBVA Compass Stadium tradition to wheel the cannon to the middle of the field before every game and have a Dynamo celebrity shoot "El Capitan" off before kick off – similar to FC Dallas' tradition of scarfing the Lamar Hunt statue.

One of the best things about winning "El Capitan" (other than laughing at Dynamo supporters of course) would be to put a wrinkle in Houston's pregame rituals. I can't stress to you guys enough how important it is to get out on Sunday and show your support for the team.

Steve Hunt at 3rddegree/Dallas Morning News/I'm-not-really-sure-what-to-call-their-site-anymore, spoke with Schellas Hyndman and Fernando Clavijo about what FC Dallas is doing to try to reenforce the (seemingly weak) Hoops midfield.

"We still have a little bit of room [under the salary cap]," Clavijo said. "The Peter Luccin thing pretty much caught us by surprise, the extent of it.

"Hopefully, we can put a nail to the coffin soon and get everything in order. Right now, we are 95 percent done [with the roster]."

The signing of a healthy Ramon Nunez would help this team so much right now. Luccin being hurt has really put a kink in FCD's plans this year and with Andrew Jacobson not performing up to the level we all had hoped, depth is sorely needed right now.

The team announced on Tuesday that they have renewed their local Spanish broadcast with Azteca America.

The station will air 19 games on Sunday mornings from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

"We are proud to partner with Azteca America-55 for another season," said Hunt Sports Group Vice President, Dan Hunt. "They are a well-respected media outlet with a strong tradition of airing top soccer matches and will give us great coverage for the Hispanic market in the DFW Metroplex."

So it's going to be tape delayed games but I guess it's better than nothing?

FC Dallas and Peru National Team Goalkeeper Raul Fernandez spoke with FIFA.com about the pressure on Peru right now to make their first World Cup final since 1982.

"There’s always pressure on the national team, especially when it comes to the World Cup. People tend to get very passionate about it, and when you don’t get the results then the pressure just intensifies.

"Still, we’re used to that, and it’s not as if we’re starting from scratch. The foundations we laid in 2011 are still useful to us today. We’ve had some low points since then, but maybe the good times are just around the corner. We’ll see."

The Peruvian National Team continues their qualification drive next Friday against Chile.

Know Thine Enemy

It's Houston....that's all that needs to be said.

US National Teams

The USWNT won their 9th(!!!) Algarve Cup in Portugal on Wednesday behind two goals from Alex Morgan. (Via ussoccer.com)

The USA made six changes to the lineup that faced Sweden two days earlier, with [Coach Tom] Sermanni forced to withdraw Megan Rapinoe at the last moment. The U.S. midfielder, who would later be named Player of the Tournament, sustained an injury at the last moment and was replaced by Tobin Heath.

Looking to earn its first trophy under Sermanni, who took the reins of the team in late 2012, the U.S. dictated the pace against Germany from the opening whistle.

Sermanni has already started making his own personal mark on this team by starting a lineup that looked very different from what we're used to seeing with the USWNT. It seems that many of the young players that have languished behind a stalwart starting XI may be finally getting their chance to shine.

FIFA released their (pointless and mostly baseless) world rankings yesterday and the US has fallen a few spots. (Story from ESPNFC.com via the AP because ESPN only seems to have one writer, Roger Bennett, on their entire soccer staff.)

The United States has fallen one spot to No. 33 in FIFA's rankings while world and European champion Spain remains No. 1.

I have 0% faith in these so called "rankings" from FIFA. The way they figure them is weird and many times a team will win a series of games yet still somehow drop in ranking. But then again I don't trust most things from FIFA.

Around The World

This morning UEFA held their drawings to determine the matchups for the next rounds of the Champions League and Europa competitions. SoccerbyIves.net has the breakdown of the Champs League match ups here.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and PSG will take on Lionel Messi and Barcelona in one of the most intriguing match-ups chosen in the Round of Eight draw, which was held on Friday morning.

Juventus take on Bayern Munich in another enticing match-up as Andrea Pirlo and the Italian champions look to stop the team that has been in the best form in Europe.

Jose Mourinho will face a reunion against two of his former players in another quarterfinal as he and Real Madrid take on Didier Drogba, Wesley Sneijder and Galatasaray.

A full breakdown of the Europa League match ups can be found here.

Match Ups To Watch This Weekend (Other Than MLS Rivalry Week)

English Premier League: Only two matches pop out to me this weekend in Manchester City v Everton and Swansea v Arsenal, both games being played on Saturday.

Full match listings here.

La Liga: Getafe v Athletic Bilbao should be a good matchup as well as Valencia v Real Betis.

Full fixture list here.

Bundesliga: While Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich is definitely the marquee game this weekend, USMNT fans may want to pay attention to a game that will involve US players on both sides of the ball when FC Nurnberg take on Shalke 04.

Full fixture list here.

Scottish Premier League: After beating league giants Celtic last week Ross County will travel to Inverness Caledonia Thistle on Saturday to try and continue their 12 game unbeaten streak. The Dundee Derby is also this weekend and is always a fun game to watch.

Full fixture list here.

Well guys as always thanks so much for reading and I hope to see you all this weekend out at Pizza Hut Park.....FC Dallas Stadium.


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