Big D Soccer News Update June 11

"I see you Houstank!" - Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

What is that smell coming in from the south? Oh it's just Houston......

Howdy folks! Well it's certainly going to be a busy week of footy action with FC Dallas playing two games in four days and the USMNT playing three in seven.

FC Dallas

There's been a lot of talk lately about what strength of squad FCD should roll out for their game Wednesday night against the hated Houston Dynamo in the 4th round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. FCDallas.com's Daniel Robertson spoke with one Hoops player who's not only ready for Wednesday, but also happens to be FCD's all time scorer against Houston.

FC Dallas forward Kenny Cooper has never quite had a nickname stick through his career, but perhaps “Houston Hitman” would be appropriate.

...“That win or go home theme is one you see in other sports in the playoffs…you see it now in the NBA,” said Cooper. “It makes for great games and I think they’re games that players really, really get up for.

“The game against Houston is always very important to the club whether it’s a friendly, reserve game, Open cup or league game. I think as players we know how important [it is] any time we put on our jersey and go up against the in-state rivals.”

I for one think this game is just as important as Saturday's game in Portland, but then again I also really, really, REALLY want to see Houston lose again in Frisco. What do you guys think?

Oh, and can we please start using "Houston Hitman" as a regular nickname for Coop? I love it.

All ticketing information for Wednesday's derby can be found at FCDallas.com.

FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo are bringing their Texas Derby to the centennial edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with a fourth round matchup at FC Dallas Stadium on Wednesday, June 12. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.

All tickets for the match will be $20 general admission seats with the exception of season ticket holders. All full season ticket holders can reserve their normal seat location with a $12 donation to the Tickets for Troops program, while partial plan holders can reserve seats with a $15 donation. The Budweiser Beer Garden will also be open for the match, while the River Club by WinStar World Casino will be open to everyone.

Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster or by calling 888-FCD-GOAL (323-4625).

If you need a reason to get hyped (shame on you) here's a video from FC Dallas Media Services.

Please get out to support the Hoops on Wednesday! Sure you may be a little tired on Thursday morning but who wants to miss the chance to see FCD beat up on the Dynamo...again!

The May 25th game (WIN!!!) against San Jose not only marked the continuation of FC Dallas' home unbeaten streak, it also marked the introduction of the 13th member of the FC Dallas Century Club, George John. FCD's Daniel Robertson spoke with GJ, his team members, and coaches about what the past 100 have meant for the big CB and about his growth as a team leader.

For midfielder Andrew Jacobson, John’s development can be seen in two main areas.

“One is as a leader; I think he has a good grasp of the game and understands what everyone’s supposed to be doing, so he’s a great leader on the field that gets everyone motivated and gets guys to do their jobs,” said Jacobson. “I think the other part is his belief in himself. I think when I arrived, he knew he was good, but I think now he’s starting to really understand and a lot it is how much he believes in himself.”

“When a great forward has the ball, he believes he can take it from him.”

High praise for a player that none of us were sure would even be in Frisco this season.

Daniel also sat down with George for a Q & A session to find out more about G Double John.

What's your favorite thing about living in Texas?

Barbeque and the people.

What's the toughest thing to adjust to living in Texas?

Driving everywhere and not being able to walk many places.

What's one Texan habit you’ve picked up?

"Ya’ll"…I’m not sure if that’s Texan or just the south, but I like it.

Congratulations George on an amazing accomplishment. Here's to 100 more!

Speaking of George John, Drew reported here earlier the MLS All Star ballots are out, and somehow GJ didn't make the list of players eligible to be voted on. Six FCD players did make the ballot though and you can head here to go vote for all of them!

Steve Davis at Pro Soccer Talk discusses some of the glaring problems with the MLS All Star voting system, including the GJ snub.

Some of these [omissions] are so bad, they make me want to drive around the country slapping people on the back of their noggins, the way Special Agent Gibbs does in NCIS.

(Embarrassingly, the ballot was chosen by media voters. I was one of them … but I am not guilty of any of the following.) Some of the head-scratchers:

  • Lionard Pajoy? Lionard Pajoy? Seriously? The D.C. United forward has 10 goals in 44 MLS appearances – far, far from MLS All-Star production.
  • The absence of FC Dallas center back George John is inexplicable. He has been instrumental in helping Schellas Hyndman’s team merge into July with the league’s best record.
  • Sounders DP striker Obafemi Martins is absent, although good cases can be made for most of Seattle’s six choices. (Michael Gspurning, DeAndre Yedlin, Djimi Traore, Osvaldo Alonso, Mauro Rosales and Eddie Johnson.) Traore is the one I might replace.

Make sure to go check out the full article at NBCSports.com.

Know Thine Enemy

It's Houston. Enough said.

USMNT

After Brad Evans' last minute game winner against Jamaica last Friday the USMNT are riding high going into Seattle tonight against Panama. MLSSoccer.com's Charles Boehm has a great breakdown of the match tonight at CenturyLink Field.

The US have been dominant in this matchup through the years, owning an 8-1-2 overall record against Panama, including a 7-1-1 home mark. All but one of those meetings occurred in CONCACAF play, whether Gold Cup or World Cup qualifying.

Many current USMNT fans will remember that one setback, however: a galling 2-1 group-stage loss in Tampa in the 2011 Gold Cup. The US took revenge with a victory over La Marea Roja when they met in the tournament's knockout stages, but the doubts about coach Bob Bradley and his team persisted and he was replaced by Jurgen Klinsmann after the 4-2 Gold Cup final loss to Mexico.

With the win on Friday the US are now in the drivers seat to get themselves qualified for Brazil '14. A strong showing tonight (with a little help from our enemies) would greatly increase those chances and give Jurgen Klinsmann a nice cushion to work with over the next few months.

One of the big concerns with the game tonight being hosted in Seattle has been the playing surface. CenturyLink field has put down a layer of sod over the horrid turf and not everyone has been happy about it. The Sounders and the Vancouver Whitecaps played on the same surface on Saturday and MLSsoccer.com's Martin Macmahon points out that 'Caps 'keeper Brad Knighton was less than happy about it.

But it wasn't just the injury [to Caps CB Andy O'Brien]. Knighton also was unhappy with the surface, which consisted of a temporary grass field overtop CenturyLink’s artificial turf.

"Not to make excuses, but the field was ridiculously terrible,” Knighton said. “It's heavy, it's bumpy, the turfs coming up, and it's just a weird surface to play on. Anytime you put grass on top of turf you are going to get something like that.

I wasn't able to watch this game but I have heard a lot of grumblings about it.

During Monday's USMNT press conference, Captain Clint Dempsey, who's been vocal about this type of turf in the past, spoke about what he thought of the CenturyLink pitch. Story via Jonah Freedman for MLSsoccer.com.

“I’d rather play on real grass over turf than to play on turf,” the US captain said at Monday’s press conference. “But the ball rolls good. It felt fine playing on it [at training] yesterday. We’ll get another chance to play on it today, and they’ll water the field and the ball will be moving quickly ­– which is important – and rolling true.”

Both teams will be playing without key members of their squads on Tuesday. Goal.com brings us the stories. Panama will be without (FCD man) Blas Perez due to stomach issues (hey it's better than an injury).

An inexperienced U.S. back line that hasn't kept a clean sheet for three games received some positive news ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Panama.

Striker Blas Perez didn't make the trip to Seattle ahead of Tuesday's match as he's suffering from gastroenteritis. The FC Dallas front man played 70 minutes in a 0-0 draw with Mexico on Friday, but withdrew ahead of the U.S. game.

(story via Zach Lee Rigg)

The US will be with out Striker Herculez Gomez for the foreseeable future due to a lingering knee injury. Story via Avi Creditor.

Herculez Gomez was released from U.S. national team camp Monday ahead of Tuesday's World Cup qualifying match against Panama because of a lingering knee injury, U.S. Soccer announced during a pre-match press conference in Seattle.

The US will also be missing GerMerican Jermaine Jones as a precautionary measure after he took a knock to the head on Friday in Kingston. Story via Seth Vertelney.

The Schalke player was subbed off on Friday in the USA's 2-1 win over Jamaica with what was later diagnosed as a mild concussion, and was considered unlikely to feature for his team on Tuesday.

With Jones out, the USA could turn to Geoff Cameron to fill the center midfield slot. The Stoke utility man came on for Jones in the Jamaica match. Other options include Joe Corona, Sacha Kljestan and Stuart Holden.

Whatever starting XI that take the field tonight make sure you get out to support the boys at either American Outlaw watching party at The Staggering Irishman in Dallas or Abbey Pub in Fort Worth.

That's all I've got for today boys and girls! Thanks for giving us a read and as always make sure to let us know what you think in the comments below.

Go Gringos Go!!

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