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Lots of News Over the Weekend in Soccer (football)!

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The Houston Dynamo dropped another match at home with a 2-0 loss to the New England Revolution.  New England Diego Fagundez, assisted by Clyde Simms, scored the first goal for his team in the 51st minute of play, immediately following halftime. This was his third goal of the season. Houston’s Ronaldo Clark scored the second goal for New England, as the ball deflected off from Juan Agudelo’s shot in the 81st minute of play. For only the third time in the history of the franchise, Houston has lost two consecutive home games. Houston, with 20 points on the season, is tied with Montreal for third place. Sporting Kansas City is in second place with 21 points after a 1-1 draw against D.C. United. The New York Red Bulls is in first with 24 points after defeating the Los Angeles Galaxy 1-0 last Sunday night.  Houston’s next match is an away game against Sporting Kansas City on Sunday night, as they begin a 3-match road trip. Houston goes on from Kansas City to play the Columbus Crew on June 1st and the Montreal Impact on June 19th before returning home to play Toronto F.C on Saturday, June 22nd.

Other news from the Houston Dynamo front is another call-up for one of its players. Cory Ashe was added the United States Men’s National Team for their May 29th match in Cleveland against Belgium. The 27-year-old defender is the 3rd Dynamo player to be called up to the national side by United States Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann. On Wednesday, May 29th the Dynamo will host FC Tucson in the third round match of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. F.C Tucson is part of the Premier Development League and advanced to this round after defeating the San Antonio Scorpions 4-3 in penalties. Kick-off for this match is 7:30 at the BBVA Compass Stadium. This is the 100th year of this tournament, which includes MLS and all the other levels of soccer in the U.S.

There are still tickets available for the Mexico- Nigeria game next Friday at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.  Nigeria is the current champion of the African Cup of Nations and looks to show the rest of the world they are ready to qualify for the FIFA World Cup. Mexico’s head coach José Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre has named his 23-man squad for this match, as it will include Manchester United star forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernández.  The two teams have met three times in the past with a 1-0-2 record in Mexico’s favor. Tickets are limited, but may be available at any Houston-area Ticketmaster, including all Houston-area Fiesta stores. Their website is www.Ticketmaster.com and phone number is 1-800-745-3000.  The Federación Mexicana de Fútbol invites fans to use their Visa cards. This is Mexico’s last match before they continue World Cup Qualifying and play in the Confederations Cup in Brazil in June and the Gold Cup in late July.

In other Major League Soccer news, there was a huge announcement this week: New York City F.C. will be a new addition to MLS and will be the 20th team in the league. After three years in the making, New York will have a second team. Manchester City of the English Premier League and the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball in the United States combined forces and are financing this team. They begin play in 2024 and have made the first step by bringing in former United States Men’s National Team and Manchester City player Claudio Reyna as the director of football operations. By 2024 they hope to have a new stadium built in Queens, New York City. Manchester City has been involved in the area for three years supporting youth soccer programs in the New York City area. The New York Red Bulls, the other team in the area, now lends its front office to the new team. New York previously stated that they were against having another team in the region, but are now confident about the addition. MLS Commissioner Don Garber has stated that this is a natural rivalry for the area. It has always been our intention to add a new team to the New York area. This invites curiosity about who will become the 21st team to join the MLS.  Orlando is a top runner, along with Atlanta, Minneapolis St. Paul, Ottawa, Fort Lauderdale, San Antonio and others. Each city cites challenges with putting together a team. Manchester City played their first of two matches in the United States last night, defeating the Europa Cup winners, Chelsea, 4-3  in front of a 48,263-person audience at Busch Stadium in Saint Louis Missouri.  City rallied to tie the match up in the second half of play.  Then, Micah Richards scored the winning goal four minutes into extra time for the win. It was an amazing turn of events as City arrived late that afternoon before the match. This all comes after Manager Roberto Mancini was dismissed a week ago after losing the English FA Cup.  Caretaker Manager Brian Kidd said after the match, “I can’t say enough about them.” They are a very talented group of players, Kidd continues. A moment of silence was held before the match, and one dollar was donated to the victims of the Oklahoma tornado tragedy by each team and by the spectators. They play again on Saturday night at Yankee Stadium in New York City.

Bruce Arena came to terms with the Irish Football Federation and released Robbie Kean for the upcoming friendlies for the Republic of Ireland.  Rio Ferdinand signed a one-year deal with Manchester United. AS Roma midfielder Erik Lamela has earned a call-up for Argentina’s World Cup Qualifiers. Lionel Messi has also been called up but is still recovering from a hamstring injury.

This Saturday is also the European Champions League Final at Wembley Stadium in England. It will be an all-German final, as Borussia Dortmund will take on Bayern Munich. It will be the third time in Champions League history that two teams from the same country compete in a final. It will be Jupp Heynckes’ last match for Bayern, as he looks for a tremble for the German Club and his second Champions League title at age 68. The match starts at 1:30 pm Houston time and will be shown on the FOX Channel.

Finally, Gibraltar is now recognized by UEFA, the European governing body for football. They now can play international matches and qualifiers for the 2024 European Championship. Former Chelsea and Liverpool Manager Rafael Benitez is poised to join Serie A team, Napoli reports have stated, but nothing is final yet. Club President Aurelio De Laurentiis made the announcement today but said that in a few days more information will be disclosed in a formal press conference.

Rad Rich