So, sitting here this afternoon thoroughly enjoying the Bundesliga back in action after an interminable winter break, I have come across a series of stories that might just warm the hearts of us Houston Dynamo supporters near and far.
First comes this excellent piece from Soccer America about Geoff Cameron in USMNT camp. My favorite of the piece is when TheGiraffe starts talking about the solidity across Dynamo's back line at the end of last season, creating what he called "Alcatraz." Testify Geoff:
"We kind of had a cool thing in the back about keeping a clean sheet," says Cameron of Houston’s defensive unit. "We called it our ‘Alcatraz,’ we don’t want people coming in and trying to beat our back four, kind of hold it down like a prison. We joked about that but in games we took it seriously. Guys were given opportunities in the back to step up and that led up top to the forwards. As a collective group, it jelled us and helped us start that run."
Now extend that out over the course of a season, say the 2012 run, and just try not to feel excited.
Secondly, we have a nice piece from the Major League Soccer Soccer site about Colin (Not Chris...Not Chris...Not Chris) Rolfe. Despite what we saw in the video posted on this site the other day, the kid is now saying all the right things despite being a guy who's seen his stock fall from sure Top 10 pick to late first-rounder in the span of a year. Witness:
Now looking to make his transition to the professional ranks, Rolfe is focused on looking forward. But his dip in stock certainly provides motivation now that he’s reached MLS.
"I’d say so," Rolfe told MLSsoccer.com by phone Monday. "But at the same time, I’m trying not to look too much into that as much as coming in here and learning as much as I can and not take any experience for granted."
Still, he does go on to say that with Brian Ching and Carlo Costly gone, he believes there are "minutes there to be had." Personally, I still have some reservations about Rolfe and his mentality coming into camp next week, but I have to temper that with the knowledge of (A) I have never met this guy, (B) lots of draftees grow up pretty quick and (C) it's not really a knock against a forward to say that he's headstrong, now is it?
Thirdly, this one is a bit less Dynamo-centric. Grant Wahl in SI has a very interesting piece about what it's like as an American to be playing professionally in Mexico. Sunshine and lollipops this ain't.
On Wednesday, Beasley, 29, revealed on Twitter that twice in the past week Mexican police had stopped his car and demanded bribes, threatening to confiscate his driver's license. (According to Beasley, he paid $225 and $45, respectively.) Then there's the issue of his own paycheck. "We haven't gotten paid for December," he tells SI.com. "We don't know when that's going to happen, don't know if it's going to happen."
And that's off the field.
Fourth, in this link, a certain Ghanian Who Shall Not Be Named thinks the Chicago Fire are going to pick up where they left off. What, with more draws? One thing's for sure, the Fire should be nice and regular this year.
Fifth, and this is more of an anti-link. Ace footy writer Steve Davis announced an end to his Daily Soccer Fix blog, citing time constraints with his other writing assignments. While I understand completely, as you have to make limits somewhere, it's too bad because his stuff is always good. Want to read a great piece about soccer? Just read Steve Davis.
And we end this piece with a question and poll. Last year Brian Ching was of course, when he played, Captain Kamehameha, the unquestioned leader of the pack. And Brad Davis was the vice captain, more than ably donning the armband when Ching was out, which was frequent (Hope you enjoy that, Montreal fans!!). So the question is, now that Davis starts the season as Dynamo captain, who's his No. 2?