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Soccer Science: The Heart of a Goal

BRIDGEVIEW, IL - APRIL 15: Brian Ching #25 of the Houston Dynamo and Pavel Pardo #17 of the Chicago Fire battle for the ball during an MLS match at Toyota Park on April 15, 2012 in Bridgeview, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
BRIDGEVIEW, IL - APRIL 15: Brian Ching #25 of the Houston Dynamo and Pavel Pardo #17 of the Chicago Fire battle for the ball during an MLS match at Toyota Park on April 15, 2012 in Bridgeview, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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After 3 weeks of sitting around, and 70+ minutes of rain delays, the Dynamo's match against the Chicago Fire was called off - officially slated as a final 1-1 score. That means 7 points from our first 4 road matches (a tally, you might recall, that we had hoped to get from the first 7 matches combined). So things are going fairly well.

The biggest player in this match was the rain, which was only predicted to be a 10% chance. Well, it would've helped to have Ollie Williams reporting the forecast, because I swear I heard a SportsTalk 790 announcer comment that it was raining sideways.

Still, through the wind, hail, and thunderclaps, the Dynamo were able to eke out the vital 1-1 road win. A moment of divine connection between Ching and Bruin was cancelled out by a moment of excruciatingly bad luck via Logan Pause's back. I'd complain about the unlucky deflection, but I get a feeling I'm becoming a broken record with all the complaining about deflections. Life goes on, thats football. This was a tough one this week. A combination of Galavision being horrible, MLS blacking out the online broadcast, and my untimely work schedule left me seeing the match in small nibbles. But did I see enough to even start commenting on the match as a whole? Definitely not. Luckily, this isn't a match report, instead its taking the form of some long-winded metaphor in the hopes of tickling your scientific fancy. Taking artistic license firmly in hand, and the knowledge that this is one of the few moments of the match I actually witnessed live, lets look at The Dancing Bear's inaugural 2012 goal. Also, pop culture and random quips. That too. Jump away friends.

My initial reaction to Bruin's goal? A big fist pump, launching myself out of my chair, searching for the eyes of someone to share the great moment with...only to inevitably realize that I'm in the library. So I sat down, took a deep breath, and gave another more location-friendly fist pump. Then maybe a little dancing.

A more measured response, and closer look, revealed how pretty the goal was. Ching's inch-perfect through ball to Will revealed a type of strike-partnership we haven't seen in quite some time. Bruin's finish, lifting the ball around a stranded Sean Johnson, will hopefully allow him settle back into the form that dominated preseason play.

That play, lost in a sea of rain-soaked confusion, was clockwork. Some might compare it to art or innate inspiration, but what impressed me was the coordinated series of events that carried the ball from back to front. The play was strung together by four fluid moves. Ashe to Taylor gave the left back space to switch defense for the freedom to move. Taylor to Bruin switched that freedom for transition. Bruin to Ching primed the attack, and Ching to Bruin ensured success.

First short, Second long...Third short, Fourth long. Hasn't every peewee soccer player ran that drill ad nauseam? And hasn't every person's heart beat in just that pattern?

Yep. The human heart, the biological definition of clockwork. Just like the ball in the Dynamo's goal-scoring play, blood through the human heart travels in a four step pattern:

Small pump: low-oxygen blood (blue) in the right atrium is pushed into the adjacent right ventricle. Big pump: the right ventricle launches blood towards the lungs, where it is oxygenated (red) and returned to the left atrium. Small pump: the oxygenated blood is pushed into the adjacent left ventricle. Big pump: the left ventricle, thickly lined with muscle mass, propels blood to the far reaches of the body. The blood travels to oxygenate hard working tissues and preserve life.


Image Courtesy of Dekalb County School District

Two separate prepping phases, followed by two active attacking plays set Bruin on his way. Once through on goal, success and survival on this rigorous road trip was assured. The clockwork movement of Ashe, Taylor, Ching, and Bruin is hopefully a sign of what's to come. We were rusty this week, but were able to put together one coordinated attack. With more regular games, and the return of regular starters, these blood-pumping movements will become more regular. Just like your good 'ol ticker.

Fashion Faux Pas of the Week

Nike released the full battery of new jerseys for international clubs this week. And, unlike their American football counterparts, things actually changed other than slapping a nike swoosh on it somewhere. There has been plenty of debate over the look of the new American "Where's Waldo?" jersey. Honestly, I'm not the biggest fan. But the released pictures of USMNT and USWNT players wearing them made it look slightly cooler.

One note of debate: some people complained that being unique is more important than having a good-looking jersey (that may look like a million others) I get it. Simply going with the regular white jersey lacks pizzazz, but you can still look badass and be unique. Look at the new Netherlands kit. Same classic look, but with dramatic angular designs on the front. Pretty darn cool. Thats what we should aim for, instead of hitting the footballing world over the head with patriotism.

Big Ups to the Alamo City

The Scorpions held their first-ever home match in the NASL on Sunday, hosting the Puerto Rico Islanders. The result from the soccer-starved city? A stadium packed with 13k+ fans. While the result on the field gave an indication of what its like being an expansion squad in a 2nd tier league (4-0 loss, with 2 missed PKs), the response from SG's was only positive. The city loves soccer, and recognizes the importance of the franchises "Soccer For a Cause" business model.

San Antonio needs an attacking catalyst, however. While Soto didn't make it onto the field, which is disappointing, I'd like to think it had something to do with his inclusion in our mid-week friendly. I'll be looking for him to play more regularly over this month-long loan. That should garner some goals for the Scorpions.

Two Day Food Coma

For the past couple of weeks I've been writing a little something on a delightful meal I had during the week. This week is no different, as my roommates and I went to Magnolia Pancake Haus in San Antonio for some brunch. Brunch is the best. Magnolia does brunch. So Magnolia is best. Simple.

The meal was a flavor-loaded onslaught against my stomach, and reduced me to a new level of senioritis over the past couple days. My highlight? Banana's Foster Pancakes. Side? Bacon waffles. Cholesterol? Through the roof.

Apropos Hip-Hop Video of the Week

Video Courtesy of Louis74147

It wasn't going to last much longer, was it? Adding hip-hop videos to the end of these posts, Kanye was eventually going to sneak his way in here. Much to your chagrin, I'm sure. And while including Kim K along with him might soften the blow, I'm not going to do that. Anyways, back to it.

Its so good to have Ching back in orange, and his inch-perfect pass was indicative of the type of moments he can create in a Dynamo jersey. The big brother of this team never lets me (or this franchise) down. His brilliance allowed Bruin to open his season account, which should be added to if he is hitting any sort of form. Is the Ching-Bruin pairing thriving yet? Not exactly. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come. Next up is Columbus, a match that we should most certainly take points from. Four matches in and we have already reached our (slightly pessimistic) 7 point goal for the road trip. The three matches left before the opening of BBVA could see us steal a few more points to close out the stretch. It'll help if our defense to offense transition is as fluid and deliberate as a heartbeat.

Forza Naranja.