Opening Match to Opening Training Camp: 5 Soccer Notes From the Weekend
If the soccer gods could have scripted a way to start the spring break weekend in Houston, this would have been it. A 4-0 rout for the Houston Dynamo in their opening match, followed by a picturesque day for the Houston Dash to open training camp on Monday.
The main event was of course the Dynamo who had three goals in the opening half to easily dispatch the New England Revolution in front of 22,000 plus in attendance here in Houston.
Here are a couple of soccer notes that Hair Balls took from the last couple of days.
5. Will Bruin off to a sizzling start
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Bruin got off to the quickest start possible for the Dynamo --- to the tune of an opening goal in the second minute of the match. He then followed that up with a second goal just 11 minutes later. By the time the Revs could settle in Bruin already had them in a 2-0 hole.
Bruin had the opportunity to net a third goal in the second half when he broke free and went one-on-one with the Rev's goalkeeper, only to get denied his chance at the hat-trick.
The start was promising for the fourth year striker out of Indiana. He took a step back last season, with media pundits criticizing his progression, Bruin only had his confidence to hold on to.
"I never lost confidence in myself and neither did the guys in the locker room," Bruin said after the match.
4. Horst was dominant in central defense
The Dynamo lost veteran defender Bobby Boswell during the off-season to DC United. The Orange seemed to have found their man in David Horst.
The Dynamo acquired Horst in a trade from the Portland Timbers just days after they were eliminated from the MLS Cup Playoffs. Horst was injured for most of the 2013 MLS season. So it was natural that the team was a bit concerned about his fitness coming into Saturday's match.
Horst was brilliant in defense. Aside from a few natural opening match jitters, he was excellent in the air, and was able to keep the speedy Teal Bunbury at bay. Although it's only the first match, it appears as if the vacancy at central defense is now Horst's to lose.
3. Boniek belongs in the center of the pitch
Since his arrival to Houston, the Honduran playmaker has spent his time on the right side of the midfield for the Dynamo. Last season, head coach Dominic Kinnear gave him the freedom to roam into the middle of the pitch as he saw fit.
Because of a couple of injuries in the midfield, Boniek Garcia started as the central attacking midfielder, and the results were superb.
He was dangerous all night, forcing the Revs midfield to stay in a defensive shape - preventing them from joining in on the attack. He also notched in the third goal of the match in the 23rd minute; his first of the season.
2. Dash open preseason camp
It's been three month's since the Houston Dash were officially announced as the newest team in the National Women's Soccer League. On Monday, head coach Randy Waldrum finally got to see first hand the team he assembled in such a short period of time.
He was impressed that the ladies arrived to camp in shape, and spent the most part of his first training session Monday getting a feel for what certain players could do.
"We did a lot of technical work, just to get the girls an idea of what we're trying to do and for us to see them first hand" Waldrum said after practice. "But it will take a few days for us to settle in and players will start to separate themselves."
1. Dash not done building roster
Of the 32 players on the practice pitch at Houston Sports Park today, only 15 were under contract with the Dash. The other 17 were trialists invited to try and earn a spot on the opening match roster or practice squad.
There were still a few stand outs that weren't present today. The Canadian internationals were with Team Canada as they are currently playing in the Cyprus cup. Then there were a couple of players who were with the US Women's National Team as they are competing in the Algarve Cup in Sweden.
Also, US national teamers Whitney Engen and Meghan Klingenburg are still under contract with Swedish side Tyreso until they finish the UEFA Women's Champions League. They're not expected to join the Dash until late May, early June.
Waldrum and Managing Director Brian Ching will evaluate the trialist, as well as keep scouting for additional players domestically or abroad.
The Dash continue to train, looking toward their first preseason match on March 19 against the Rice University.
The Dynamo look to continue their one game winning streak on Saturday as the host Montreal Impact at BBVA Compass Stadium.