Houston manager Dominic Kinnear would surely have preferred to keep his main men on the bench for tonight CONCACAF Champions League match down at BBVA Compass Stadium in Texas.
The opportunity factor was high – but the games are coming fast and furious and MLS playoff positioning is the priority, and rest for the regulars is paramount.
So he left Oscar Boniek Garcia, Brad Davis and Will Bruin in the bench to start, but did turn to his top trio of attackers as second half subs. And they made the difference, helping to create a late goal as the Dynamo seized control of Group 1 with an important 2-1 win over Panama’s Arabe Unido.
The Panamanians scored early on penalty kick and only a big save from Tally Hall kept the Dynamo from going down 2-0 at home. Remember, in the new, smaller group format of this annual tournament, points are especially precious because there are fewer group stage matches. Thus, just one loss at home would do serious damage chances of advancing into next year’s elimination rounds.
But Cam Weaver scored after 22 minutes as the Dynamo fought off injury-stall theatrics from the bunkering visitors, not to mention Unido’s fairly dangerous counter attack.
Boniek Garcia came in at the half for Alex Dixon. Davis was soon on for Jason Johnson, and Bruin came in for the final 13 minutes in place of young forward Alexander Lopez. Houston was more assured in the second half, and it was the veteran Davis who fed Weaver for the game-winner.
The win was especially important to cinch off any lingering hurt from the franchise’s worst loss to date, a 5-0 spanking from Montreal in Canada last weekend.
Houston is back into MLS play Sunday at Chicago.
CARDIFF, Wales (AP) — Chris Coleman says he chose to remain as Wales manager despite interest from Premier League side Hull because he’s in a job that is “close to his heart.”
The Football Association of Wales rejected an approach for Coleman from Hull this month, with the Welshman deciding to stay on rather than resigning.
Coleman, who guided Wales to the European Championship semifinals against the odds, said on Wednesday that “if someone comes and it’s the Premier League, anybody, you kind of look at it sideways. Of course.”
But, Coleman added, managing your country “comes around once, if you’re lucky.”
Coleman has made no secret of his desire to manage in club football in the future, but says “what I’ve got here is something very special and close to my heart.”
Who’s going to join Porto, Monaco, Legia Warsaw, Ludogorets Razgrad and Celtic as playoff teams to join the UEFA Champions League group stage?
The biggest names of Wednesday’s slate are cruising after their first legs, with Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach putting five and three goals on the board, respectively.
[ MORE: Champions League Tues. roundup ]
Could the match be Joe Hart‘s last for City? The longtime backstop gets the call with the transfer window a week away.
In the other three cases, things are wide open. Rostov plays Ajax, Red Bull Salzburg faces Dinamo Zagreb, and APOEL lines up Copenhagen.
Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League slate — FOLLOW LIVE
Borussia Monchengladbach (3) vs. (1) BSC Young Boys
Rostov (1) vs. (1) Ajax
Red Bull Salzburg (1) vs. (1) Dinamo Zagreb
APOEL (0) vs. (1) Copenhagen
Manchester City (5) vs. Steaua Bucuresti (0)
The newly-renamed EFL Cup, formerly the League Cup, rolls on Wednesday with four more matches ahead of the evening’s third-round draw.
American attacker Lynden Gooch starts for Sunderland, while Tim Ream starts for Fulham and Luca de la Torre is on the Cottagers’ bench. Emerson Hyndman is on the bench for Bournemouth.
Tuesday’s action saw Premier League sides West Brom and Watford excused from the tournament.
Wednesday’s EFL Cup schedule — FOLLOW LIVE
Accrington Stanley vs. Burnley
Fulham vs. Middlesbrough
Morecambe vs. Bournemouth
Sunderland vs. Shrewsbury Town
Robbie Keane is ending a big chapter in his career.
Fear not, Galaxy fans, the 36-year-old living L.A. legend isn’t calling it quits on club soccer, but Keane is done with representing the Republic of Ireland.
Keane will play one more game for the Boys in Green, a friendly against Oman next week, before leaving the Republic to qualify for the World Cup without him.
[ MORE: Yedlin, Newcastle make it official ]
In a sprawling and understandably emotional — if not moving — statement, Keane says he isn’t going to stop playing for his club anytime soon, and that he hardly dreamed he’d get to this point.
No player has been capped (145) or scored (67) as many times for Ireland than Keane.