A soccer rant

Can Dynamo gain more relevance in Houston?

Houston Dynamo hosted Columbus Crew SC in the first "End Cancer Night" at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Glenn Davis is the host of Soccer Matters on ESPN 97.5 FM every Tuesday 7-9 p.m. (podcasts) and a play-by-play announcer for ESPN, FOX Sports and local Houston Dynamo broadcasts. Davis was a professional soccer defender for the United Soccer League's Houston Dynamos in the 1980s and a youth coach for several years.

I am climbing up on the soapbox after seeing the attendance at both the Dynamo and Dash games this weekend in a city of 6.5 million people. This is a very general post that does not go in to details.

As a play-by-play commentator, I want to be calling games with a sold-out BBVA Compass Stadium showcased on TV. Why don't we believe we can be like Sporting Kansas City or Portland and sell out every match? Yes I want what Atlanta, Minnesota, Seattle and other markets have: pressure, fans, discussion, desire to make it all better and a esprit de corps with like minded individuals in larger numbers yet I feel we have become content.

Houston is a great soccer city but it is being judged in many cases for the attendance that we have had over the years in MLS, which has created a fatigue. We have many that pander to the MLS product instead of treating it professionally and talking pros and cons.

Every weekend bars are packed with fans of Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona, Tigres and so on. Stop this nonsense that this is not a "potentially" great MLS city.

Stop believing that media will cover our sport outside of the big international matches. Relationships must be created with media and this will take time and effort to bring the Dynamo into the consciousness of our sports media landscape.

We are not entitled to coverage and it is time to change hearts and minds about our game.

So what is it WE can do IF this means something to you?

Support those that cover the sport, demand more from those that don't cover the sport. Support those that sponsor the sport. Attend games. Grow the soccer culture.

Why can't our supporters groups grow and swell to larger proportions? I want to see passionate groups like El Batallón and Texian Army extend and grow the game further!

You can also hold us all accountable including your two professional teams. Speak out, call my radio show Soccer Matters on ESPN 97.5 FM, I have a platform for you!

Healthy criticism means you have arrived! Above all, have fun.

Call other radio shows, talk with your friends, debate. I run in to people all the time that want to talk soccer and Dynamo to me.

The current Dynamo squad is arguably the most excited that we have had with pace, youth, a high-tempo game and yes they are getting results. Games are exciting at BBVA but don't think just winning will bring fans to a stadium - it simply is a component.

You are allowed to be critical and you are allowed to look at the team "through orange glasses," this is your choice and this is the beauty of supporting your team and being a fan.

Lets end the excuses. Excuses mean you do not have answers or solutions.

Remarkably, I heard someone say to me the other day that the Dynamo should be moved to St. Louis. I was stunned. I have heard those supposedly involved in our sport tell me "Houston is not a good soccer market."

You can be a part of making MLS more relevant in this market if you believe in the product! If you don't, I want to know why and the Houston Dynamo need to hear you.

We have a lot to be fortunate for in this city with two professional teams, regular stops for huge international matches and an amazing youth and adult soccer community. The ceiling is high with so much potential on all fronts.

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Composite photo by Jack Brame

As things continue to relax as far as the COVID-19 pandemic is concerned, a return to a semblance of normalcy seems imminent. The NBA has some parameters in place for a potential return. Training camps are set to open late this month and the season is supposed to open July 31. Whether that's the rumored Disney-centered one-stop shop or another form, they have a plan in place to return. There's also no argument between the league and players going back and forth about money either (MLB could learn a lesson here).

So when it comes to the potential return, how does that fare for the local team? The Rockets were 40-24 and tied for the fifth seed in the West when the season was shut down. Since they're getting ready to return potentially, we need to be looking at what chances they may have in making a run in the playoffs towards an NBA title.



Harden's new physique

According to his new trainer, James Harden has done more cardio workouts and lost some weight. Specifically, he's done more football player workouts as opposed to basketball player workouts. There was a pic of Harden floating around showing an obvious loss of weight. His new-found cardio and weight loss could mean more late-game and late-season success for Harden and the Rockets.

Westbrook's edge

Russell Westbrook has a competitive fire that can't be put out. It's like one of those never-ending burning torches you see at monuments. He wants nothing more than to prove he's a winner on a high level. Given that he's reunited with a long time friend in Harden, his competitive nature could help fill the gap where Harden may lack. These two have proven they can coexist very well this season. Now could be their time to take surge.

Small-ball

When the Rockets traded Clint Capela, they fully committed to small-ball. There were times they didn't have a guy in the lineup over 6'5. The tallest guy that gets regular time is roughly 6'8. The smaller, quicker lineup is an advantage on the offensive end, but can be a huge liability on the defensive end. Given the stoppage and restart of the season, it could help them. Suppose other teams are sluggish and can't get their chemistry straight. Houston's advantage is that they go through one or two guys and eat off their shooting. Shooting can be worked on during times like these, whereas other aspects of your game can't.


I'm not saying the Rockets have a built-in advantage, but they have as good a shot as they've ever had in the past. The field is wide open to any team that's in the playoff hunt. No team will have a built-in advantage over others. With the Rockets' unique brand of ball, they may be able to make a run at a title this season. Couple that with Harden's weight loss and Westbrook's competitive nature, it could be very interesting. Whenever the NBA comes back this season, which I believe they will, I think this team has a legit shot at winning it all.

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