Sports Brief: MLS, NFL, Houston Marathon, Lance Armstrong, and Women’s Rugby
Hello– here’s another week in sports with a lot going on.
In Major League Soccer news, yesterday was the start of training camp for the Houston Dynamo. The Dynamo are looking to get everybody on the same page since being one game away from winning last year’s MLS Cup against the LA Galaxy. This year brings lots of hurdles, as there is World Cup Qualifying, the CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer, and the CONCACAF Champions League play. During the off season, the Dynamo were able to keep most of the players intact.
During the 2013 MLS Super Draft, they were able to pick up Virginia Commonwealth University forward, Jason Johnson, and Georgetown defender, Jimmy Nealis. The season kicks off on March 2 against DC United, followed by the quarterfinal series against Santos Laguna. Brian Ching is among many of Houston’s top players coming back this season.
Head coach Dominic Kinnear stated today that everyone is focused and looking to improve upon last year; and he knows it’s a long season with all of the added matches and player’s availability for international duty, but it’s a part of the game. Dynamo midfielder Ricardo Clark stated that the fans have been very supportive of the team.
The taste of last year is even more motivation for everybody to get going into this year.
In running, Houston had a tone of bad weather, as cold and rain affected the Houston Marathon this past Sunday. Twenty-year-old Merima Mohammed of Ethiopia won the women’s race, despite the cold weather and some muscle tightness in her legs. Her 2:23:27 was the second fastest women’s winner in the history of the Houston Marathon. Twenty-two-year-old Ethiopian, Bazu Worku, won the men’s race with a time of 2:10:17. He ran in a pack of nine until the 25k mark, when he decided to break away and stretch his lead each following mile. In fact, he finished more than 2 minutes before Teferi Balcha, who finished in second place with a time of 2:12:50. The top US men’s finisher was Andrew Carlson, and the top US women’s finisher was Tera Moody. Carson was seventh overall at 2:17:16. Moody finished in sixth place at 2:39:10. After the race, an announcement was made that Houston and Columbus are the two cities picked to host the USA Half Marathon Championships from 2014 to 2017, Houston being the host for 2014 and 2015. The men’s and women’s championship race will be held in conjunction with the Houston Half marathon. Wade Morehead, the Executive Director of the Houston Marathon, said, “We would like to thank USATAF, as we are honored to taking responsibility again.” USATAF CEO Max Siegle said, “We look forward to working with both cities with what we promise to be four years of elite running, and showcasing the best in that will highlight the talent of our nation’s best talent.”
In NFL news, the Houston Texans were not able to defeat the New England Patriots in New England last Sunday night. They lost 41-28 in the AFC divisional playoff game. After the loss, some are looking back at their lack of preparation for the game. The patriots now go on to play the Baltimore Ravens next Sunday in New England, with the kickoff at 5:30pm. Looks like the Houston Texans will have to wait till next year, because it will be San Fransisco and Baltimore playing in the Superbowl in New Orleans this year. San Francisco defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 and Baltimore defeated New England 28-13, earning both of their spots in the Super Bowl.
In cycling, of course, is the Lance Armstrong Saga. I raced against him years ago, and as stated, I never been around someone that hard as a rider. Was he on drugs back then? I don’t think so. But he has been asked by the International Olympic Committee for him to give back his 2000 Olympic bronze medal from the road race time trial. The decision was made in December, but they waited till UCI cycling governing body had stripped him of his 7 Tour de France win,s to which he did not appeal. All this has come to a foil as he appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show, where he claimed he was using drugs to enhance his performance, and had been lying for years. This leaves 3 times champion Greg LeMond as the only American to win cycling’s biggest race. He stated that If Armstrong had given Floyd Landis or Tyler Hamilton the same stuff he was taking, he would have never have won.
In Rugby news, the International Women’s Rugby 7’s tournament is to take place next week February 1 and 2rd at the BBVA Compass Stadium in downtown Houston. That’s it for now. Until next time!
by Erin Dyer