Welcome to The Sports Brief
By: Richard Hanna
In football (soccer), the Houston Dynamo are at the end of their season run. This past Saturday night in Houston at the BBVA Compass Stadium, the Dynamo played the Montreal Impact to a 1-1 draw. Will Bruin scored the first goal for the Dynamo before halftime but Montreal’s Sanna Nyassi evened the score midway during the second half. Houston remains in fifth place with two games left in the season with a 13-8-11, 50 points in the Eastern Conference.
Sporting KC still leads with 59 points after a 1-1 draw against the Columbus Crew. Chicago Fire are in second place with 56 after their 2-0 win over the NY Red Bulls. The Dutchman Sherjill MacDonald scored both goals for the Fire who jumped three points ahead of the Red Bulls with a 17-10-5 record. The NY Red Bulls drop to fifth place with 53 points and a 15-8-9 record. DC United remains in 3rd place with 54 points. So the season in the East gets very interesting. Sporting KC’s last two matches are away against the NY Red Bulls on the 20th of October and their last match is against the Philadelphia Union at home on the 24th.
For the Houston Dynamo they next play two home games – Philadelphia on the 20th and then they play in the CONCACAF Champions League on the 23rd against Olympia. They finish the season against the Colorado Rapids away.
In the Western Conference, San Jose leads with 64 points followed by Real Salt Lake with 55 points. Seattle with 52 and LA with 50. The top five teams of each conference qualify for the playoffs. Leslie Alexander, the owner of the NBA Houston Rockets, made a offer to buy the Houston Dynamo but was turned down by the owners – Anschutz Entertainment Group. They stated their commitment to the club and the new stadium after months of negotiations.
In other news, the United States Tennis Association came out with opposition against the new stadium for a New York team in Flushing Meadows Corona park right next to Citi Field – home of the Mets. Officials with the USTA say that the noise and traffic would be the issue.
Going into the international break will also be interesting. Mexico will be playing this Friday night in Houston against Guyana in World Cup qualifying. Mexico is leading their group two standings followed by El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Guyana. The match was originally set to be played in Georgetown in their country but asked that the match be moved. They are one of three countries in South America to be a part of the Caribbean Football Association in the CONCACAF region. Mexico is no stranger to Houston as they are the most successful country in the CONCACAF region. US star forward Landon Donavon and FC Dallas midfielder Brek Shea are out for the US qualifier for Fridays match against the Antigua and Barbuda. Donavan is out with a knee injury and Shea has abdominal strain. The two will be replaced by Eddie Johnson and Allan Gordon who will join Hercules Hernandez who plays for Santos in Mexico and Clint Dempsey who plays for Tottnam in the English Premier League.
The US is tied with Guatemala at the top of their group with seven points equal on goal difference and goals scored. Jamaica has the same amount of points but is short on goal difference. The US plays Guatemala on Tuesday at Kansas City. In group C, Panama leads with nine points followed by Honduras and Canada with seven points each but Honduras is ahead on goal difference. Cuba is in last place with zero points.
In boxing news, featherweight boxer Orlando Cruz from Puerto Rico became the first openly gay man in professional sports. In the past, athletes that were gay came out after their athletic career was over. He has been boxing since the age of seven and represented Puerto Rico during the Sydney Olympics. His next fight is in Kissimmee, Florida on October 19 against Jorge Pazos as he defends his WBO and NABO title. In announcing his coming out, cruz says that he wants to be a role model for the kids. Cruz’s record – 18-2-1 with 9 knockouts – makes him the number four ranked boxer as ranked by the World Boxing Organization. Emile Griffith, who fought in the ’50s and ’60s and was a welterweight and middleweight champion, came out after he retired.
In local rugby union, a bunch of matches where canceled two weekends ago because of the rain and lighting. One of the matches was the 7’s tournament held over at Rice University. I received an email from Keith Coulter that long-time Galveston RFC stalwart Bert Blume passed away Friday morning. Our thoughts go out to his wife, Daye, and their family.
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In other rugby union news, the New Zealand All Blacks went undefeated in the inaugural 2012 Rugby Championships. Their last match they beat South Africa 32-16. To the Africans credit it wasn’t till the last part of the match that New Zealand was able to pull away. Argentina’s first appearance in this competition went well even though they lost all of their matches. They lost the last match of the competition to Australia 19-25. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Heineken Cup starts up this weekend. In rugby league, Leeds defeated Warrington 26-18 to win the Super League title this past Saturday at Old Trafford.
In cycling news, more bad news for Lance Armstrong the seven-time winner of the Tour De France. The United States Anti Doping Association came out and said that Lance and his team, United States Postal Service, ran an elaborate doping scheme never seen in sports. His former teammates have come out and said that he and the whole team was using drugs to enhance their performance during cycling races including the Tour De France. What is a shocker now is that his most trusted teammate, George Hincapie has come out and supported this claim. Armstrong has been banned from participating in any major races. This affects him participating in triathlons and running races that are sanctioned by the USADA. Armstrong himself is not fighting the claims that he cheated as he has stated he is tired of fighting claims. His lawyer has stated that the claims are false, part of a big witch hunt, and that the procedures taken where sloppy and relied on false accusations. The International Cycling Union, or the UCI, has also been critical of the claims and are still waiting to see what next steps will be taken.