Champs' Cup Send-Off

I'm happy to report that there's a fair breadth of coverage ahead of the Houston Dynamo's and DC United's entry into the CONCACAF Champions' Cup today.

On the DC United side, fronted a respectably cautious preview on their "ever-smiling" site, though, not surprisingly, Steve Goff's write-up for the Washington Post adds some tarnish to that silver lining. And the DC United blogs that come readily to mind (An American's View and DCenters) have also chucked some warm thoughts on the fire.

As always, the Houston Chronicle has this covered (and how: LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK - nice local color/flavor on this last one) and the Soccer y Futbol blog chips in nicely with details on the weather, the sun, what to expect from the Dynamo by way of tactics, etc.

Put it all together and you've got something like good reason to 1) be pessimistic about the MLS clubs' prospects, 2) expect to be somewhat bored when you take in these games. If I hear about the "conditioning angle" one more time....I don't know....I'll be forced to blot it out with cheap whiskey? (Sorry: horrible night's sleep last night; that's the best I've got today.) Moving to more concrete details, and differences in team style that will likely manifest during the regular season aside, I expect the tactics Soccer y Futbol expects from Houston will match those from DC United (and I think it's fair to say the DCenters write-up concurs):

"Don't be surprised to see 10 Dynamos in their half when Puntarenas has the ball. It will be a wait-and-see approach to conserve as much energy as possible."

So, no, our guys don't have the legs to play for the ages, but I'm jonesin' so, so badly for the regular season that I'd probably tune in to watch team practice if Fox Soccer was willing to show it. Like a lot of you, I've adjusted my expectations to the point that a narrow loss will be cause enough to celebrate - though that's not to say I believe an actual result is impossible either.

Nice as the local stuff is, I'm going to credit Jeff Carlisle with the best one-stop, combined preview I've seen. There's just lots of good stuff in here, from players to watch on the Central American teams, to one great, big detail I totally overlooked when writing my preview on these games - and that's in spite of looking fairly closely at each tournament since the late 1990s: both MLS victories in the Champions' Cup (DC United, 1998; LA Galaxy, 2000) happened on U.S. soil. That should have been pretty obvious - especially considering I caught the 1998 edition live.

Anyway, good luck to both teams - and their fans. You've got at least one New England fan at your backs.

On a personal note, circumstances came together in such a way as to allow me time and space to watch both of today's games. This made me happy. It only occurred to me this morning that, because I have to tape the Houston/Puntarenas game, I'll more than likely discover the outcome from that game - and likely again and again - when I take in DC United/CD Olimpia. This made me sad.

I don't know what I'll do at this point. Probably watch the Houston game anyway, just to see what they look like. The principle at work here isn't all that different than the one affecting methadone and heroin....

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