Houston Dynamo Defeat Puntarenas, FIFA Bans Head Scarves, and More
By Nick Barbaro,
7:37PM, Wed. Mar. 7, 2007
The Houston Dynamo beat Costa Rica’s Puntarenas, 2-0, last Thursday night in College Station, avenging a 1-0 first-leg loss and advancing to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions Cup. The goals came, one in each half, from Paul Dalglish and Kelly Gray, but the man of the match may once again have been keeper Zach Wells, the backup who had come on as an emergency replacement for injured starter Pat Onstad in Costa Rica and stopped a penalty kick on his first touch. This marks the first time an American team has ever beaten a Tico squad in Cup play.
Next up: Defending Mexican champs and South American Cup champs (the first Mexican team ever to win that title), Pachuca, come to Houston next Wednesday; the return leg is in Pachuca on April 5. All this, and the MLS season doesn’t even start for another month. Robertson Stadium, Wed., March 14, 7:30pm; www.houstondynamo.com for more info.
Three English teams advanced to the final eight of the European Champions League this week: Manchester United, Chelsea, and Liverpool, which ousted defending champ Barcelona. Arsenal, the lone English failure, was bounced out of their third cup competition in 10 days, by PSV Eindhoven. Also going through: AC Milan (in overtime over Glasgow Celtic), Bayern Munich (over Real Madrid), Roma (on the road in Lyon) and Valencia (ousting still-undefeated Italian champs Inter Milan).
Breakfast of the week: this Sunday, 7:30am, Fadó Irish Pub. Exclusively on pay-per-view, two cracking British derbies on closed circuit PPV – London’s Chelsea-Spurs in the FA Cup and Glasgow’s legendary Celtic-Rangers, which just may be the world’s most intense sporting rivalry. Perfect for an Irish breakfast and a pint of Guinness, innit? A FOX Soccer Channel FA Cup doubleheader follows: Blackburn-Man City at 11am, and Plymouth-Watford at 1pm.
The U.S. Soccer Federation has announced that they’ll bid to host the World Cup in 2018, challenging England’s previously announced bid. The WC will be in South Africa in 2010, and it’s widely assumed that it will be in South America (probably Brazil) in 2014. FIFA President Sepp Blatter added weight to the American bid by announcing that, by strict rotation, the Cup ought to be in North America in 2018.
FIFA has ruled definitively that no player may wear a head scarf on the field, reaffirming a referee’s decision to ban an 11-year-old Muslim girl from a tournament near Montreal. The case drew worldwide attention after her team withdrew in protest.