Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dynamo hoping for win-win situation

Before crucial MLS finale, Orange face must win in El Salvador
Already wrapped up in a heated four-team race for the MLS Western Conference crown with the playoffs looming, the Dynamo find themselves in yet another must-win situation.
Not only do they face elimination from the CONCACAF Champions League, the most important international club tournament in the region, but a win tonight in their Group A finale might not be enough to get them to the next round. online sports
With that in mind, the Dynamo will enter their game at Salvadoran club Isidro Metapán pressed to do what they never have accomplished in their four CONCACAF tournaments — win away from home.
“We know exactly what we have to do,” said Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear, whose team is 0-5-5 all-time on the road in CONCACAF play.
Isidro Metapán, whose 0-5 record and minus-17 goal differential make it the worst team in the 2009-10 edition, looks to be the weakest international foe the Dynamo ever have faced, suggesting the feat shouldn't be hard to accomplish.
But even if the Dynamo do close out the group stage in victorious fashion, they will be left to hope Mexican club and Group A leader Pachuca does its part at home against second-place Arabe Unido of Panama. sports news
The Dynamo, who sit third in the standings with seven points, also need Pachuca (12 points) to defeat Arabe Unido (10 points) in order to advance to the quarterfinals.
The combination of results would allow the Dynamo to tie Arabe Unido for second place in points, with the MLS side moving on because of the head-to-head tiebreaker.
The Dynamo tied Arabe Unido 1-1 at Panama on Aug. 26 and won the home leg 5-1 on Sept. 22. Only the top two teams per group advance to the quarterfinals, set to begin in March.
Any other combination of results ousts the Dynamo.
The Dynamo want to reach the quarterfinals of the Champions League for a second consecutive year. The team also reached the semifinals of the CONCACAF championship, then known as the Champions' Cup, in 2007 and 2008, when it did not include a group stage.
Winning the Champions League comes with the title of best team in the North and Central American and Caribbean region and, more importantly, a berth in the increasingly prestigious FIFA Club World Cup.No room for apathy
Logic dictates that if the Dynamo play a strong lineup at Metapán, victory should come against a team that has lost its last two games by a combined score of 10-0.
“We expect them to have a ‘not interested' attitude, but they are professionals,” Kinnear said. “We have to be ready.”
Similarly, with Pachuca, a three-time CONCACAF winner, enjoying an overwhelming home-field advantage and one of the strongest lineups in the tournament, Arabe Unido seems unlikely to escape Estadio Hidalgo with any points.
The Dynamo know better than to get their hopes up, however.
“Nothing is guaranteed,” Kinnear said.
The Dynamo find themselves in a tight spot after dropping points at Arabe Unido, which they led and could have beaten had it not been for three ejections and a last-minute defensive lapse, and at home against Pachuca in a 1-0 loss last month.
That the team has won just once in its last seven games in MLS play, allowing the Los Angeles Galaxy, Chivas USA and Seattle Sounders to catch up in the standings, only complicates the picture.
The Dynamo, Galaxy and Chivas USA entered the final week of the regular season tied for first in the West with 45 points each. Chivas has a game in hand on them, and Seattle trails the three by only one point.
Winning the conference guarantees a team home-field advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs.Different-looking lineups
If the Dynamo are serious about advancing in CONCACAF play, Kinnear should consider using his strongest lineup against Metapán.
But with the team coming off a grinding 0-0 tie against the Galaxy at Robertson Stadium on Sunday and set to visit Chivas USA in the season finale with the conference championship possibly on the line, he will have to give the decision much thought.
One key starter from Sunday's game who likely will see time against Metapán is Brian Ching, who was red-carded late and will be unavailable against Chivas USA. One who won't is Brian Mullan, who is suspended because of his accumulation of yellow cards.
“We've just gotta focus on getting a win in Metapán, and from there our focus is Chivas,” Dynamo defender Geoff Cameron said. “We want to win our next two games.”Read More.......


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