May 12, 2012, 12:50 PM EDT
Proof that I’m an official, 100-percent, card-carrying, through-and-through soccer nerd is coming in 3, 2, 1 …
First thing I do when entering any stadium is examine the width. It’s a condition of the American soccer fan; most stadiums (until now!) were designed for American football and generally aren’t quite wide enough for a proper soccer field.
So, like Jason Bourne dutifully checking sight lines, I reflexively check the width straight away. Always have, even when I covered American football in a previous journalistic life. “Could they play soccer here?”
So what happened yesterday (barely conscious I was doing so) when I first walked into BBVA Compass Stadium for my first personnel look-see? Yep.
And I was surprised! Here’s what I said to myself: “Why, that wily old Dominic Kinnear … that son of gun kept his field narrow!”
The field is set at 70 yards today. That roughly the size of Robertson’s Stadium’s claustrophobic confines. (Robertson was listed as such, but always looked a little tighter to me.)
There’s plenty of room for more green at BBVA, mind you. A 75-yard wide field would fit easily. But Kinnear, the longtime Dynamo coach, asked that the field mimic Robertson Stadium’s dimensions. Dynamo preside Chris Canetti confirmed to me it was Kinnear’s request.
It makes sense from a competitive standpoint. After all, Kinnear’s side is built for close-quarter contact, for lots of balls into the box and action in and around the 18. The Dynamo coach has long tried to corner the market on tall center backs and strikers, after all.
Let’s hope it’s just a slow transition into something a little larger, into something that can yield soccer that’s a little easier on the eyes. But for today’s match, at least, the Orange’s match against D.C. United will look quite familiar to the home side.
You don’t win two championships in MLS and get to 100 wins at a younger age than any other manager – talking about Kinnear, of course – without learning a few tricks.
May 6, 2015, 5:30 PM EDT
Messi’s magic leads the way as we were treated to a gem of a game at the Nou Camp. Here’s what we learned.
May 6, 2015, 5:05 PM EDT
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Lionel Messi, the world’s best player, scored a truly unbelievable goal.
May 6, 2015, 4:45 PM EDT
Manuel Neuer was Herculean in the first half, but Lionel Messi was magical during the second 45. Barca have one foot in the final.
May 6, 2015, 3:59 PM EDT
Real lead for a third-straight year, but Bayern Munich, United are the big climbers.
May 6, 2015, 2:59 PM EDT
Chaos in Spain as soccer is officially suspended.
May 6, 2015, 2:19 PM EDT
Listen to the latest pod, right here:
May 6, 2015, 1:54 PM EDT
Robert Lewandowski will play despite facial injuries, but a host of other Bayern players are out as Pep Guardiola returns to the Nou Camp.
May 6, 2015, 12:53 PM EDT
Two training ground injuries to both Philadelphia goalkeepers in a matter of seconds has Rais Mbolhi the only man currently under contract who is fit to start.
May 6, 2015, 12:20 PM EDT
They’ll have their defender back, but they can’t have the match back, and that may be the most painful.
May 6, 2015, 11:40 AM EDT
The Galaxy have signed a young American midfielder to give them a spark.
May 6, 2015, 10:48 AM EDT
He could bring balance back to the Juventus midfield for the second leg.
May 6, 2015, 9:49 AM EDT
Oh dear. Ohhhhhh dear. We all know how this one ends. All over YouTube.
May 6, 2015, 9:26 AM EDT
“Dressed in black as always” Diego Simeone says all he wants to do is manage the teams he played for.
May 6, 2015, 8:22 AM EDT
Young Mateo got the surprise of a lifetime on what he though was another routine call with a doctor.
May 6, 2015, 7:50 AM EDT
Birmingham City confirmed Packwood’s early release from his contract to “possibly” join the Revolution, whatever that means.
May 5, 2015, 11:25 PM EDT
If you’d like your supporters group to be featured on future episodes of ‘I Was There’ simply send pictures/video to @NBCSportsSoccer or on NBC Sports Soccer on Facebook using the #IWasThere hashtag.
May 5, 2015, 10:46 PM EDT
Adam Jahn scored with his head while David Bingham made a big penalty stop to lead San Jose to all three points.
May 5, 2015, 9:43 PM EDT
Pep Guardiola faces his former club when Bayern Munich travels to Camp Nou to take on Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal matchup.
May 5, 2015, 8:58 PM EDT
The struggling Tottenham striker seems to have more problems than just scoring goals.
May 5, 2015, 7:45 PM EDT
The Real Madrid boss is confident his side can overcome the 2-1 deficit following a first leg defeat in Italy.
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