May 12, 2012, 12:50 PM EST
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.
Dec 5, 2013, 12:42 AM EST
Four weeks ago, Benny Feilhaber wasn’t starting for Kansas City. Now, the former U.S. international’s experiencing a postseason revival.
Dec 4, 2013, 11:18 PM EST
Nine matches. 32 goals. All in one place.
Dec 4, 2013, 10:15 PM EST
Olave, Johnson, and Espindola left, but despite what this year’s narrative said, RSL didn’t rebuild. They merely reloaded.
Dec 4, 2013, 9:33 PM EST
What do you remember about the team’s penalty kick win over the LA Galaxy?
Dec 4, 2013, 8:41 PM EST
Peter Vermes’ MLS Cup finalist can still press and pressure – but there are more winning ways in the playbook now:
Dec 4, 2013, 7:53 PM EST
Back at RFK at the turn of the new Millennium, staunch defense helped KC to its one and only MLS Cup:
Dec 4, 2013, 7:02 PM EST
Arsenal stays four clear while Everton sparks debate as to whether they upgraded after David Moyes’ departure.
Dec 4, 2013, 5:48 PM EST
Moyes says lack of “fortune” hurt United after Red Devils lose yet another home game:
Dec 4, 2013, 5:31 PM EST
The visitors hit Southampton with quick breaks, coming away with a win and proving that possession is, in fact, just nine-tenths of the law.
West Bromwich Albion 2-3 Manchester City: Citizens address road worries with convincing performance at The Hawthorns
Dec 4, 2013, 5:20 PM EST
Two from Yaya Touré and an opener from Kun Agüero helped City address their road demons.
Dec 4, 2013, 5:09 PM EST
Spurs sent a dagger into the hearts of Fulham fans, who saw their club put in an inspired performance only to be sunk by a pair of beautiful strikes from unlikely heroes.
Dec 4, 2013, 5:03 PM EST
Hazard’s masterclass pushes Chelsea over the line against spirited Black Cats:
Dec 4, 2013, 4:55 PM EST
Four goals and an assist for Luis Suárez as Liverpool ran wild over Norwich.
Dec 4, 2013, 4:51 PM EST
Gunners keep firing as they stay top of the tree with comfortable win over Tigers:
Dec 4, 2013, 4:50 PM EST
Peter Crouch and company failed to produce a breakthrough despite owning nearly every chance and plenty of possession.
Dec 4, 2013, 4:47 PM EST
With five minutes left to play, Bryan Oviedo clinched the winner for Everton, keeping them above Manchester United in the table.
Dec 4, 2013, 4:46 PM EST
Second win in three sees Swansea bring Newcastle’s run to an end in Wales.
Dec 4, 2013, 3:32 PM EST
35 minutes was all it took for Luis Suárez to score his third hat trick in three seasons against Norwich.
Dec 4, 2013, 3:30 PM EST
USMNT striker opens the scoring… but Chelsea come roaring back. Watch live:
Dec 4, 2013, 2:50 PM EST
Third place City hope to cure the road woes when they visit The Hawthorns.
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