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.
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Sep 1, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT
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Sep 1, 2014, 10:29 PM EDT
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Sep 1, 2014, 9:38 PM EDT
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Sep 1, 2014, 8:48 PM EDT
Rebecca Lowe, Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe bring you plenty of analysis on the summer transfer window’s Deadline Day.
Sep 1, 2014, 8:45 PM EDT
Passing or failing? Take a gander at how each Premier League team fared.
Sep 1, 2014, 8:32 PM EDT
Falcao signs for United, arrives on loan from Monaco with view to a permanent transfer.
Sep 1, 2014, 8:09 PM EDT
Manchester United’s Danny Welbeck went away to London for international break, and won’t return to the club after sealing a move to Arsenal.
Sep 1, 2014, 7:26 PM EDT
Nantes, Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa are all surprising early-season teams, and Americans are playing big roles in each club’s success.
Sep 1, 2014, 7:13 PM EDT
The biggest confirmed transfers on Deadline Day including Premier League teams.
Sep 1, 2014, 6:40 PM EDT
If Andre Villas-Boas thought Emmanuel Adebayor was hard to handle, wait til he gets a load of this American character.
Sep 1, 2014, 6:33 PM EDT
Alderweireld arrives on loan, as Mane deal agreed.
Sep 1, 2014, 6:23 PM EDT
Negredo leaves City, heads back to Spain to play for Valencia.
Sep 1, 2014, 5:55 PM EDT
Watch live online, right here.
Sep 1, 2014, 5:42 PM EDT
Hull busy on Deadline Day as Ramirez joins on loan, plus Ben Arfa.
Sep 1, 2014, 5:37 PM EDT
In the words of NHL commentator Rick Jeanneret, roll the highlight reel for Ibra, Cavani and PSG, and the lowlight reel for one poor keeper.
Sep 1, 2014, 4:40 PM EDT
Not a huge risk for Arsenal, but certainly a good bit of business for United. Could Welbeck become the next Daniel Sturridge?
Sep 1, 2014, 4:18 PM EDT
Jermain Defoe, Danny Welbeck and Hatem Ben Arfa all make one last run through the rumor mill as the deadline draws near.
Sep 1, 2014, 4:11 PM EDT
McArthur and Fryers arrive at Selhurst Park.
Sep 1, 2014, 3:49 PM EDT
The Dutch international rejoins his World Cup boss for four seasons at “the biggest club in the world.”
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