CCC08: CSD Municipal v. Houston Dynamo – Harder Questions

This is where things get tricky…and not a little confusing. To begin, when searching for Club Social y Deportivo Municipal, the “Social y” bit is vital: if you try “CD Municipal,” you’ll hit a wall damned quick. If you look at the Global corner of ESPN.com, you will find a section for La Liga Nacional de Guatemala. But you’ll also notice they’re calling the current campaign Clausura 2007 and, when you check results by club, you’ll see some blank results in the past – all of which tells me they need to either hire more interns to make sense of this mess, or higher a Guatemalan to run the space. Then again, having just checked Los Rojos official site (the club’s nickname, by the way) going Guatemalan may not be the answer. Sure, my severely limited Spanish handicaps the effort, but the site lists a February 24th win over Heredia as the club’s “ultimo partido,” rather than their most recent loss to Jalapa, which came on March 1…incidentally, the worst team in Guatemala’s La Liga…well, that is if you check Puesto en Liga on Los Rojos’ official site and not ESPN.com. Wait. Crap, their last game was actually a loss to Petapa…jesus, people. Hire more interns.

Look, all I want to do is figure out how these guys are doing and I can’t even confirm that the Clausura 2008…sorry, Clausura 2007 (?) started in November.

Then again, that probably doesn’t matter in the grand scheme. The half of Jeff Carlisle’s preview for ESPN.com devoted to the Houston Dynamo’s CONCACAF Champions Cup (CCC) quarterfinal tie passes on some good dish on the Guatemalan side – specifically, that they have had better periods in front of goal and, by way of curiosity, there are some former Major League Soccer vets on their roster. Guys like old Columbus Crew midfielder Freddy Garcia, to give on example. Turn to the Wikipedia entry on CSD Municipal and you’ll not only learn this is Carlos Ruiz’ former club, but that is Guatemala’s most successful and, apparently, most popular clubs. Not only have they won 25 league titles, plus a buttload of cups, they secured Guatemala’s lone CCC win back in ’74. Club success aside, Municipal still keeps the leading scorer in their history on the books: Juan Carlos Plata, who it seems is tied with Ruiz as all-time scorer with the Guatemalan national team.

Another former Crew player, Mario Rodriguez, rounds up Carlisle’s list of players to watch. That’s not much, but the bigger question is who the Dynamo has available to take on this side. There, the problems begin in the midfield and, potentially, extend back to the middle, where a new Houston player raises cause for concern.

Conventional wisdom already holds that Houston had the harder job than DC United. But hair-prickling news on potential absences trickle in with each report. Soccer America’s preview mentions the injury Brad Davis picked up in a pre-season event in Texas, but there’s also Stuart Holden and Patrick Ianni’s absence through Olympic qualifying duty…which they, and the rest of ’em, cocked up. Carlisle’s gold-min…I mean preview…mentions that Brian Mullan is not only returning from injury, but that the birthin’ of his latest critter might keep him away as well. While I’m sure they can still field a competent starting eleven – say, playing Corey Ashe for Davis and, hell, I dunno, pushing Dwayne DeRosario wide, playing Eric Ustruck, Mike Chabala, or Nick Hatzke (who?) in the event Mullan can’t make it. Still, the team’s spine – e.g. DeRosario, Ricardo Clark/Richard Mulrooney, Eddie Robinson, Pat Onstad, Brian Ching – seems to be fit and ready, so there’s no real reason to play for a draw on the first leg. That doesn’t mean they play stupid, either. Between experience – ample in some cases – and playing at home, Municipal should feel comfortable enough. This is to say that a draw would make for a fine result, but, obviously, a win would be better.

Ianni’s absence raises another question for tonight: does this mean new-guy Bobby Boswell gets the start? Much has been made of the consecutive sloppy defensive displays from Houston’s defense – the 6-1 blowout in the Pan-Pacific against Gamba Osaka and the 4-3 win over Toronto FC (TFC) – but Boswell came in for particular criticism, at least in the former; the Dynamo fans over on Nutmegged singled out Boswell in the aftermath (they also have a preview up for tonight…or will shortly; I’m watching for it). The worst part of his play against Gamba Osaka will look painfully familiar to DC fans (or, now that he’s gone, comically?): losing track of marks, waking up a step too late, etc. – just your run of the mill issues with attentiveness. Will that be enough to help Municipal get out of their goal-scoring rut? On the upside, the team allowed only one goal over two games since….and Boswell started both. So, did Boswell throw his boots into the volcano or did he just need a little more time? (Yeah, I know; just read Nutmegged’s post.)

Depending on who they field, there’s also the question of how Houston will do against Municipal’s defense. As much as their offense has struggled, their “D” has allowed only six goals in the Clausura’s 10 games (or is it now seven goals in 11 games after losing to Petapa?). That’s pretty tight either way, albeit against allegedly weaker opposition. Houston scored six goals over three games during the Texas Pro Soccer Festival (TPSF), though it’s worth noting four of those came against TFC.

Generally, however, tonight’s game doesn’t make for an easy comparison with the TPSF: the environment should be a hell of a lot louder, not to mention several orders of magnitude more hostile. Keeping composure will be both paramount and hella difficult – and that goes on both sides of the ball. You want proof? Just look what happened the last time these clubs (well, parts of ’em) met in CCC play.

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10 Responses

  1. The league started in June apparently. It looks like there are two different ‘parts’ to it that culminate in one league winner? (this is with my 10 minutes of reading their website).

    http://www.guatefutbol.com/component/option,com_wrapper/Itemid,66/

    But, when you put the tables together, Municipal is in the lead

    http://www.guatefutbol.com/component/option,com_wrapper/Itemid,70

    And here you can see how’ve they’ve been doing lately.

    http://www.guatefutbol.com/component/option,com_wrapper/Itemid,66/

    Hope the links help. and PS, they are all in Spanish.

  2. Just had to show me up, didn’t you? You can’t see the tears, but they’re there. They’re there!

    In all seriousness, I was mainly having fun at the Web’s expense in that opening paragraph. Between the three sources I was working, I figured out most of it – with the exception of why Municipal was listed as being in the league on Los Rojos site. While I did find the “guatefutbol” site, I had basically given up by the time I got to reading it.

    Still, may others profit from Ryan’s links. Once you get in there, it’s better than the other ones I read…even without reading Spanish (which I really must pick up some day).

  3. Whoa. One last thing I found through Ryan’s efforts: even if they’re hostile, the crowd tonight may not be all that big. If “publico” means what I think it does on this page, the Columbus Crew outdraws Municipal by about 10K.

    So, Ryan, a little assist on the meaning of “publico,” por favor?

  4. Publico is just ‘fans’ or ‘spectators’ in this case.

    Attendance.

  5. Ouch. That does suck, then.

  6. Never underestimate the power of a small group of fans.

    The Bernabeu in Spain holds some 80,000 but its like a pindrop but when I went to a Getafe game in a stadium that holds 20,000 it was like the entire country was there.

  7. True, but you have to divide that number again by three or four to get to where a good number of Municipal’s crowds have been.

    I’m just hoping the presence of Yanquis whips them into a frenzy.

  8. Jeff Jeff Jeff. You let me down. How do you not use Soccerway?

    http://soccerway.com/national/guatemala/first

    The site gets up to the minute results on almost every league on the planet and gives you some nice form graphs if you need ’em.

  9. Hey, hey. The box in which I was born just got a little bigger. Hot damn. Then again, they keep this up and we’re all out of a hobby.

    Hadn’t heard of that one, so, thanks Chowda. Bookmarked.

  10. […] In other words, how much work do I have to do in order to update the information from the mess of a preview I compiled before the first […]

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