Top Stories

Dynamo 2, Rapids 1: A Supporter’s View


It sure looked like the Dynamo would have to wait another week for that first win, another week to cease the talk about a champion falling apart. It looked like Houston was destined for another non-win when Ugo Ihemelu was whistled for a controversial handball that gave the Dynamo a penalty kick and Dwayne DeRosario the chance to play her again.

DeRosario converted and left Colorado feeling a bit cheated after another decent performance. Taking a road point from the champions would have been an accomplishment. Losing the way they did left the Rapids dejected and unfulfilled.

SBI Correspondents Alex Swaim and Craig de Aragon took in the action and shared their takes on the match with his.

Dynamo finally wins and fans can finally relax, for now


Okay Dynamo faithful, you can start breathing again.

The Dynamo finally turned some of that good play into goal and came out on top of a decent Colorado team.

So it wasn’t their best game of the season. In the beautiful game good results can come from bad play. If you’ve followed the Dynamo this season you know all too well that results can go the other way in a hurry. Hopefully this is a sign that the bad luck is over. It’s a good boost in the team’s confidence as they go on a difficult three game road trip, starting with a tough game against Chicago.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to go to Robertson for the game. Family obligations and whatnot. From what it looked like the crowd was a bit on the thin side, but were responsive and loud. It’s always hard to tell volume on the television, because it’s largely dependent on the way the crowd is microphoned and mixed into the channel’s sound. In any case, it still looked like a solid showing from the fans that made Robertson rock again. Oh, and if you where there, good job on making sure the ref caught the handball. The way this season’s been going I thought it was going to be another blown call.

The game itself wasn’t a pretty one. Games in Robertson look like they will not be aesthetically pleasing this season. Credit goes to the Rapids for slowing the Dynamo attack down without making the game choppy. Until the wingers (Stuart Holden and Brian Mullan in particular) start finding that final ball playing from the outside, all the Dynamo attack will be coming through the middle. That means that Dwayne DeRosario has to have room to create or nothing will happen. Space was hard to find with Pablo Mastroeni sticking to DeRosario all game.

The good news is that it only slowed DeRosario’s productivity. Between DeRosario and Ricardo Clark there was more than enough attack through the middle, which led to several very good chances. Brian Ching managed to put one of those chances in for his first goal of the season. It’s a shame that the goal was borderline offsides – I didn’t think Ching was off, but his position at the flick was very close to Colorado’s final two defenders. Franco Caraccio was offsides, but inactive. Either way, Ching’s move to draw out Bouna Coundoul was good and he put it into the back of an empty net for the tally. Given Ching’s history of scoring in bunches, I hope it’s a sign of things to come for the Flyin’ Hawaiian.

The goal given up was good play the Colorado combined with Eddie Robinson not being fit enough to play. I’m surprised he even started the game, but are you going to tell Robinson he can’t start if you were in Dominic Kinnear’s position? In either case, I’m pleasantly surprised how well Bobby Boswell has been playing after looking so feeble at the start of the season. He needed to step his game up, and he did. Look back at the Wells-for-Boswell trade now. In Dom we trust.

And what about that DeRosario penalty kick? Expertly taken and desperately needed from the attacking midfielder. I don’t know what Ugo Ihemelu was thinking with that handball, but he should have been red carded. I think cost his team a point is pain enough. I was half expecting the ref to not call it either. It would fit the pattern that the season had taken up to that point. Let’s just hope that this means the Dynamo’s bad luck for the season is over.

I can dream, right?

Charitable Rapids hand Houston its first victory


Not only are the Colorado Rapids playing well this year, they’re doing a lot of charity work also.  No, not visiting sick kids in hospitals or building houses in third world countries, they’re lending a hand to the cellar dwellers, the stadium-less and the winless.  But you know what? They haven’t done it alone. They’re getting help from 4 guys in yellow. It’s not every game, but sometimes, they just feel the need to be charitable.  Saturday night was one of those times. 

The Rapids went to Houston and played pretty well for the entire game; they battled back, fought through the muggy heat, and even found a late equalizing goal.  That’s when the philanthropic arm of the Rapids was feeling generous.  On an innocent throw in, the ball came up high to Ugo Ihemelu and while trying to corral the pass, the ball grazed his arm, while he was 6 inches inside the penalty area.  At that point, Referee Tim Weyland had a choice.  He had the choice of refereeing according to the book, or refereeing according to the game.  He chose the former and in doing so, Houston Dynamo were gifted their first victory. 

This brings up a debate that I often have with myself, if I were a referee, would I call every foul just because it’s a foul, or would I go with the flow of the game and not call fouls that would overly penalize the perpetrating team. I don’t know what I would do.  Honestly, I wouldn’t even want to be put in that position. But in this instance, I would hope that I would have enough wherewithal to understand the circumstances and let the game play on. There was no player wearing an Orange jersey within 15 yards of Ihemelu.  He wasn’t under any pressure.  In fact, it looked like Weyland was doing the same deliberation I go through, in his own head, he initially patted his chest and let the play go, and then after a few seconds of regret, he blew the whistle. With that blow, he fed 20,000 starving people their first taste of victory in almost 6 months.

The Rapids now have a short week this week, and will be showcased on MLS Primetime Thursday against another cellar dweller, another stadium-less team, the team from the wrong side of the Rockies, and hopefully this time, they’re not in the giving mood.


  1. Clear penalty. From the run of play and in-game replays it looked iffy, but the post game replay that FSC showed made it clear that Ugo stuck his arm out intentionally to play the ball. Sucks for us to lose a point like that, but I can’t complain about the call.

  2. Craig,


    I’m a Colorado fan and it was clearly a handball. Too bad as Ugo had a good game. It’s a thirty game season and Colorodo is doing ok in the standings.

    Let’s whine later in the year.

    Give Houston credit and move on.

  3. Re: Penalty. I agreed with the writer until I saw it on TV replay when I got home. This is not even close. That it was controversial is a discredit to Clavijo and Rapids fans.

    The ball is being thrown into Wade Barrett who is in alone if the ball is not intercepted. Ihimelu moves to intercept with his chest but is late. Ihimelu clearly, unquestionably, diliberately reaches out and knocks the ball down with his arm. The ball strikes the inside of his elbow. It never comes close to his chest. It is not a deflection nor a graze.

  4. To answer Craig’s last question, no. Ugo made a conscious decision to not let the ball go by him into an on rushing Dynamo player. Not intentional? Give me a break. He knew where he was and tried to get away with it. He couldn’t get his chest to it and chose to control it with his arm. My only question is why it took so long for the ref to make the call?

  5. @Craig

    And if it had happened the other way, with Richard Mulroony using his forarm to deflect a ball from an onrushing Herculez Gomez inside the box, would you have felt it was unfairly punishing the Dynamo not to call a game-winning penalty? I’ll agree that the way the game seemed to be going it was looking like a draw – and you would be hard pressed to say that either team played well enough for the full three – but then again, the Dynamo should have had wins against Dallas, Kansas City, Los Angeles, and Columbus. Of those, you can say the Dynamo didn’t deserve to win any because they didn’t. But only the LA game shows up to me as one they deservedly didn’t. The Columbus game didn’t even get the Orange a point.

    My point is this: I’m sorry you feel the handball was a bad call. It wasn’t. Ugo touched it and SHOULD have seen red, because we will never know if Barret would have shot the ball hard just inside the near post where Bouna wouldn’t have gotten to it. When it effects the game like that – to stop a possible goal against the absence of play – it has to be a penalty.

  6. I understand the claims that it was a penalty. I understand that it technically was a penalty. But at that point in the game, under those circumstances, isn’t it overly penalizing the Rapids? It wasn’t intentional, he was trying to get his chest on the ball and his arm got in the way. I don’t fault the ref for calling it, it was a penalty, but what I’m saying it seemed too severe a penalty to call.

  7. Sorry Craig – it was a clear handball and had the ball not been handled Wade Barrett (in an Orange jersey) was just on the other side of Ihemelu and would have had a clear shot at goal.

  8. A few things:

    1) Wade Barrett was charging the throw in and was within 5 yards of the handball, which by the way was DELIBERATE and IN THE BOX. Colorado whined about the referee’s call in the post-game quotes but it was a stupid clear handball in the box – can’t really complain about that.

    2) Ching didn’t get a yellow because he got shoved first by a Rapids player which must have been off camera. At the game, the CRapids player instigated it and the linesman saw it and thus Weyland went to the linesman for help and decided no cards. Also, you fail to mention the CRapids player kicking out at Eddie Robinson after a header attempt which should have been a yellow.

  9. How come Ching didnt get a yellow for his shoving a defensive player? Cheap dirty B@st@rd. Houston has no class. Glad they are eating it.

  10. I really only have three short things to say:

    1) I really don’t like Houston;

    2) I am a referee, and have been for ten years;

    3) That was clearly a penalty, and should be called 100% of the time, as the play went against both the spirit and the letter (an on-rushing Houston player could have easily taken that ball had it not been deflected off Ihemelu).

  11. Craig,

    Your logic embraces a slippery slope from which there is no turning back. If Ihemelu had played a back pass to Coundoul and he had mis-controlled the ball, allowing it to go over the goal line, with no Houston player within 30 yards should the referee have done his job ‘according to the game’ and not allowed a goal? If the powers that be desired a hand ball in the box rule that allowed for the referee’s best judgment in the situation they would have included one. End of story.

    P.S. I imagine Craig is the jaywalking type.

  12. Despite my pro-Dynamo bias, I must admit that I tend to agree more with Craig’s point of view on the “controversial” penalty. Tough call for the ref either way….

  13. agreed, horrible refereeing decision killed the game. I wonder what it will take to get better referees in this league. (I found Mr. Swaim’s view of the penalty decision quite interesting and, of course, bias. Then again, who isn’t bias in sports…just ask the ref).

  14. Craig, if you admit that the hand ball call was technically correct, why are you complaining that it was a bad call and charity by the refs? Regardless, that game was ugly on both sides and neither side deserved a point – if that were possible.


Leave a Comment