Mexico v Paraguay

International Friendly Match

Saturday 28th May 2016

Kick off 17.00 Actual 17.40

Mexico 1 Paraguay 0,  attendance 63,049

32′ 1-0 A. Guardado

@ Georgia Dome

1, Georgia Dome Drive Northwest

Atlanta, GA 30313

$44 admission + $9.30 fees, Print at home ticket

No programme.

Another trip done as a day return, this time courtesy of Delta Airlines. With a 22.20 flight back to Dallas, this was always doable, even allowing for the fact that games involving Mexico always fail to kick off on time, but as this is now the norm, then easy to allow for it in planning. The Atlanta Subway, known as the MARTA, runs from the airport, with both the Georgia Dome and Philips Arena, home of the N.B.A.’s Atlanta Hawks, using the same station. The basketball arena is right outside, whilst the football stadium is a couple of hundred yards further on. The cheapest ticket avaiable, transport wise, was the $10 day ticket. Very good value for transport to and from an airport.

Georgia Dome is home to the Atlanta Falcons of the N.F.L., although they are due to move in to the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the 2017 season, which will also be home to the new M.L.S. franchise Atlanta United. The new stadium is well underway and is hardly a ‘move’ at all, as it is probably only 100 yards from the current stadium.

When it opened in 1992, the Georgia Dome was the largest fully covered stadium in the world by capacity, although now surpassed. Capacity is 74,228 these days, although the stadium has held 80,892 for an SEC American Football Championship Game in 2008. The stadium will be demolished once the Mercedes- Benz Stadium is up and running, thus becoming a car park and new 800 room hotel.

Once again the Mexican support turned out in huge numbers. Both these countries are warming up for next months Copa America Centenario, being held outside South America for the first time, here in  U.S.A., to celebrate 100 years of the tournament. Mexico will certainly fancy their chances of reaching the semi final at least, having not lost since a defeat to Ecuador in a Copa America match in June 2015, a run now stretching to 18 matches, including friendlies.

With the help of gaining an hour due to the time zone and a prompt pick up at the airport by the other half, I was home for midnight.

The following photos show the progress in the construction of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium and its close proximity to the Georgia Dome.

New York Cosmos v S.D. Eibar

Friendly Match

Wednesday 25th May 2016

Kick off 19.00 Actual 19.02

New York Cosmos 2 S.D. Eibar 2,  attendance 4,000

3′ 0-1

10′ 0-2

12′ 1-2

53′ 2-2

@ Sam Boyd Stadium

7000, East Russell Road

Las Vegas, NV 89122

$28 admission + $8.50  fees, Will Call ticket

No programme.

This was done as a day return, although strictly speaking the return flight was after midnight, but you get the gist. Getting from the airport was easy, taking the local bus service for $3, which involved a change, before getting off at the MGM Grand Hotel, at the southern end of the strip. The trip to the stadium was with an Uber ride, as was the return directly to the airport. It worked out much cheaper than a day’s car hire and the whole day’s transport was only around $25, where parking alone would have been $20 at the stadium.

I am not too sure how a match between 2 clubs that barely draw crowds of 10,000 between them for home games, was ever going to pull in many of the Nevada public. Had I known that the crowd was going to be so poor, then I could have purchased a ticket on the night, presumably saving the booking fee. I am glad I went for the cheapest ticket option as there was certainly no problem sitting wherever you liked.

The match was certainly entertaining, both teams playing with an open and attacking style. The game even went to penalties, although I only found this out when reading a match report at the airport, although I wouldn’t have stayed for them anyway, as they are totally meaningless, but as we know, you can’t have a ‘tie’ over here, even in a friendly it seems. For those that are interested, it finished 7-6 to Cosmos.

Sam Boyd Stadium, named after a major figure in the hotel and casino industry, is home to the U.N.L.V. Rebels American Football team and also hosts the annual N.C.A.A. Las Vegas Bowl in December. Capacity here is 35,500, which can be expanded to 40,000. The Stadium was opened in 1971 and has since undergone renovation in 1999 and 2015.

So, a long and tiring day, arriving back indoors just before 6 am the following morning.

Inter Milan v C.F.H. F.C.

North Texas Premier Soccer Association

Division 4 (Spring Season)

Play Off Semi Final

Sunday 22nd May 2016

Kick off 13.30 Actual 14.19

Inter Milan 3 C.F.H. F.C. 1,  attendance 52

23′ 0-1 (pen)

25′ 1-1 (pen)

77′ 2-1

84′ 3-1

@ Breckinridge Park, Pitch A14

3400, Park Vista Road

Richardson, TX 75082

No admission or programme.

Annoyingly, this one kicked off late due to the preceding match going to extra time, then penalties, and although kick off times were structured to allow for this, it only works if the matches kick off on time, which very rarely happens, if ever.  As the same officials were appointed to both matches they needed a rest period as well. The game itself was only going to be won by one team. Inter were very impressive and played really good football, helped no doubt by the fact the team were of Hispanic background. Unusually for this league, they also had good support.

N.T.F.C. Royals v Dragon

North Texas Premier Soccer Association

Division 3 (Spring Season)

Play Off Semi Final

Sunday 22nd May 2016

Kick off 11.00 Actual 11.06

N.T.F.C. Royals 4 Dragon 1, attendance 9

36′ 1-0

42′ 2-0

52′ 3-0

64′ 3-1

88′ 4-1

@ Breckinridge Park, Pitch A15

3400, Park Vista Road

Richardson, TX 75082

No admission or programme.

Breckinridge Park is a multi pitch complex, although I think only  four of these are full size, A12, A13, A14 and A15, all of which are used by N.T.P.S.A. to host matches. There are no facilities here whatsoever.

Liverpool Warriors v Houston Dutch Lions F.C.

National Premier Soccer League

South Central Conference

Friday 20th May 2016

Kick off 19.30 Actual 20.47

Liverpool Warriors 0 Houston Dutch Lions F.C. 1,  attendance 130

38′ 0-1

@ McKinney Boyd High School

600, North Lake Forest Drive

McKinney, TX 75071

$5 admission

No programme.

I arrived here just after 7pm, only to be told that the visitors had not arrived, but would be here shortly, as their coach had suffered a puncture en route. In England, this would mean the team probably wouldn’t show up, but sure enough, around 8.15pm the coach pulled into the car park. The 230 mile trip north from Conroe, just north of Houston, would have been bad enough as it was, even without the puncture.

Once the game got going there looked like being only one winner, but it was far more comfortable than the score line suggests, the home ‘keeper being by far their best player. I was very surprised that the visitors had around a dozen supporters with them, including five of them speaking Dutch. Not something you’d expect to hear 30 miles north of Dallas !

Somerset F.C. V Goodfriend United

North Texas Premier Soccer Association

Division 2 (Spring Season)

Sunday 15th May 2016

Kick off 11.00

Somerset F.C. v Goodfriend United, MATCH POSTPONED

@ R.E. Good Soccer Complex, Pitch 4

Elm Fork Drive

Carrolton, TX 75056.

Arrived here to find a dozen players going through a training session as the opposition team had cried off at short notice. Didn’t bother asking which team, but seemed strange as it was 2nd v 1st in the league. More annoying was the fact that it is the only time I have seen that this pitch has been scheduled to host a match.

Baylor University Bears v Texas Christian University Horned Frogs

National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I

Big 12 Conference

Saturday 14th May 2016

First pitch 15.00

Baylor University Bears 8 Texas Christian University Horned Frogs 5,  attendance 2,860

@ Baylor Ballpark

1612, South University Parks Drive

Waco, TX 76706

$7 admission

Programme, free, 30 pages, covers full season.

Baylor Ballpark was opened in 1999 having been built on the site of their former home Ferrell Field. Capacity here is 5,000.

Dallas City F.C. V Liverpool Warriors

National Premier Soccer League

South Central Conference

Wednesday 11th May 2016

Kick off 19.00, 19.30 or 20.00  No one seemed to know. Actual 20.05

Dallas City F.C. 2 Liverpool Warriors 1,  attendance 200

18′ 1-0

42′ 2-0

90′ + 6, 2-1

@ Roffino Stadium

Bishop Lynch High School

9750, Ferguson Road

Dallas, TX 75228

$10 admission

No programme.

First impression here is that the club are a total shambles and little wonder the crowd was absolutely pathetic for a local derby. Apart from playing the match on the same evening as F.C. Dallas, although their crowds are also a complete joke, there was total confusion about what time the match was actually kicking off. The NPSL website said 19.00, Dallas City were saying 19.30 and the visitors had tweeted it was 20.00. In the end, none of them were right, although at least the visitors were nearest with their guess. To make matters worse, thunder and lightening was forecast  around 21.00, so to kick off late was absolutely ridiculous. We ended up missing the storm by a matter of minutes as it turned out.

The game was difficult to follow as there are American Football markings on the pitch and the goal areas don’t even have proper football markings at all in places, with many of the lines not painted on. I did ask the Referee at halftime how the pitch was allowed to stage matches at this level, as none of the officials would be able to give decisions 100 % certain that offences were in or out of the 18 yard boxes. Still, as its U.S.A we’re talking about, then I doubt anyone cares, although most probably don’t know what the markings are anyway.

Liverpool did themselves no favours by having a player red carded just before halftime and also had a penalty saved as we reached 90 minutes.

Santos F.C. V Matadors

North Texas Premier Soccer Association

Division 1A (Spring Season)

Sunday 8th May 2016

Kick off 15.00 Actual 15.20

Santos F.C. 1 Matadors 2,  attendance 13

3′ 0-1

60′ 1-1

90′ 1-2

@ Harry S. Moss Park, Pitch 6

7874, Greenville Avenue

Dallas, TX 75231

No admission or programme.

Annoying that players can’t make a proper effort to arrive in time for kick off, given that they couldn’t use traffic problems as an excuse, or even working late, for the majority of them. Makes the hanging around worse when it was only about 10 yards travelling distance for me from the last match !

The game hinged on a red card for Santos F.C. after 57 minutes, although they had the better chances, even when playing with a man light.

Classics F.C. V Crusaders A.S.F.

North Texas Premier Soccer Association

Division 1B (Spring Season)

Sunday 8th May 2016

Kick off 13.00 Actual 13.03

Classics F.C. 2 Crusaders A.S.F. 1,  attendance 7

6′ 0-1

9′ 1-1

88′ 2-1 (pen)

@ Harry S. Moss Park, Pitch 5

7874, Greenville Avenue

Dallas, TX 75231

No admission or programme.

Harry S. Moss Park is a multi pitch complex, although only two of them are full size adult, Pitch 5 and Pitch 6. On site there is a central building that houses toilets and a refreshment stand. With the two pitches used in the NTPSA being parallel to each other, it offered up a very convenient double opportunity.

Third versus second and a draw would have been a fair result in a decent game, as you would expect, from two of the leagues top three teams.