Sunday, March 23, 2008

Jair Marrufo is the man in the middle for Sunday’s final. He’s officiated MLS matches since 2002. In fact, Marrufo worked one of the league semifinals last year, Houston’s 2-0 win over Kansas City.

Marrufo was one of four officials to be hired in 2007 as part of U.S. Soccer’s innovative program to enhance referee performance in the United States. In effect, he became a full-time referee, dedicated to training and officiating.

Murrufo is a Texan, too, and speaks fluent English and Spanish. So he’ll have no trouble communicating with either team Sunday evening at Pizza Hut Park.

Multiple Hicks sightings

Tommy Hicks Jr. has been around the Dallas Cup a bit this week. But Tom Hicks Sr., co-owner of Liverpool with George Gillett, made his first appearance at the tournament. He was in the stadium to see the Reds play Tigres in Sunday's final.

Hicks was just back from a family trip and came directly to Pizza Hut Park.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Semifinals set

Tigres will face Monterrey in an all-Mexico battle in one of Friday's semifinals. They'll play at 6 p.m. at Pizza Hut Park's stadium. Thus, we'll definitely have a Mexican team in Sunday's final.

At 8 p.m., high-scoring Liverpool will face Benfica in the second semifinal at the stadium. Liverpool scored 21 goals (21!) in its three group-play matches.

Legacies of the Dallas Cup

The stories of the Dallas Cup legacies help make this tournament really special. For instance, no fewer than five former Dallas Sidekicks have sons playing in the tournament.

Kevin Smith, David Doyle, Nick Stavrou, Curtis Partain and Michael Powers all have sons playing in the 2008 tournament.

Plus, Kenny Cooper’s son Joe plays for the Texans team that’s currently in the under-19 bracket. Kenny Cooper Sr. was never directly affiliated with the Sidekicks, but he coached against them often in the old Major Indoor Soccer League. And he surely a Dallas soccer legacy, going back to his wonderful years keeping goal for the Dallas Tornado. Son Kenny Cooper Jr. has been at the matches this week, too, cheering his brother.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Liverpool's goal total: 12 ... and counting

Don't despair, Tigres fans. Liverpool's 5-1 win over the club from Monterrey wasn't as bad as it sounds. Truly, it was a bit of a strange match.

Tigres was quite competitive. Probably more so than the club from Bosnia, which fell to Liverpool 24 hours earlier by a 7-1 final.

Monday at Richland, Tigres probably had more chances than Tom Hicks' Reds. Simply put, Liverpool knows how to score. The Reds took their chances well. Tigres didn't. The result: a 5-1 score line that doesn't really tell the whole story.

You can't spell "comeback" with the "C" from Chivas

Chivas is alive in the Super Group thanks to a remarkable comeback.

The side (known formally as CD Guadalajara) was down, 2-0, to the Whitecaps from Vancouver with 10 minutes to go Monday at blustery Richland. Having managed only a draw in Sunday's tournament opener, the proud club from Mexico was on the verge of elimination.

But Chivas struck heroically for two late goals. The equalizer came on a nifty, twisting header from midfielder Ulises Davila three minutes into added time.

So, Chivas will need some help Wednesday evening, but the Goats can still squeeze into the semifinals with a win at the Pizza Hut Park stadium.

Liverpool cruises ...and how

That 7-1 result is no fluke. This Liverpool side is solid.

They move the ball around well as a unit and they are packed with talented individuals. Gerardo Bruna is a stylish playmaker. Craig Lindfield can score.

Really, there were too many strong performances to mention as the the Bosnian side was out of its element from the start. Maybe the Reds were inspired by Tommy Hicks' appearance to kick out the ceremonial first ball. (Tommy Hicks, of course, is the son of Tom Hicks, whose holdings include the Rangers, the Stars and Liverpool FC.)

Liverpool will look for more of the same today at 4 p.m. agaisnt Tigres, who beat the Super Group entry from Japan on Sunday, 2-1. Monday's match is at Richland College on Field 10 (the small stadium field).

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Famous name in the house

Dennis Wise, former Chelsea captain, was inspecting the Dallas Cup action Sunday. Wise is now director of football operations for Newcastle. In his position, he essentially oversees the club's youth operations and the academy, and he also oversees player acquisition.

Wise said he wants to watch the games and look at the operation and perhaps see if he can get a Newcastle team here next year.

Big upset!

Andromeda, the national champions from Dallas, certainly had a chance against Sao Paulo, the giant club from Brazil.

But who saw this coming? Andromeda won the Super Group match at Pizza Hut Park, 5-2.


Sao Paulo came all the way from Brazil, but now they are seriously up against it, before the tournament is even a day old. In group play, it's all about winning your first game. Win the game, and you can control your group. Lose, and the pressure is really on. One more loss will kill any chances of going through to elimination play.

Sao Paulo plays at 4 p.m. Monday at Richland against Monterrey, and you had better believe the Brazilians will upset about Sunday's showing.

Tom Hicks’ team is “in it to win it”

You bet. Look at Liverpool’s roster: It’s stocked with first-team reserves, which means the Reds are serious about their bid for the Lamar Hunt Super Cup (for the Super Group winner).

Here’s how these foreign glamour teams are put together for Dallas Cup. They take some players from the first-team reserves (those still young enough to be eligible) and some “academy” players. The academy players are still in the team’s youth developmental program. They still have some work to do in order to earn a professional contract.

Well, Liverpool’s roster is almost exclusively reserve team fellows. Among them:

Forward Craig Lindfield, who has already appeared for England’s Under-19 national team. He’ll be fun to watch.

Defender Stephen Darby, whom Liverpool took as a backup into a Champions League match earlier this year.

Defender Emiliano Insua, who has already appeared for Argentina’s Under-20s.

You can look up more info on any of those players at Liverpool’s web site. They (and others here in Dallas) are listed among the team’s First Team Squad Profiles.

Liverpool plays tonight at the stadium at 7 p.m.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Super Group matches going back to Richland College

With the majority of our Super Group matches going back to Richland College, fans will get to see one significant upgrade in the soccer complex there. The fields remain in immaculate condition, just as they were through the early part of the decade, when so many of the matches were staged at the Richardson college.

Now the school has constructed a nifty little 700-seat stadium. It’s enclosed and has a small press box atop the grandstand on one side. It’s mostly the doings of Sean Worley, a good guy who has long overseen Richland’s soccer program. He’s always doing a little something to make the program or the complex better over there.

Everyone may remember how fans lined the field three- and four-people deep to watch Freddy Adu play at Richland a few years back. For the next big star to play out there (Who will it be?), at least 700 fans will be able to take a seat while they watch!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

We’re hoping to do something special in connection with this year’s Dallas Cup...

Some people are familiar with the story of the Alcala family of Dallas. Back in the late 1980s, a young fellow visited as part of the Essex Schools team out of London. Back then, he was just another nice, young English lad. As part of the Dallas Cup’s home-stay program, this nice young man bunked with Sam and Christine Alcala. They had a son playing in the Dallas Cup and therefore happily obliged the call to house some of the foreign players.

The Alcala’s house guest that week happened to be a young David Beckham.

Newspaper accounts done in the last few years have recounted how well they all got along, how Sam Alcala had breakfast with “little Davie” each morning, how Davie left a few nice gifts for the family, etc.

Now, of course, Beckham is one of the world’s most recognized faces. And it just so happens that he’s playing at Pizza Hut Park on the night before the Dallas Cup begins. So, Dallas Cup executive director Gordon Jago has reached out to Beckham and the Galaxy, attempting to arrange a meeting of the long, lost friends.

Here’s what Beckham told Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl last year:

“I've tried to trace them (the Alcala family) in the last 10 years and I’ve not been able to,” he says. “I’d love to track the family down because it was incredible.”

Now, the Dallas Cup has done it for them. So far, we’ve haven’t heard back from the Galaxy about getting the old friends back together.

The Galaxy and Beckham arrive Friday.

Dallas Cup To Premier adidas Europass Match Ball

The official match balls have arrived at the Dallas Cup offices. This year we are using the newly designed adidas Europass. This is the ball that the German-based apparel and equipment giant unveiled in December, specially created for the 2008 European Championships (this June, co-hosted by Austria and Switzerland).

But here’s the neat part for the Dallas Cup: this will be adidas Europass ball’s debut in international competition. Even better, this version of the ball has been stamped with the Dallas Cup logo.

Our friends at adidas told us the ball has been used in a couple of youth tournaments in the United States. But Dr Pepper Dallas Cup XXIX, they say, will definitely mark the ball’s debut in international play.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Dr Pepper Dallas Cup XXIX-Does the Can! Can! Can!

Dr Pepper branded Dr Pepper Dallas Cup XXIX with the roll-out of over 600,000 cans with the touranment logo and special ticket promotion. This is the first time in Dallas Cup's 29 years, that this has happened- thank you Dr Pepper!!! Cans are available throughout the metroplex at convenience stores and retail grocery outlets. Fans may also see our can flying the friendly skies, on American Airlines planes around the United States.

Tournament tickets are on sale NOW- mention that you saw the can on this blog or on the Dallas Cup website ( and get $5 Off Adult All-Tournament Pass or $2 Off any Opening Day ticket or Stadium Day ticket!

Fans will also receive discounted tickets when they bring a Dr Pepper can to Pizza Hut Park during the week of the tournament (March 16-23, 2008)!