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Dynamo draw tough foe in powerful Valencia for Charities Cup

Jose de Jesus Orti, Houston Chronicle
Updated 10:29 pm, Wednesday, May 30, 2012

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  • Houston Dynamo soccer player Brian Ching at the BBVA Compass Stadium, Thursday, April 19, 2012, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle ) Photo: Michael Paulsen / © 2012 Houston Chronicle

    Houston Dynamo soccer player Brian Ching at the BBVA Compass Stadium, Thursday, April 19, 2012, in Houston. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle )

    Photo: Michael Paulsen

 

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Tonight: Valencia at Dynamo

What: Dynamo Charities Cup match.

When/where: 7:30 p.m.; BBVA Compass Stadium.

TV/radio: No TV; 790 AM and 107.9 FM.

Dynamo update: Using a reserve-type lineup Tuesday, the Dynamo were eliminated in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup in a 1-0 upset to the second-division San Antonio Scorpions. The Dynamo are likely to use more veteran stars in the Dynamo Charities Cup.

Valencia update: With six league titles in their 93-year history, Los Che are one of Spain's top clubs. They finished the 2011-12 season third behind European giants Real Madrid and Barcelona to earn a spot in the prestigious Champions League.

 

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Only Cristiano Ronaldo's Real Madrid and Lionel Messi's Barcelona had better results than Valencia this past season in the vaunted La Liga, which is arguably the best or second-best soccer league in the world.

Yet Valencia's renowned emblem with a flying bat at the top of its crest may not be a household brand in America on par with European giants Real Madrid and Barcelona. Los Che hope to extend their reach in North America this week with a visit to Houston.

In an attempt to grow its 93-year-old brand in America, Valencia will visit BBVA Compass Stadium to face the Dynamo on Thursday night in the annual Dynamo Charities Cup.

"We represent a great club in Spain," Valencia interim coach Juan Carlos Carcedo said. "And we have the obligation to try to do it right and try to come win."

Valencia, which has toured NASA during its four-day stay here, heads into the Charities Cup with plenty of confidence.

"Although theoretically we're superior, anything can happen in any game," Valencia midfielder David Albelda said. "We also have the experience in our league that not always when you play a theoretically inferior team you win."

For the first time in the Dynamo's seven-year history, they will face a team from La Liga. They lost last year's Dynamo Charities Cup to the Bolton Wanderers, who are considerably lower on the European soccer totem pole.

Exciting opportunity

"Any time you get to play against top competition, it's always exciting, especially when you're playing one of the premier clubs in Spain," Dynamo captain Brian Ching said. "I think some of the guys have already been talking about this game, and we look forward to it.

"It's an opportunity to test yourself and an opportunity to play against guys who are world class."

Just two days after using a reserve-type lineup in a 1-0 loss to the second-division San Antonio Scorpions in the U.S. Open Cup, the Dynamo are now the ones facing a team that would be considered a major step up in competition.

With a third-place finish in La Liga, Valencia just earned a spot in the prestigious European Champions League. To reinforce themselves ahead of that tournament, Los Che recently signed star Mexican midfielder Andres Guardado.

Crowd pleaser?

"Houston is a very important city that has welcomed us," Valencia president Manuel Llorente said. "I want to see a game that's beautiful and above all is very good for the fans who come to see it so that they can go away with a good image of Valencia."

 

jesus.ortiz@chron.com

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