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Friday, August 19, 2011
Can Dallas afford (not) to sell George John?

By Peter Welpton

While didn't quite peg the "surprise meter" like finding out Michael Jackson had died, the news of a bid for George John from Blackburn certainly seemed like the last thing on anyone's radar in a season going so swimmingly. John himself was quoted as being blind sided by the turn of events that might change his life forever.

But with FC Dallas' late week moves to grab Jeremy Hall it certainly feels like its going to happen.

John - who not too long ago was either struggling to not break while sprinting, or was limited to a panic clearance under the faintest of pressure - has blossomed into one of MLS' best center defenders with a new found level of calm and ability to unlock defensive situations without resorting to just clearing to the ball.

The concept of losing John at this juncture of the season would be the definition of "bittersweet". The rumored $2 million for rights would be a financial boon to FCD, and for a player they would otherwise likely lose for nothing at the end of 2012 (he's out of contract then). Of course that comes at the cost of tearing out one half of the league's better center defensive pairings and a considerable reason Dallas has been so successful in 2011. Add to the mix that Dallas is still participating in three different competitions, defense is certainly the team's thinnest position and its easy to see that $2 million might not seem all that much come December if the front office isn't sporting some new hardware.

While it's easy to freak out about losing a key player, let's not underestimate Hyndman. It wasn't that long ago Planet Earth had counted Dallas out of any contest due to it star player's broken ankle. How was Dallas ever going to overcome the loss of the league's MVP? Well, it did, and it did so with a new level of style, speed and team mentality that is largely the envy of the league.

Who would take George's spot? Most likely its Zack Loyd who's athleticism has always carried his game, but has made tremendous strides in his defensive tactics. Jackson has also filled in that spot, but he always feels like a penalty kick in the making. There is also Jacobson, who has some time at the spot. And, while blasphemous, Brek Shea at center back is an option, especially now that Castillio, Chavez, and Jackson can all capably fill out the wings.

The point to all of this is that selling George is less likely to doom the team's march to a championship than David's injury. Hyndman has proven that he deserves the space to mix and match his squad simply because he's done it so many times before. Remember that spell in 2010 when injuries mounted and the rookie brigade stepped up and kept the undefeated streak alive.

Personally, the $2 million isn't worth selling George. Dallas is too close to really doing something special and its fans certainly deserve the team's best continued effort. And there's a legit worry if John is ready for the EPL. It would be a shame to see him become another American sitting on a foreign bench when he could be getting more time for a club running to the finish line. But you can't deny a guy his chance to make it in the biggest of stages.

And it would behoove Dallas fans to get used to this situation, because it will be sooner than later before the same internet rumors start swirling about Brek Shea...

That would definitely something to freak out about.