Dallas Soccer: Barry Gorman

As we mentioned yesterday on twitter, FC Dallas today announced a new technical director. Somewhat of a surprise, it's none other than US Soccer Hall of Famer Fernando Clavijo.

“I want to thank Clark and Dan Hunt, Doug Quinn and Coach Schellas Hyndman for the opportunity to be a part of FC Dallas,” said Clavijo. “I’m very excited to be part of the technical staff and am eager to use my experience in helping FC Dallas be the best professional soccer team and the best player development academy in North America. Coach Hyndman already took us to the MLS Cup, now we need to get there again and win it.”

A native of Maldonado, Uruguay, Clavijo played three seasons in the American Soccer League, two in the North American Soccer League and 10 in Major League Soccer before transitioning to a spot on the sidelines. Inducted into the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame in 2005, Clavijo earned 61 caps for the U.S. National Team.

“After spending much time evaluating candidates for our technical director position, I am very happy we have Fernando joining our staff,” said Hyndman. “He brings experience as a coach and as an excellent recruiter in identifying talent. I truly believe he will make a positive difference in the direction of FC Dallas.”

When his playing career ended, Clavijo stepped to the sidelines and was head coach of the Colorado Rapids from 2005 to 2008. He also served as an assistant with the MetroStars in 1998 and head coach of the New England Revolution from 2000 to 2002. At the international level, Clavijo was an assistant coach with the Nigerian national team in 1998 and head coach of the Haitian national team from 2003 to 2005.

Most recently, Clavijo has served as executive director of soccer for Traffic Sports USA in Florida.

“We are very excited to bring a person of Fernando’s caliber to FC Dallas,” said FC Dallas President and CEO Doug Quinn. “It was difficult to find an individual who had the specific skills and experience that fit our unique needs for the pro team, our youth development program and the Academy; Fernando is the complete package. As a player, Fernando excelled on the field representing our national team and earning an induction into the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame. As a coach, both internationally and in MLS, Fernando cultivated the skill and knowledge needed to help our professional team, academy and youth programs rise to the next level.”

Buzz's knee-jerk reaction: While I don't love Clavijo's record as a coach, I do like his connections and time he's spent in scouting/talent evaluating as well as his level of MLS experience. The key to this hire will be his interaction with coach Hyndman. To often Barry Gorman's transactions seemed to be contrary to Hyndman's desires or plan. If Clavijo and Hyndman are on the same page this could work.

FC Dallas making progress in search for new Technical Director

January, 28, 2012
1/28/12
11:40
AM CT
With the start of the 2011 Major League Soccer regular season now about six weeks away, one has to wonder where FC Dallas is at when it comes to finding someone to replace Barry Gorman as the second technical director in franchise history.

FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman elaborated on how the search for a new TD is progressing after a Friday morning training session.

“We’ve interviewed some people,” Hyndman said. “I can’t really say who. They’re in different positions. I think there was a point in time where we really needed help-just before the draft, identifying players, international players. But we really need somebody now as teams are starting to make trades. I’m right in the middle of it again.”

The Dallas gaffer did state that their pool of candidates features individuals who have one form of MLS experience or another in their background, something that Gorman, a former college coach, clearly didn’t have.

“They’ve been in the league for an amount of time either as a coach or a technical director or so-called administrator,” Hyndman said. “I think we’ve learned some things. The thing is we’re not in as much of a rush right now but we are making some progress.”

Pre-draft Q&A with coach Schellas Hyndman

January, 12, 2012
1/12/12
12:16
PM CT
Today the 2012 MLS Super Draft and more importantly, who FC Dallas takes with the 11th overall pick will dominate much of the conversation surrounding our local club. But that isn’t the only thing on the mind of FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman these days. The start of preseason training is looming on Monday and the club is also looking for a new technical director to replace Barry Gorman. Here are the Soccer Sinsei’s thoughts on a wide array of subjects.

How do you feel about this year’s draft pool?

Hyndman: I think it’s a good pool of players with different varieties as far as positions. I think when the 11th pick comes around, I feel like there’s going to be a player that can help us. We’re looking more than likely at getting some support and more balance in our team.

What do you see as your side’s biggest need right now?

Hyndman: I think right now, it’ll probably be in the defense. It could be a center back. It could be a right back. It could be a left back. It also could be a flank midfielder. I think that’s where we’re probably focusing. Then there’s the other thought of do you select the best available player?

With the recent signing of Blas Perez, is it safe to say that you won’t be taking a forward at No. 11?

Hyndman: I think we’ve worked awfully hard in that area. We’ve got Blas Perez and we’re working very hard on another international striker or another striker. And I think we’ll have that covered and that may not be the area that we’ll need the balance in. If one of the best strikers did become available, I think we’ve got to look at it seriously.

Speaking of Perez, do you expect him and fellow newcomer Hernan Pertuz to be in town in time for the start of preseason early next week?

Hyndman: Yeah, we hope so. A big thing with international players is getting their P-1, getting their passport, visa and everything in place. If they’re not there, I think they will be there shortly.

Is there any update on the George John situation?

Hyndman: Right now, that’s still up in the air.

Are you ready for the start of preseason?

Hyndman: Yeah, there’s not much of a break, is there? We start on Monday. I think the final’s on Dec. 1. It’s going to be a long season. Yes, I know we’re ready. I know all the coaches in the league are ready. We’re hoping our players are ready.

How has the draft process changed without Gorman being involved?

Hyndman: Barry was a big part of helping us identify players throughout the college season. His reports and recommendations were very helpful up to the draft. But once we get to the draft, it’ll be our coaching staff, Doug Quinn but we also have a competition committee that meets regularly, about every week. There’s Clark Hunt, Dan Hunt and Jimmy Smith, who’s our chief financial officer. We’ll meet every week to discuss players, allocation money, the financial side of it, salary cap, draft, trades, acquiring players. Barry was a part of that until he moved to college recruiting. Now we’re in the process of trying to identify a very good technical director that can help us in that full process. That person will not be on board by the time the draft takes place, but we wanted to really take our team and try to find the right person.

With just one pick in this year’s draft, do you feel any added pressure to hit a home run with your only choice?

Hyndman: No, not really, there’s always the pressure of getting the right person. I think soccer wise, you spend a lot of time identifying players and during the combine, you’re trying to see if what you’ve identified meets the level of competition. And then you try to project how that player might be fitting into your team. When is he going to get on the field? Is it this year? Is it a reserve role? Is it a starting role? A lot of work goes into that but the biggest part is really doing the background check on the person’s character, work ethic and team chemistry. Those are the things that we really don’t want to miss on.

Is trading up into the top six a possibility?

Hyndman: It was a huge discussion three, four weeks ago. Probably within the last seven days, the discussion has gone to no, we’re probably not going to do it. And I think a big part of it is we still think we’ll get a good player on the 11th pick. I want to say good player, somebody that’s going to be able to contribute to the team and the team’s needs.

Have you finalized what players you’re going to bring in for preseason yet?

Hyndman: Yeah, we’ve got a few trialists coming in. We’ve got Scott Sealy coming in from San Jose. His option wasn’t picked up at striker and then we’ve got a boy coming out of Canada who has U.S. citizenship, his last name is Horton. And then we have the boy we put on our Discovery List and has been with us, Chris Ispienza. I can’t pronounce his last name. We’ve got a couple more that we will be able to look at to see if they are going to be able to contribute to our roster.

Do you feel pretty good about how your roster is shaping up heading into preseason?

Hyndman: Yeah but there’s always little thunderbolts here and there with players’ injuries or players’ mentality, but I think the key part for us is getting David Ferreira back and getting him into a leadership role and getting his confidence to where he can contribute to the success of the team this year.

This year marks your fourth draft. How do you think your approach has changed if at all since that first draft you had back in 2009?

Hyndman: I think our approach has always been to be fair to kind of do a mock draft of where we think we’re going to end up with players. Then, we look very closely at the opposition and kind of think what their needs might be. All of us here probably pick the first six that are going to go in the draft because they’re pretty exceptional. Those are the six that every team would want because they probably are gifted enough to help immediately. The next six, there’s probably going to be a lot of movement. There could be some surprises. Somebody could have done really well at the combine that we didn’t rate prior and all of a sudden, that person sticks out. I think the big thing for us is to just be prepared, which we are and then to go into it with some scenarios of who do we think will be available at our draft pick. Right now we’ve got for the 11th spot, we think four players potentially could be available. We list those four players if all of them are available, who’s our No. 1 pick, our No. 2, our No. 3 and our No. 4. Those top six, we’re not going to get unless we move up. When we get to the pick and one of those four are available, we’ll go ahead and make that decision to take that player. We’ve really done our homework and we’re prepared for it.

You mentioned Perez might not be the only forward you add. Discuss.

Hyndman: We’re trying to add another forward whether it’s an international or another player in the league. This is an area that we think we couldn’t deal with this past year. We did everything right but in front of the goal we didn’t score enough. The second thing is we had to move people around to try to get some speed into the attack whether it was Jackson, Chavez, whether it was Castillo. We were looking for a striker, a Santos. We kept trying to find that player that was the right forward. And then you have to understand we’re sitting in a situation where Blas Perez will probably be getting call-ups from the national team. So even though he’s on your roster, you’re paying him and he’s your forward, there’s going to be plenty of times he’s probably not with us. So, for security purposes, call-ups or whatever, we need more than one forward that we can really count on. And we’re hoping for a breakout year from Ruben this year.

Who will FC Dallas look at to replace Barry Gorman?

December, 4, 2011
12/04/11
2:29
PM CT
With the recent news that FC Dallas technical director Barry Gorman will no longer remain in that capacity, one of the bigger questions surrounding FCD this off-season centers around who they will name to replace Gorman? There are at least several in-house candidates or FCD could bring someone in from outside. Here’s a look at three possibilities from inside the organization:

IN-HOUSE CANDIDATES

John Ellinger --- Currently FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman’s top lieutenant, Ellinger does have some TD experience on his resume. While it came after he was relieved of head coaching duties during his time with Real Salt Lake, it is experience nonetheless. Ellinger also built a solid portfolio during his time working with US soccer, specifically on the youth development side. He’s also a guy that knows Major League Soccer in and out. But the big question with him would be would he want to take a gig that would take him out of coaching and might mean longer hours and more travel? He and Hyndman do already have a solid professional relationship, so that wouldn’t be an issue.

Marco Ferruzzi --- Ferruzzi is currently FCD’s longest-tenured assistant coach, having been with the club since 2004. He’s been an able lieutenant for three different head coaches in that time: Colin Clarke, Steve Morrow and now Schellas Hyndman. He even had a short stint as interim head coach between when Morrow was fired and Hyndman officially hired in 2008. Ferruzzi is a guy with a great grasp of the league since he has been coaching in MLS for the last eight seasons and before that, was a player. He would be a solid choice to move up, especially since he’s familiar with the Dallas organization top to bottom, but would he welcome what figures to be a much bigger workload as the club’s TD?

Oscar Pareja ---“Papi” continues to be a real asset to this organization and it’s been well publicized what kind of role he played in helping FCD land fellow Colombian Fabian Castillo earlier this year. He would be a great hire when it comes to scouting and eventually signing Latin and South American players because of his network of contacts from his pro career. He also knows MLS very well after stints as both a player and an assistant coach. The only question with the affable Pareja is whether or not he’d give up his gig working with the FCD reserves and youth academy to accept the TD gig? If he wants the job, then it could very well be his for the asking.

EXTERNAL CANDIDATES

I’m not going to use this forum right now as an avenue to speculate about who FCD might look at for this position, but here are several points to consider as they look for a new TD.

Someone familiar with MLS is essential --- Gorman’s familiarity with the college game was a big selling point but if he had a shortcoming, it was a lack of knowledge when it came to the league. As a consequence he had to learn on the fly. Having someone who knows the ins and outs of MLS and how to get quality players is essential for this position.

Maybe someone Hyndman doesn’t know --- It was well documented when Gorman was hired how long he and Hyndman had been friends. No decision in Frisco about the soccer side of the club gets made without an approving nod from the gaffer, so will Hyndman decide to change directions and bring in someone he doesn’t know all that well? Probably not.

Possibly someone without a college background --- It’s hard to fault the choice of Gorman given the initial logic. Hyndman was a former college coach who brought in a colleague for the TD job. And FCD’s first and likely only draft under Gorman did net them Bobby Warshaw, who is a bit raw but looks like a player, so Goerman’s background did pay off at least in that fashion. But other than drafting, how much does having a guy with a college background really benefit a team in MLS? I submit not all that much as anyone who gets this gig can scout players no matter the level. Since FCD went with an ex-college coach the first time around, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see them go a completely different direction this time.

Barry Gorman will not return as FCD Technical Director in 2012

November, 14, 2011
11/14/11
8:22
PM CT
According to multiple sources, FC Dallas has declined to renew the contract of FC Dallas Technical Director Barry Gorman for 2012. Sometime in the last month or two of the season, Gorman had his responsibilities shifted to scouting and has been almost exclusively scouting college games for FCD since. Our sources say Gorman remains an FCD employee but won't be back for next season.

Gorman was hired by FC Dallas in 2010 to be the club's chief player personnel man, but several disappointing moves last winter and this year have led to the club not retaining it's TD. Trades like the Alexander/Hall move or the Avail/Santos deal failed to pan out this year. The misplay of Dax McCarty in the expansion draft last off-season as well as the failure of some signings to pay dividends, like Bruno Martins, likely all contributed to Gorman's downfall.

Not all of Gorman' s moves were negative, Ricardo Villar seems a solid player and Fabian Castillo without a doubt has talent. Both players came in this season under Gorman's watch.

It remains to be see if FCD will try and replace Gorman or go back to coach Schellas Hyndman and staff handeling all the scouting and player signings.

The five worst FC Dallas coaching moves of 2011

November, 10, 2011
11/10/11
3:42
PM CT
Last week we talked about the five best moves of 2011. Now it's time to look at the five worst.

Despite the failure to win a trophy and the bad finish to the season, it was still a fairly strong year for FCD. Even with the loss of David Ferreira, FCD still played well and racked up some nice scalps. Yet the season could have been even better if not for some mistakes.

5. Lack of depth / Not Playing Reserves

Last winter FCD lost a ton of their depth with the departure of Dax McCarty, Atiba Harris, Heath Pearce, Dario Sala, and Jeff Cunningham. During the season FCD got rid of Kyle Davies, Eric Alexander, Eric Avila, Peri Marosevic, and Milton Rodriguez. Yes, some of those players were replaced, but many of them were not. FCD was left with a more shallow roster and less depth while going into their heaviest fixture load season in franchise history.

Add to that the most Home Grown players in MLS with six: Moises Hernandez, Bryan Leyva, Ruben Luna, Richard Sanchez, Jonathan Top, and Victor Ulloa. Only one of those players saw first team action, Ruben Luna. That's 5 of 6 never getting on the field.

Of the 10 players on the reserve roster, several others never say action. With Kevin Hartman playing all but one game, and Chris Seitz playing that one, both Josh Lambo and Richard Sanchez never saw the field. Four keepers when you have a starter like Hartman isn't a good idea. Of the other reserve players, Bobby Warshaw played in 17 games, as the first round pick that is to be expected, and Andrew Wiedeman saw action in three games, none of them starts, for a total of 59 minutes.

That means of 10 reserve spots, only 3 saw any playing time, one of them a minuscule amount. That's in effect 8 roster spots out of the 30 potentially available that, for the purposes of this season, might as well have been empty.

With the heaviest fixture load in club history, FCD should have been stockpiling depth that could get on the field rather than losing it. Overuse of senior players in the heavy game load is certainly a direct factor in the injuries and fatigue down the stretch.

4. Reserves For Tauro

Four games into the Champions League group stage, FCD was feeling pretty good about their standing going into a game at Tauro in Panama. Tauro had yet to win a single game in group play and FCD was in a solid position, so the club felt comfortable fielding a week lineup featuring several backs up, younger players, and reserves.

That decision proved to be a mistake as Tauro steam rolled FCD to the tune of a 5-3 whooping. FCD's defense was crushed, the goal against mark was greatly harmed, and two players were red carded (in moments of immaturity in an already lost game) and thus out for the FCD final game against Toronto. FCD underestimated their competition and paid the price.

That 5-3 loss to Tauro, even more than the final game against Toronto FC, cost FCD their spot in the next round.

3. Hall for Alexander Trade

Let's be real, this trade is nothing short of a disaster. Granted, FCD needed some defensive depth. Also granted Eric Alexander had slipped a little down the depth chart with the play of Ricardo Villar and the arrival of Daniel Cruz. Moving a midfield piece for a defensive piece isn't a bad idea in and of itself.

But Eric Alexander was cheap ($46K), hard working, and a big part of the locker room chemistry here. His versatility allowed him to play both centrally and wide in coach Hyndman's system. Alexander could and did start with FCD not missing a beat. Down the stretch in the CCL and the league Alexander could have really helped this team.

To compound that Jeremy Hall, to this point anyway, doesn't look to be up to FCD standards. Hall made multiple mistakes when forced into the starting lineups and was arguably responsible for some of the losses FCD sustained. Hall had lost his job with Portland and is really expensive for a backup player at $80K base, $129K with bonuses.

Expensive, a backup, and maybe not good enough in his current form. That's a bad trifecta.

2. Failure to Find a High Striker

Next on the list is the failure to land a goal scoring high striker. Tied for 9th (with two goals) is how far you have to go down the FCD scoring list to find a true striker. Brek Shea (a mid), Marvin Chavez (a mid), Jackson (a defender), David Ferreira (a mid and missing most of the year), and George John (a center back for goodness sake) all finished above the first true striker on the chart in the form of Maicon Santos. Heck Santos was tied with 3 other players, only one of who can kinda be thought of as a striker, Fabian Castillo.

Ever since Kenny Cooper left this team has been short a striker, I would argue even before that they were missing one anyway, with Jeff Cunningham out it only got worse. One reason FCD plays a 4-1-4-1 is the lack of a striker to play in a 4-4-2 as the coach would prefer. The later half of the season, Jackson, a flank defender, was the best option up top in the coach's eyes.

This mistake is, in effect, three fold. First, going into the season with Milton Rodriguez as the only proven option was a failure. That mistake was compounded when Rodriguez wasn't up to form and FCD had to cut him mid-season. Second, bringing in Maicon Santos, while at least an effort to get someone, didn't work out and Santos only netted twice in eleven games for FCD. Third, Santos was cup-tied for CONCACAF Champions League play by virtue of being on Toronto FC's CCL roster. So Santos was going to be worthless in FCD's biggest competition, leaving FCD shorthanded both positionally and in roster numbers in those games.

1. Failure to deal with George John Transfer Sage and Bobby Rhine Death

The wheels all came off for FCD in September and October.

We are all well aware by now of the Goerge John transfer saga with Blackburn. In summation there was a little finger pointing, some bad timing, John missing the CCL game at Toronto on August 25th, the deal falling apart, and John staying with FCD.

Then on September 5th, Bobby Rhine passed away. A tragedy that rocked the entire organization and fan base.

Here's some telling numbers...

At the start of the year Ugo Ihemelu and George John had both been hurt in the off-season. They started to get fit and gel right about the time David Ferreira was lost for the year. Through the Vancouver game, when Ferreira was hurt, FCD was giving up 1.5 goals a game and had a 2-1-4 record. After Ferreria was lost everything changed. It was in effect a start over on the season.

After that Vancouver game John and Ugo were back to top form and FCD locked down the defense. Between the Vancouver game, when Ferreira went down for the year, and the death of Bobby Rhine, FCD played 29 games in all competitions (CCL, USOC, MLS, RGP). In those games FCD allowed 24 goals for a 0.82 goals against average. Their record over that span was a glittering 18 wins, 6 ties, and a paltry 5 losses. If not the best team in MLS, they were darn sure close. FCD had an outside shot at the Supporters Shield and was closing in on LA, they were cruising through the US Open Cup, and were in a comfortable place in the Champions League group table.

After the passing of Rhine, FCD played 12 games in all competitions and allowed a staggering 23 goals. That's a 1.92 goals against average... more than an entire goal a game more. The record over that time with the defense in disarray... 2 wins, 1 tie, and 10 losses.

So is there fault to be placed here? How does a team deal with a tragedy like the passing of a club icon like Bobby Rhine. Combine it with the blow to chemistry presented by the Jon transfer saga. (side note: if you do the calculations through the game John missed its 0.8 GAA 15-6-4 before, 1.8 GAA 4-1-10 after)

On top of all that FCD had an insane game load in the hottest part of the year. Eight games each in July and August (when FCD was winning), 7 games in September and 6 in October that perhaps led to injuries to key players.

So where does the blame lie? Is it George John's fault? Perhaps some, but not all. Is it Coach Hyndman's fault? Some, perhaps not all. How about the other defenders? Sure, again some, but not all. Injuries to Daniel Hernandez and Andrew Jacobson? Sure, a bit. Did the front office not handle the Rhine passing well in terms of how it effected the team? I don't know, I though the showed class across the board on the Rhine passing. I certainly can't point to anything they did wrong.

How much was locker room chemistry shattered by John, Rhine, and whatever else we don't know about. It certainly seems like not everyone was on the bus by season end.

The bottom line, my friends, is that defense wins championships. The defense went to somewhere hot in a hand basket, and the FCD record payed the price.

Who's fault may not matter as much as understanding what all went wrong and focusing on getting it fixed.

Q&A: FCD technical director Barry Gorman

June, 27, 2011
6/27/11
6:01
PM CT
Caught up with FCD technical director Barry Gorman on Monday afternoon and discussed a number of subjects. Here is that exchange:

Can you tell us anything about the new trialist, Papa?

Gorman:
Not really. I just got off the phone with his agent today and said I need this, this and this. Once I get it, then I’ll have more information.

Do you even have his last name?

Gorman:
I met him this morning for the first time. Schellas called him ‘Papa’. We have information that’s coming, the whole, full story.

What is the latest about the other trialist, Ravid Gazal, that went to Midland?

Gorman:
He was just in until that game and then, we’ll be discussing him further. It’s a topic of discussion this week. But with Schellas being out of town, we haven’t had a chance to follow up on it.

What did you guys think of his performance while he was here?

Gorman:
Schellas liked him and it may be one for the future.

Do you feel like you guys are close on one of the two guys from the Gold Cup?

Gorman:
We’re close and we’re far away. That’s the most direct answer I can give. It’s one of those things that could happen tomorrow but it could also drag on.

Are there any players within MLS that you’re looking at acquiring via trade?

Gorman:
We’re talking to people but there’s nothing concrete. Right now at this stage, it’s all open season-people talking back and forth, seeing what’s available and who may be traded for whom.

Do you feel forward remains the biggest need for this club?

Gorman:
That’s the position that we have targeted, that we want to bring in a very good starter.

Is adding defensive cover a secondary area of concern?

Gorman:
Yes, it is. It’s one that we want to address but it’s definitely not the No. 1 priority because we have people who are flexible in playing in different positions.

How impressed have you been with the team’s resiliency this year first without Ferreira and now without Castillo?

Gorman:
I have been thoroughly impressed by it. I think it shows the amount of character that we have in the dressing room and I think it’s hats off to the coaching staff that they’re able to get the guys on the same page and buy into what they’re trying to achieve. The fact that they can dismiss David’s absence and now Fabian’s absence and still get on with the job, they’re rolling their sleeves up and they’re just going about their business.

Is getting Benitez extended still a priority?

Gorman:
No, we signed Jair last year to a good deal, so he’s in good shape. That was done during the season. He’s in a good situation but we had put in place a lot of things that look long-term, especially with core players. We’ve been addressing situations where player’s contracts are up either next year or the end of next year. We’re trying to address those so that we’re not doing it in a rush at the end of the season. We’re trying to demonstrate that there’s stability in the program, in the club and in the players that we want here.

Who can we expect the next player to be extended?

Gorman:
Stay tuned for an announcement in the near future.

Are we talking next month, by the end of the summer or what? In the next couple of weeks?

Gorman:
Earlier than that. Yes, hopefully.

Is this a veteran guy or somebody that’s newer to the club?

Gorman:
You can’t pry that out of me but I don’t blame you for trying.

Soccer sensei q&a: June 13, 2011

June, 14, 2011
6/14/11
4:10
AM CT
Nothing practice-related since today was a recovery day after yesterday evening’s 4-1 loss to Kansas City but did catch up with the Soccer Sensei afterwards and here’s what he had to say.

Are there any positives you can take away from the 4-1 loss to Sporting KC?

Hyndman: Yes, there is one, that game’s behind us. That’s the positive. That one’s done.

Your team gave up several soft goals in that loss. Do you consider that an anomaly?

Hyndman: Yeah, I would hope so. It kind of reflected back to my first year here. The first few months I was here, every mistake led to a goal and it just seemed like it was disorganized.

Yesterday, we had too many people that were off. It’s one thing to have one guy off in the defense because it creates a problem but I thought we had more than one off. It could be a combination of a tough May and then heat has worn us down. It could be a situation where we’re underestimating the opponent. They sat back in a 4-5-1. It’s hard to break a team down when they’re trying to go on the counter. We didn’t create enough chances. I thought just before halftime, we were really taking it to them but then halftime came and then they scored early, just too many basic mistakes but I hope it’s abnormal.

Did you have any inkling this might happen in training last week?

Hyndman: I thought we had a good week of teaching in training. Monday, we have our pretty focused coaches’ meeting. We have a coaches’ meeting every day but Monday is the one where we really focus on because we’re talking about our last performance, our concerns and our solutions.

Well, what has happened in this game has brought some different concerns. It’s not like we’ve got to finish better. We didn’t get that many chances. We’ve got to keep better possession. Now we’re talking about as a team we’ve got to step up and not let this rut happen again.

How do you think Jackson fared as a halftime sub?

Hyndman: I thought he did well. He was one of the bright spots.

What about your other halftime change, Milton Rodriguez?

Hyndman: It’s tough to judge. It’s hard to play against a team that’s got a lead on you and they’re still sitting back. They go down a man and they’re still sitting back. We got a lot of crosses in but unfortunately, we were pretty stagnant up front and weren’t able to get in front of them.

How do you feel Jair Benitez has performed since coming back from his knee injury?

Hyndman: I felt he had done really well considering he came back off a pretty bad knee injury. It was just a poor team performance and he was part of that team.

Is it good you guys have a short week before facing Chivas USA?

Hyndman: I think anytime you have a poor performance, you want to get it out of your system and get to the next game. The thing that hurts us is yes, it was a poor performance but it was also a home performance. Our fans deserve better than what they saw.

Is it good and bad to have the unbeaten streak end?

Hyndman: Well, I think there are two ways to look at it. You want the streak to go on forever. You really would.

When you look at the Mavericks season and winning the NBA championship, fantastic but they had some ups and downs through the year. What made them a champion was how they came through those ups and downs. So we have an opportunity now to put our best out there.

What can you do to help Castillo and Chavez be better in the final third?

Hyndman: Ideally, you would like Milton to have that speed and experience because he’s a true finisher and if he had that, he wouldn’t be here. He’d be somewhere else. You just have to understand you’re taking their best. Yes, you wish you had better finishing. We’re continuing to work on that. They’re both good enough players that they can continue to improve on it but for over a year, we’ve talked about getting that player, that striker that has that finishing ability and all those type of things. With the success we had last year, it was hard to think about getting anything like that out of the draft.

If you can just satisfy one need in the July transfer window, what would that be?

Hyndman: I have a lot of confidence in this team. We’d like to have another defender in case we have injuries. We’d like to have another playmaker because we don’t have David [Ferreira] and we’d like to have a striker, a pure striker. If you said to me, we can only have one, I think we would settle with that pure striker because we have Chavez who can go out wide, Castillo who can go out wide but we just need a clinical finisher with athleticism.

Are you guys going to look more internationally or maybe within MLS during the July window?

Hyndman: It’s really both right now. The Gold Cup has really got our interest. We see some really good players out there. Unfortunately, many of them are doing their own contracts or in contracts. Barry Gorman has been on the road probably the last 3 or 4 weeks looking at players.

Last summer, you talked about getting Jair Benitez a contract extension. Is there any news on that front?

Hyndman: I’m sure we have. Again, I stay out of those type of things. Right now, we’re pretty content with what we have and there are a few players we’re trying to re-sign. Doug Quinn and Barry are in constant conversations on that and then we have competition committee meetings to stay abreast of that as well.

If you had your way, would you rather see contract extensions done in season so that process doesn’t occupy anyone’s time during the off-season?

Hyndman: Of course, you’d love to do pre contracts and then you know what you have. You also wouldn’t have to put time and energy into finding players or the other side of it, somebody might pop up like how a Carlos Ruiz popped up for the Union at the last minute. They probably spent hours and hours on the road looking for a player and then, he just pops up.

You also have to be in the right place, the right time, the right lottery spot, all those things. With more and more success that your team has, the less those opportunities come. When Charlie Davies comes back, he’s not coming to Dallas. He’s going to one of the weaker teams in the league and when a Ruiz comes back, he’s not going to Dallas. He’s going to one of those teams.

For us and we talked about this quite a bit with the team today, we want to let this game be out of our mind. We want to move forward and see the best out of us. Now we want to see the FC Dallas team that everybody has grown to enjoy seeing come back.

This weekend will be your first time to face Heath Pearce since you traded him. How do you look back on that deal?

Hyndman: All moves are difficult moves when you’re dealing with people, characters and personalities. We as an organization felt it was the best move for us to be able to bring in a Castillo or somebody like a Castillo. You look at how well our defense has done up to now, you would say Castillo has helped and our defense has survived. We don’t have the depth. You can’t continue to have very high-profile, expensive players and then leave another segment of your team not completed.

For Heath, he’s doing well. They’re turning that team. I think he might be captain of the team, so he’s having an opportunity to be a leader. For Heath, games like this are an opportunity for him to focus all his energy on beating FC Dallas.

Ferreira is now in his walking boot. How’s he doing?

Hyndman: We don’t know. He’s just getting treatment. Is it two months away? Is it three months away? Is it four months away? Is it a season? We don’t know.

How often do you talk to him?

Hyndman: We try to catch up with him every day when he comes in for treatment.

What have those conversations been like?

Hyndman: How you doing? We miss you. Is there anything I can do. He knows he’s just got to go through his routine.

What is his current frame of mind? Is he chomping at the bit yet?

Hyndman: Not yet, I think he’s still in a lot of pain. This thing may be longer than I’d like it to be but on the other side, he’s really pleased at how well the team has been doing without him.

FC Dallas Practice Notebook

June, 2, 2011
6/02/11
1:05
AM CT
Am changing the format of the practice report around a bit, this one will be more like a practice notebook. FCD returns to the pitch on Saturday night against New England at Pizza Hut Park and their home grounds are a much welcome sight after spending last week on the road, facing Seattle and Houston away from home. So, here’s a look at what went on at training today but in the meantime, here are a few bullet points:
  • Loyd injured?
  • Benitez rusty
  • Jackson already gone
  • A new defender this summer?
  • Ferreira update
MISSING MAN FORMATION

There were two notable absences from training today and they were both in the back. Center back George John is still working his way back from a groin strain but joining him on the sidelines was fullback Zach Loyd, who has been starting on the left side with Jair Benitez on the sidelines. Hyndman addressed Loyd’s injury albeit briefly.

“Just a shin bruise. He’ll be fine.”

One thing worth noting is that Loyd’s injury was so bad that he wasn’t able to walk back to the locker room on his own. Now, FCD was practicing on Field #4 and maybe him getting a ride back to the room was precautionary but it still doesn’t look too good.

As for John, he may or may not be able to return this weekend according to Hyndman.

“I think it’s day-to-day. I think it’s a lot better today than it was yesterday but I haven’t had a chance to talk to the trainers yet.”

The FCD defensive ranks figure to be even thinner this weekend as normal starting right back Jackson will miss the Revs game as he is getting married back in his native Brazil. He has already headed home to South America and the gaffer was asked about his absence, which may be excused or unexcused depending on how one perceives this quote.

“He’s got personal issues. We just support him on his issues. Yes [he will be back next week.”

MANY HAPPY RETURNS

Sure, the 2-2 draw at Houston on Saturday was a huge downer but one big plus was the return of Jair Benitez, who came on for Jackson at the break and performed well in the final 45 minutes against the Dynamo.

“I thought he did very well. He was a guy that we called and couldn’t go to Seattle. No coach, I’m not ready. I don’t have the confidence to make a tackle. We go to Seattle on Monday and on Thursday, he meets us at the airport going to Houston. I don’t how much better his confidence got on his tackle but I think he was very committed to the team needing him. So we were glad to get both him and Milton [Rodriguez] to join us to Houston and part of that reason was because George was banged up. We weren’t sure if George could go or not and then he failed his game test and that put Jair into the top 18.”

It also looks like forward Milton Rodriguez is back to full fitness as well.

“It’s hard to gauge him because of that IT band but when I talked to him, he said it’s fine. I asked him the percentage and he said between 90 and 95. That’s better than 75.”

But the news isn’t exactly as good for Cuban forward Maykel Galindo and honestly, some have to wonder what if any sort of contribution he’s going to make at all in 2011.

“Galindo’s just coming back. He said he had a decent week of training last week. The issue he ran into was pain after training. We want to get past that stage. When there’s pain, something’s not right. Maybe he needs to back off a little bit or maybe don’t go two days in a row intense.”

REINFORCEMENTS ON THE WAY?

With the wave of recent injuries in the back, no one who follows FCD even as a casual fan can really blame the gaffer or TD Barry Gorman if they are looking at possibly bringing in players to add defensive depth in the July transfer window. Check out the Soccer Sensei’s quote that was buried at the end of a question about his club’s current lack of depth in the back.

“[Our lack of depth is] definitely a concern, something we’ve been talking about for the summer window as well.”

Here’s the rest of that quote:

“We’re definitely thin. The month of June is really a good month for us when you look at the schedule, four games, three of them at home. We want to use this month as more of a training month where we don’t have to travel as much. So we’re trying to get things done. Today, we really spent the whole training session playing numbers up and numbers down, something I haven’t been able to do. Of course, the Houston game makes me realize I haven’t covered that yet and then just continue to work on the fitness. I think defensively, this is one of the areas that we’re thin in. You saw what happened when we lost George [John] and Bobby Warshaw comes in and does a good job. Now we’re not prepared to lose other players.”

Speaking of FCD’s 2011 first round pick, Bobby Warshaw, the gaffer had good things to say about how the Stanford product has fared in his recent action.

“It’s a big jump and I think at this level, he’s probably a better central midfielder where there are people around him. The two previous games he played in were designed to give him more playing time, to build him into potential injuries or those extra games we’ve got coming up. To throw him into a center back position against Houston on the road, those are tough things to do and I thought he did fine.”

WALKING THE LINE

David Ferreira continues to be sidelined after the broken leg he suffered in May. However, there is some news on how his recovery is progressing.

“Just recovering, he’s still in the hard cast. He comes in daily, goes through his therapy and I think next week, he goes into a walking boot and then probably the workload will be weight bearing with that walk boot and then there will be more and more things that he’ll be asked to do.”

But when asked if that has changed his timetable for returning, Hyndman was admittedly unsure.

“No, it’s so different and a big part of it is the mental strength of the person.”

FC Dallas acquires Andrew Jacobson

February, 18, 2011
2/18/11
12:39
PM CT
FC Dallas has acquired Andrew Jacobson from Philadelphia Union in exchange for a 2013 second round pick. Jacobson is a big, strong, and mobile central midfielder with a tough defensive streak. A player I quite liked at the combine a couple years ago, Jacobson is a good passer and ball handler for a deep playing mid of his size. A reminded me of Matt McKeon a bit, if anyone else goes back that far in MLS.

Jacobson will most likely back up Daniel Hernandez, but could compete for the McCarty linking spot. Like Hernandez, Jacobson could probably play center back in a pinch. Don't under sell the Kevin Grimes Cal Bear connection here, as Hyndman will know this player well from Grimes.

What this means for Bruno Guarda and Bruno Martins has yet to be seen, but Jacobson's arrival at this point of the pre-season can't inspire confidence in them. Guarda did play mostly as Dax McCarty's back up last season, but Eric Alexander seem ahead of him in that spot as well. It even begs the question if perhaps first round pick Bobby Warshaw may not be up to standard at this time.

Here's FCD's PR on the move.

FC Dallas acquires midfielder Andrew Jacobson
Midfielder joins defending Western Conference Champions from Philadelphia Union

FC Dallas acquired midfielder Andrew Jacobson from the Philadelphia Union in exchange for the club’s second round natural selection in the 2013 Major League Soccer SuperDraft, the club announced today.

“I’m very happy to have Andrew join FC Dallas,” said head coach Schellas Hyndman. “He’s a very good player, a center midfielder who will also go back in defense. He brings size to the team, but he’s also got very good soccer feet and might seem like a 5’10” player rather than his actual 6’2”. He comes from a great program under Kevin Grimes at Cal, and I see him contributing to this team immediately.”

Acquired by Philadelphia in the 2009 Expansion Draft, Jacobson started 13 of 25 games and played a total of 1,294 minutes for the Union in 2010. Prior to joining Philadelphia, Jacobson made 17 appearances, totaling 845 minutes in the midfield for D.C. United during the 2009 MLS season. Jacobson scored one goal during the 2009 season. The goal came in a 2-1 win over the Harrisburg City Islanders in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals.

“Andrew will be a good addition to FC Dallas,” Technical Director Barry Gorman said. “It was an opportunity for us to pick up an experienced player in a covering position.”

Jacobson played with FC Lorient of France’s Ligue 1 in 2008 and was named to the U.S. National Futsal Team roster, playing in four matches at the Futsal World Cup in Brazil. He was a NSCAA First Team All-American, a member of the All-Far West First Team and PAC-10 Player of the Year as a senior at Cal. He had 11 goals and 13 assists in 83 appearances for the Bears.

Name: Andrew Jacobson
Position: M
DOB: Sept. 24, 1985
Birthplace: Palo Alto, Calif.
Height: 6-2
Weight: 185
Previous Club: Philadelphia Union

Was Heath Pearce traded against Schellas Hyndman's wishes?

February, 16, 2011
2/16/11
12:40
AM CT
The following quote from Barry Gorman was shared with me today by another reporter.

"We try to keep the coaches out of the direct line with these things. But Schellas did argue and fight for holding onto an experienced member of his squad. Schellas is looking at his squad and who he has available, and Heath was an important part of the squad last year. So moving forward, yes, he would like to keep him. But the reality is what we spoke about before."


"What we spoke about before," by the way, is the roster flexibility and cap room.

That quote immediately raises the question in my head, did Barry Gorman make the Heath Pearce trade against the wishes of Schellas Hyndman?

It sure sounds like it doesn't it? But I'm going to go out on a limb and bet Gorman talked Hyndman into making the deal. By the end, I'm sure, Hyndman was convinced to buy into the Pearce move.

And I imagine that the other side of the coin, the one that convinced Hyndman to do the deal, is a potential striker signing. Allocation money for sure will help land a striker. Allocation order, which Dallas may have landed with this move (Chivas USA was #1 in the allocation order after DC took Charlie Davies it sppears), could be even bigger.

So does this move mean we are about to see a striker signing by FC Dallas?

It sure seems like it.

Some thoughts on the FC Dallas personnel moves

February, 15, 2011
2/15/11
3:49
PM CT
FC Dallas Technical Director Barry Gorman and the club’s coaching staff have been busy over the last few days. Of course, the most recent news came on early Tuesday afternoon when it was announced the club had traded defender Heath Pearce to Chivas USA for allocation money.

But in the last few days, FCD has cut loose midfielder Brayan Martinez, a 2011 supplemental draft pick from Seton Hall, forward Sheldon Palmer, a trialist from Jamaica, and second-year striker Jason Yeisley, a 2010 draft pick.

Here’s a look at all four moves.

Brayan Martinez---As crowded as the FCD midfield is, there was little to no chance of this guy making even the bottom of the roster. He had to figure his time here would be short considering the logjam of players in the midfield. Still, he could catch on in the USL and work his way up. A pure no-brainer move here by Gorman and company.

Sheldon Palmer---Hyndman liked his athleticism and the fact he worked hard on both sides of the ball. But last week, the Dallas gaffer said he wanted to see more from the Jamaican striker when it came to shooting and finishing. At one point, he even compared him to FCD expatriate Dominic Oduro. We all know Dom didn’t last too long after Schellas took over, so that should have been the first sign that he was living on borrowed time here.

Heath Pearce---This is a simple case of someone getting off the bus. Maybe that’s a strong statement but the whole issue with Pearce’s hamstring during the playoffs last fall was something that never set well with the gaffer. Hyndman even discussed early in preseason how the injury happened because Pearce was doing extra work after practice that wasn’t necessary. The bus driver never came out and said it but the tone of his comments alluded to the fact that it was something he wasn’t happy about. He was also pretty disappointed that after Pearce turned down an invite to the January US national team camp so that he could come to Dallas early and be ready to go for preseason that Heath was injured the first week of practice and didn’t play over the weekend in Houston. And in Hyndman’s comments earlier today, he said he needed someone he could depend on, which implied that he could no longer trust Pearce. Many thought Heath wouldn’t be back for 2011 and how right those folks were.

Jason Yeisley---A 2010 draft pick, Yeisley got a bit of run early in the year but the main reason he got minutes was because other than Jeff Cunningham, the club was completely bereft of forwards. Milton Rodriguez wouldn’t arrive until June and play until July and Ruben Luna had yet to be signed. It was also clear that second-year forward Peri Marosevic and rookie Andrew Wiedeman were nowhere near ready to play, so they sat on the bench. Yeisley didn’t do badly for himself but after playing early in the year, he disappeared. Maybe he hit the proverbial rookie wall but by the time Rodriguez arrived in mid summer, he was MIA. Hyndman did try him out at center back late last year but that was mainly due to FCD being thin in the central defense. A great kid with a great attitude, Yeisley shouldn’t have a problem catching on in a lower league.

Ricardo Villar officially signs with FC dallas

February, 7, 2011
2/07/11
5:25
PM CT
FC Dallas officially signed their new linking midfielder, Ricardo Villar today. Villar is a attacking minded midfielder that should get the first shot at filling Dax McCarty's roll in the FCD 4-1-4-1.

And FCD's official press release with all the info on Villar.

FC Dallas signs Brazilian midfielder Ricardo Villar
Penn State product joins defending Western Conference Champions from German third division side Spielvereinigung Unterhaching

FRISCO, Texas (Feb. 7, 2011) – FC Dallas added depth to its midfield with the signing of Brazilian midfielder Ricardo Villar, pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate, the club announced today. Per Major League Soccer and club policy, terms of the deal will not be disclosed.

“We’re very happy to have Ricardo be part of FC Dallas,” said head coach Schellas Hyndman. “He’s a player that comes in with great experience, having played in Germany and also in Austria. He can help us in our attack. He’s got good technical ability, great vision and a very good soccer brain. With the pressures of trying to be the same attacking-minded and explosive type team that we’ve been in the past, we know that a lot of pressure will be on David (Ferreira). Not only is David a good player, but now he’s MVP and I think Villar coming in will be able to take some of that pressure off David.”

The addition of Villar bolsters FC Dallas’ South American contingent of players, which includes 2010 MLS MVP David Ferreira (Colombia), Jair Benitez (Colombia), Milton Rodriguez (Colombia), Bruno Guarda (Brazil) and Jackson (Brazil).

“Ricardo Villar is an excellent acquisition for the club,” FC Dallas Technical Director Barry Gorman said. “He possesses numerous qualities that will benefit the club on and off the field.”

Born on Aug. 11, 1979, in São Paulo, Brazil, Villar began his career with the youth ranks of São Paulo FC, the same club Hyndman worked with as a coach in 1976-77 (FC Dallas defender Jackson is also currently on loan from São Paulo FC). Villar left São Paulo FC in 1996 to play collegiate soccer at Penn State University for Gorman.

From 1997 to 2001 Villar scored 27 goals and added 31 assists for the Nittany Lions. He was a First Team All-Big Ten selection in 1999 after scoring a Penn State record seven game-winning goals. Villar remains 11th all-time in points scored for Penn State in a career.

Villar remained in the U.S. following his college career, playing for the Hampton Roads Mariners and Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the A-League from 2002 to 2004. In two seasons Villar scored eight goals in 49 appearances. He made the jump to Europe in 2004, joining Austrian first division side SV Austria Salzburg for a season before a short stint in Asia with the Chunam Dragons. Villar returned to Germany in 2006, signing with second division FC Kaiserslautern.

Villar enjoyed his most successful run with German second division club Spielvereinigung (SpVgg) Unterhaching from 2006 to 2009, scoring nine goals in 63 appearances. He moved to second division Greek side Rodos FC for the 2009 season, but returned to SpVgg Unterhaching for the 2010 season.

Name: Ricardo Villar
Date of Birth: August 11, 1979
Birthplace: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Height: 5-9
Weight: 163 lbs
Nationality: BRA / ITA

The Jeff Cunningham Question

February, 3, 2011
2/03/11
9:51
AM CT
As we move on to the next question of the winter we come to what for me is the biggest one: striker. Ever since Kenny Cooper left a few seasons ago it seems like FCD has needed a striker. Last year Hyndman waited till the second window to find Milton Rodriguez, who wasn't terrible, but didn't light the world on fire either.

Now a year later FCD finds itself in the same place, needing a striker. This time due to the departure of Jeff Cunningham and Atiba Harris.

Question #2: Forward (a.k.a. The Jeff Cunningham Question)

With the decision to waive Jeff Cunningham, and probably more accurately his large salary cap number (~$220,000), FCD again finds itself in need of another striker. When the second highest paid player is coming off the bench that's not a great sign for said player. It was probably a forgone conclusion Cunningham was going to be out unless he took a massive pay cut. Massive pay cuts are not something that happens very often without a disgruntled and pissed off player, certainly not with someone like Cunningham.

Compounding the problem was the loss of one of FCD's key striker depth players Atiba Harris. Harris had tried a few times to lock down the starting striker position without success. Instead he spent most of the season holding off Marvin Chavez at right mid. Something he managed until the final stretch run. Once Harris had lost out at both spots it wasn't a surprise he was exposed in the expansion draft.

With the loss of two boddies up top, even if both were mostly off the bench, FCD is in sore need of depth just to stand pat. Some depth could come from the young prospects in the squad. The lack of progression last season of Peri Marosevic and Jason Yeisley hurts a bit here. One factor we know very little about it new academy signing Jonathan Top. Late round draft picks Charlie Campbell and Paul Ogunyemi could also help in the depth area, as might Juco trialst Sheldon Palmer. Depth may be answered by pure numbers. Edit: I forgot about Andrew Wiedeman, another player who could add depth.

An answer that could be bigger than expected is Ruben Luna. Luna is one of the brightest prospects to come out of the FCD Academy system and will be getting substantial PT this year. Perhaps even pushing to start. But you can't assume Luna will become strong enough this season to answer all the questions. He will help solve the depth issue, but not the real underlying question. At least not yet I don't think.

So depth may be ok, but if FCD is going to take a step forward (and that's the goal isn't it?) then FCD needs to add a top flight goal scoring striker. Last season far to much scoring was forced to come from midfield. When FCD needed a goal, like in MLS Cup, their best shot came from advancing mids. That's not how you want to build a squad. Add a top line scorer and I think you can look at FCD with the best teams in MLS.

FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman and technical director Barry Gorman have both said FCD is looking for a striker of that quality. Hyndman, as usual, is showing patience, citing the willingness to wait till the second window if need be to make sure they get the right player with the right qualities. So FCD may go into the season with Rodriguez and Luna as the top two choices.

That might be all right, this league is about winning at the end anyway. I prefer to have the core team all year, but I'm not the coach. Hyndman seems well contend to operate this way, leaving a big piece of the puzzle to mid season. There is something to be said for being able to make adjustments with your mid season signing. I just hate seeing an incomplete team, and right now FCD is missing a big piece of the puzzle.

One really interesting development of the last week is the pressence of ex-Chivas USA striker and Cuban defector Maykel Galindo in camp. He's been hampered by injuries the last two yeas, notably hamstring problems, but when he is healthy Galindo is a lethal and ruthless goalscorer with a nose for goal and a mean streak. Blessed with some serious pace up top, he's the kind of high striker that could push the line and open massive space for the FCD penetrating mids like David Ferreira and Break Shea. The injuries are a big red flag, but the upside is massive here if Galindo can get it back on track.

So questions upon questions at forward. Will FCD sign a top flight name up top? In this window or the next? Is Ruben Luna perhaps the answer? Can Galindo resurrect this hamstring and career? A hidden gem in the large depth pool?

How those questions are answered could make or break the FCD season.

The Dax McCarty question

January, 30, 2011
1/30/11
7:57
PM CT
Going into the 2011 off-season it seemed FCD had left themselves a few holes to fill. Some spots, like backup center back, weren’t of urgent need, while others, like striker, were, and are, at the top of the list.

Over the next couple days we’ll look at a few of these questions to try and decide whether they have, or have not, been addressed.

Question #1: Central Midfield (aka the Dax McCarty question)

Perhaps the biggest individual player loss of the winter for FCD was the loss of Dax McCarty in the expansion draft. Or so it would seem. McCarty was a key cog in midfield, linking play from the back line to Ferreira and the offense. McCarty had a terrific season, made it into the US senior side, and his loss leaves a gaping hole in the starting lineup and roster. FCD must do something about filling the spot.

It would be silly, however, to think FCD was caught off guard in leaving McCarty exposed. FCD knew the draft was coming and protected the player they felt had more long term value and potential: Eric Alexander.

As much as I like McCarty’s game, and I really think the kid can really play, I think we all know he was never one of Hyndman’s boys. Occasionally at conflict, and never really 100% a Hyndman fan, the relationship between McCarty and coach was, in my view, cordial and respectful but not much more.

To Hyndman I think McCarty was always a bit of a tweener, didn’t have a lot of size, wasn't a wonderful defender, and could be a little injury prone. Part of the valuation that led to his departure is McCarty’s cap cost. McCarty’s significantly larger contract ($165,000) is likely to go up now he’s in the US pool and playing well. His probable rising cost is a legit concern in a cap tight league, at least relative to Alexander’s $40,000 (Though Alexander should be getting a raise I would think).

Just a week or so ago, FCD Technical Director Barry Gorman said everything was in place for the acquisition of a European midfielder FCD was lining up about a month before. We should see something on him soon according to Gorman. The speed with which FCD moved on this signing tells us FCD more than likely was looking for someone well before they lost McCarty. That alone for me is quite telling. Is said midfielder the linked Ricardo Villar who once played for Barry Gorman? We don’t know yet.

In addition to this hypothetical European, FCD picked Bobby Warshaw, a holding mid and/or center back out of Stanford. A holding midfielder helps in the Dax McCarty spot because his presence should free Eric Alexander, a player Hyndman clearly really likes, from backing up Daniel Hernandez. Can Alexander win and hold down McCarty’s spot? Possible… only time will tell. I wouldn’t be to upset to see Alexander start the year in that spot.

Unfortunately at this point we don’t know if either of these moves will solve the McCarty problem and we might not know until well into the season. Perhaps not even till the end of 2011.

So check back… um, well I’m not sure when.

MLS Cup 2011 time maybe.

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