Dallas Soccer: Dario Sala
Four little Indians going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.
It was recently pointed out by Brek Shea to a colleague of mine, who then shared it with me, that only three players remain on the FC Dallas squad from the 2008 season: Brek Shea, Josh Lambo and Eric Avila.
All three are from the 2008 SuperDraft, the last one conducted by Steve Morrow, that must at this point be graded a success. But that's a side point.
The greater point is the roster clearing that Schellas Hyndman has undertaken since he got here. This current FCD squad is now clearly his team. Of the three remaining players, only Shea is a starter. Avila may have a shot to win a starting spot this year but most likley will continue his roll off the bench. Lambo is still in project mode looking for playing time to improve his skill set.
If FCD carries a 30 man roster this season, 27 of the 30 players will have been drafted, signed, or traded for by Hyndman.
Jeff Cunningham (brought in my Hyndman in 2008) and Dario Sala were the last two holdovers from 2008 to depart when they were let go this winter.
FC Dallas still has Josh Lambo on it's roster, and with the club not picking up Dario Sala's option it seems likely the veteran goalkeeper could be done in Dallas. Sala is a free agent and could be re-signed, but that would most likely mean FCD would need to trade Lambo. Given Seitz's MLS experience, Sala looks like the odd man out.
FC Dallas acquires goalkeeper Chris Seitz from Seattle Sounders FC
FRISCO, Texas (Dec. 15, 2010) – FC Dallas acquired goalkeeper Chris Seitz from Seattle Sounders FC in exchange for a 2012 FC Dallas fourth round SuperDraft selection, the team announced today.
Seattle selected Seitz ninth overall in the second stage of the MLS Re-Entry Process Wednesday afternoon. Seitz spent the 2010 season with the expansion Philadelphia Union, starting 22 games and posting a 1.80 goals against average. The 23-year-old California native went 5-12-6 between the posts.
Real Salt Lake drafted Seitz third overall in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft, but the young keeper was never able to wrest the starting job from Nick Rimando. During his three seasons with RSL, Seitz made seven starts and recorded a 1.86 goals against average to go with a 1-4-2 record.
Seitz helped the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team qualify for the 2008 Olympics and served as the squad’s back-up to Brad Guzan for the Summer Games in Beijing that August. Last November Real Salt Lake traded the young prospect to Philadelphia for allocation money.
As the reigning Western Conference Champions, FC Dallas earned its first trip to the MLS Cup in 2010 following a record-setting year that saw the club set MLS marks for its 19-game unbeaten streak and its 12-game road unbeaten streak. The Dallas side also tied the MLS mark for fewest losses in an MLS season with four, while the Dallas defense allowed the fewest goals against in club history with only 28 through 30 games.
Player: Chris Seitz
Weight: 236 lbs.
Born: March 12, 1987
Place of Birth: San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Hometown: San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Citizenship: United States
Last Club: Seattle Sounders FC
How Acquired: Via Trade with Seattle Sounders FC on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010 in exchange for a 2012 FC Dallas fourth round SuperDraft selection
FCD had declined Cunningham's option and he, along with Dario Sala, was eligible for the Re-Entry Draft based on age and time in the league.
If the player selected is not under contract, as was the case with Cunningham, the drafting club will be required to make an offer to the player within seven days. In the event that an agreement cannot be reached between the drafting club and the out-of-contract player, the drafting club will hold the right of first refusal for that player in MLS.
Dario Sala, having not been selected, can now negotiate with any MLS club.
STAGE 2 RE-ENTRY DRAFT SELECTIONS
D.C. United: Josh Wolff
Chivas USA: Jimmy Conrad
New England Revolution: Ryan Cochrane
LA Galaxy: Juan Pablo Ángel
Chicago Fire: Cory Gibbs
Sporting Kansas City: Frankie Hejduk
Seattle Sounders: Chris Seitz
Columbus Crew: Jeff Cunningham
LA Galaxy: Luke Sassano
Colorado Rapids: Tyrone Marshall
New England Revolution: Fred
This move does not preclude either player returning to FC Dallas next season as unselected players are free agents that could sign with anyone in the league, including FC Dallas under a new deal.
Here's the FCD release on the moves.
FC Dallas declines options on Cunningham and Sala
FRISCO, Texas (Dec. 3, 2010) – FC Dallas will not exercise options on forward Jeff Cunningham and goalkeeper Dario Sala for the 2011 season, the team announced today.
Both players are eligible for the Major League Soccer Re-Entry Process with Stage 1 of the draft slated for Dec. 8, followed by Stage 2 on Dec. 15. MLS will release a complete list of players available for re-entry later today.
Cunningham played three seasons for the Dallas side, earning the team’s Golden Boot award in 2009 and 2010, while claiming the MLS Budweiser Golden Boot for his league-best 17 goals in 2009. A finalist for the league MVP award in 2009, the 34-year-old Jamaican forward started just 13 games for FC Dallas in 2010, scoring 11 goals and notching one assist. He scored his 132nd career goal against Chicago on Oct. 2 and ranks second all-time among MLS goal-scorers, falling just one goal behind recently retired Jaime Moreno’s mark of133 total goals.
The longest tenured player on the FC Dallas roster in 2010, Sala has spent six seasons with the club. In his MLS career, the 36-year-old veteran Argentine has 23 shutouts, 328 saves and a 1.38 goals against average. He appeared in 11 games during the 2010 season for FC Dallas, starting 10 and earning a 2-3-6 mark.
As the reigning Western Conference Champions, FC Dallas earned its first trip to the MLS Cup in 2010 following a record-setting year that saw the club set MLS marks for its 19-game unbeaten streak and its 12-game road unbeaten streak. The Dallas side also tied the MLS mark for fewest losses in an MLS season with four, while the Dallas defense allowed the fewest goals against in club history with only 28 through 30 games.
A quick rules overview. Each team can protect 11 player, and must protect at least three internationals, Generation adidas player are auto-protected, as are home grown players. So here's our guess prediction of the FCD list.
FCD Protected List Prediction
1. David Ferreira - The MVP. Enough said. (International 1)
2. Marvin Chavez - His play over the stretch run made him a lock. (I2)
3. Jair Benitez - The first choice left back all year, it makes sense he would be protected. (I3)
4. Kevin Hartman - After the season he had, he's a no brainer as well. Set the league record for GAA.
5. Daniel Hernandez - Hyndman's captain. Is the coach brave enough to expose him thinking DH would retire rather than leave? Doubtful and Hernandez deserves more respect than that.
6. Ugo Ihemelu - Another one of the coach's guys. He's also the leader of the back four.
7. Jackson - New signing, the guy played 6 spots and was the starter down the stretch at right back. (I4)
8. Dax McCarty - Now that he's on the bus, he's a vital part of this team.
9. Brek Shea - The future is bright, and FCD won't want to lose him.
10. George John - Hyndman picked him two years ago and won't let him go now. First choice center back.
11. Zach Loyd - The coach really likes this kid, he did pick him in the first round. Loyd would be tempting for a team to take. He can and does spot start in a few spots. The only reservation to protect him might be the Jackson signing.
Protected by Rule
The following players are exempt form being picked by rule as either home grown or generation adidas.
You may notice I left some key names off. I'll go into each of them.
1. Heath Peace - Let me say that the club was less than pleased with the nature and timing of Heath Pearce's injury late in the year. Pearce also mouthed off enough the week before MLS Cup on his twitter account about how healthy he was and if he didn't play it was 100% on coach Hyndman. Pearce's tweeting was bad enough the club had his account closed down (according to the ESPN broadcasters). Add to that the end of Pearce's current contract and his own desire to play in Europe (remember Pearce only came to MLS cause his deal in Turkey fell through on a contract paperwork technicality). Hyndman recently said the team was almost all his, 85% I think was the number. I think Pearce was who he was talking about.
2. Jeff Cunningham - When you make over $200k, don't start, don't talk to media all year, cause your coach headaches, and don't score as much as you used to, then you don't get protected. Would an expansion team risk him at his age? Doubtful.
3. Milton Rodriguez - To old, not enough production, probably to expensive for anyone to pick even if he is a great team guy and hard worker.
4. Atiba Harris - Lost his job to Marvin Chavez late in the year, played some striker but almost in a desperation move by the coach. Sure he's not to pricy and not to old. I just don't think he's worth a protected spot when he likely isn't a starter here anymore. Could be up for that last spot for Hyndman, but wouldn't be on my list for sure.
5. Dario Sala - A great servant of the club and solid MLS keeper. But with Kevin Hartman's season I'm not even sure Dario would say to protect himself.
6. Eric Alexander - Eric will, I believe, be the first player Hyndman protects if he losses someone. (You get to "pull back" a player if you lose a player.) Coach loves this kids calmness, heart, skill, and toughness. Does he love him enough to protect him in the first 11? Maybe. It was a close call on my list with Loyd.
7. Eric Avila - You may ask why a player this talented is not protected. The answer is you can only protect 11. Avila doesn't play enough defense to be a starter for Hyndman. His role is as a late game offensive sub. Is he talented? For sure. But he's behind Harris, Shea, and Chavez for a starting spot. Maybe even Alexander. Could he be protected over Loyd? Maybe, but Loyd starts frequently, Avila doesn't.
8. Kyle Davis - a young defender with potential. But not a enough PT to protect him.
9. Bruno Guarda - He's one of the coach's guys, but he doesn't play enough to protect.
10. Jason Yeisley - A taller center channel type striker, but not a big prospect. To far down the roster.
11. Edson Edward - No chance a player this far down the roster gets protected. He is going to have a real fight on his hands to make this squad in 2011.
That's our list, we'll find out soon how on the money we are. Who would you have protected or left off.
FC Dallas (12-4-14) vs. Real Salt Lake (15-4-11)
Game 1 – Sat. October 30, 2010, Pizza Hut Park Frisco, Texas 5pm ET (Fox Soccer Channel)
Game 2 – Sat. November 6, 2010, Rio Tinto Stadium Sandy, Utah 10pm ET (Fox Soccer Channel)
All-time Series: FC Dallas lead 11-6-1
At Dallas (8 meetings): FCD 8 wins, 18 GF; RSL 0 wins, 5 GF
At Salt Lake (10 meetings): RSL 6 wins, 19 GF; FCD 3 wins, 12 GF
2010 MLS Regular Season Meetings:
7/17 FCD 2, RSL 0 (Shea 69, Harris 76)
10/16 RSL 2, FCD 0 (Grabavoy 59, Morales 90)
Real Salt Lake – G: 12 Alvaro Saborio A: 9 Morales
FC Dallas – G: 11 Cunningham A: 13 Ferreira
This opening round series of the 2010 MLS playoffs features two of the league’s best teams. FC Dallas set an MLS record with a 19-game unbeaten streak during the regular season, while the defending champions Real Salt Lake went undefeated at home this year. Dallas enters the post season having lost their last two matches, while Salt Lake are carrying a 14-game unbeaten streak into the playoffs. During the regular season series, both teams held serve at home with 2-0 victories over the visitors.
FC Dallas still has lingering injury woes that may prevent them from fielding their preferred starting lineup. Even if players returning from injury are healthy, it remains to be seen if they are fully re-integrated into the team. Fullback Heath Pearce is listed as questionable with a hamstring strain. Defender Jackson Goncalves is also questionable with a sore hamstring. Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman is probable with an MCL sprain. Expect Pearce and Hartman to play.
Real Salt Lake looks better on the injury front. Midfielder Will Johnson is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury, but should see playing time. Central defender Jamison Olave and forward Alvaro Saborio are both probable with knee issues. Both players should start for the Royals.
Expect FC Dallas to employ their familiar 4-1-4-1 formation with midfielder David Ferreira orchestrating the attack. Head coach Schellas Hyndman has a decision to make about who to start as the lone forward, but Milton Rodriguez should get the nod.
RSL played a 4-5-1 in their first visit to Pizza Hut Park this year, hoping to disrupt the linking play of Daniel Hernandez and Ferreira in the middle of the park. This time, Real Salt Lake are most likely to line up in a 4-4-2 formation with Saborio and Fabian Espindola up top. Head coach Jason Kreis could also opt for Robbie Findley instead of Espindola. Javier Morales will direct the offense from the cental attacking midfield position for RSL.
FC Dallas – GK Kevin Hartman
Both goalkeepers are finalists for the Goalkeeper of the Year award, but Hartman has been out of action for several matches following a collision with New York forward Thierry Henry. Finally healthy, Hartman should steady a Dallas defense that has surrendered too many goals of late. Before the injury, Hartman was being talked about as a league MVP candidate, so his return is absolutely crucial for the Hoops.
Real Salt Lake – GK Nick Rimando
Rimando has been a rock for RSL over the course of the last three seasons. He communicates very well with his back line and makes the saves he should. This year, Rimando recorded the second-most shutouts ever by an MLS goalkeeper. His ability to stop penalty kicks was on full display during last year’s championship run and Rimando would be favored against Hartman if the series came down to PKs.
Advantage: FC Dallas
FC Dallas – D Ugo Ihemelu, D George John, D Jackson Goncalves, D Jair Benitez, D Heath Pearce, D Zach Loyd
FCD only allowed 28 goals in 30 games, good for third-best in the league. The central defense pairing of Ugo Ihemelu and George John was a fixture for most of the season until both players sustained injuries that kept them off the field for an extended period. Full backs Jair Benitez and Heath Pearce love to push forward and deliver crosses into the penalty area. Rookie Zach Loyd can fill in at either fullback or in central defense. Brazilian defender Jackson can similarly play anywhere in defense.
Real Salt Lake – D Chris Wingert, D Tony Beltran, D Nat Borchers, D Jamison Olave, D Robbie Russell
RSL’s defense this year set a record for fewest goals allowed over the course of a season, 20 goals in 30 games, eclipsing the mark of 23 goals allowed by Houston in 2007. The partnership in central defense of Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave is perhaps the best in MLS. Olave is a gifted athlete and Borchers has a keen positional sense. Kreis can turn to a platoon of good fullbacks with Chris Wingert, Robbie Russell and Tony Beltran who like to get up and down the line. This group of defenders never allowed more than 2 goals in a game during the season.
Advantage: Real Salt Lake
FC Dallas – M David Ferreira, M Daniel Hernandez, M Dax McCarty, M Atiba Harris, M Brek Shea, M Eric Avila, M Marvin Chavez, M Eric Alexander
For FC Dallas, everything goes through MVP candidate David Ferreira (8 goals, 13 assists) in the central midfield. Although Ferreira plays the traditional CAM role, he frequently drifts toward the sidelines to receive the ball. Ferreira’s vision and passing accuracy combine to create lethal chances when he has time on the ball. Wingers Atiba Harris and Brek Shea have enjoyed good seasons and are dangerous getting forward. Defensive midfielder Daniel Hernandez disrupts play in front of the back line, while Dax McCarty links play from the defense to the attack. Eric Alexander, Marvin Chavez and Eric Avila provide Hyndman with excellent midfield depth.
Real Salt Lake – M Javier Morales, M Will Johnson, M Andy Williams, M Kyle Beckerman, M Ned Grabavoy, M Jean Alexandre
Much like Dallas, Salt Lake relies heavily on its midfield playmaker, Javier Morales (7 goals, 9 assists), to create goal-scoring opportunities. RSL’s midfield plays a diamond fromation with defensive midfielder Kyle Beckerman anchored in front of the defensive line. Kreis can select from a group of solid wingers in the form of Ned Grabavoy, Will Johnson and Andy Williams. There isn’t a lot of depth in midfield, but RSL have a really good core group.
Advantage: FC Dallas
FC Dallas – F Jeff Cunningham, F Milton Rodriguez, F Peri Marosevic, F Ruben Luna
The Hoops scored 40 goals in the regular season, fourth-best in MLS. Jeff Cunningham led the team with 11 goals from the lone forward position. Milton Rodriguez contributed another 5 goals in only 13 games. Hyndman will have to decide which forward to start, but the safe bet is Rodriguez with Cunningham as his replacement around the sixty minute mark. Depth at forward is a problem for FCD with unproven Peri Marosevic and academy graduate Ruben Luna the next best options.
Real Salt Lake – F Robbie Findley, F Alvaro Saborio, F Fabian Espindola, F Pablo Campos, F Paulo Araujo Jr.
RSL led the league in scoring with 45 goals during the regular season. Alvaro Saborio was a revelation this year scoring 12 goals and assisting on 4 others. Fabian Espindola scored 6 goals at forward and Robbie Findley added 5 goals. Without a doubt, the Royals have one of the best strike forces in the league. Pablo Campos gives Kreis another scoring option from the bench.
Advantage: Real Salt Lake
Game 1 – FC Dallas 1, Real Salt Lake 1
The outcome of this 2-leg tie could very well come down to the play of the opposing attacking midfielders, FCD’s David Ferreira and RSL’s Javier Morales. If Salt Lake can slow down Ferreira, something they weren’t able to do with a five-man midfield in the their first trip to Pizza Hut Park this season, they may get out of Frisco with a draw or even a win. If Ferreira is allowed to start the attack and distribute the ball freely, it could be a long afternoon for the RSL defense. FC Dallas should do enough at home to get a goal or two, but Salt Lake has enough firepower to get out of the first game with a draw.
Game 2 – Real Salt Lake 2 (3) defeats FC Dallas 1 (2) aggregate
Real Salt Lake did not lose at home all year and that trend should continue throughout the playoffs. The Lakers’ combination of the league’s most potent attack and it’s stingiest defense will simply be too much for FC Dallas to overcome. Schellas Hyndman has done a beautiful job building this Dallas squad, but it is simply unfortunate that a great regular season led to a first-round matchup against the defending champions, the league’s best team.
Real Salt Lake (15-4-11, 56 points, second place in West)
at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas.
FC Dallas lead 11-6-1;
RSL won 2-0 on Oct. 16 at Rio Tinto Stadium;
FCD are 7-0-0 against RSL at PHP.
4 p.m. CT, Fox Soccer Channel
Having played a 4-1-4-1 all year I'm not really buying the swap to a 4-4-2 idea that's being bandied about on MLS' various websites.
There are however some serious questions that need answering about who might play for FCD. Both Daniel Hernandez and Ugo Ihemelu are looking good in training and are expected to be in the team. I don't think there is much question about that. Even Hyndman indicated that was the case.
Right back is, all of a sudden, a problem. Jackson looks to be unavailable due to injury, although he will be evaluated late in the week. Heath Pearce is back in training, but there is some series concern about him playing at right back form his coach. Zach Loyd is getting lots of time with the first team this week. “We’re still contemplating what we’re going to do with Heath," coach Schellas Hyndman said at training on Thursday. "The suspension is something we’re concerned about. One of the things we’re concerned about is when we played Real Salt Lake, they seemed to really overload that side. We’re kind of looking to see what may be some options for us.”
Also clearly of concern is the limited form of Dax McCarty having recently come back from his long injury lay off. Eric Alexander's play over the latter half of the season has put him in serious contention for that spot. Play has been split between the two this week, so keep an eye on that spot for game day. Midseason this was a no-brainer decision, now it's up in the air.
Perhaps the biggest spot of concern is in the net where Kevin Hartman is just returning to game fitness and Dario Sala has picked up a knock. Hyndman says Hartman's ready to go. “He’s been looking very good in practice. That will be something that we’ll have to evaluate. In the game against LA, Dario [Sala] was complaining a little bit about an injury as well. So, right now they’re both questionable and we’ll see who will step up for the game. [Dario] went down and twisted his hip in the LA game. Because we used all three substitutes, he stayed on the field.”
The last question of the day is Brek Shea, although that question may be more from fans more than the coaches. Since Shea's red card Marvin Chavez has been getting the bulk of time, although Shea was strong in his minutes in the season final. Hyndman isn't the kind of guy to swap out players week to week, so I expect Chavez to remain in the team for now.
At this point I would put my money on Hartman in the net, FCD is a goal a game better with Hartman in there. Hartman, along with Hernandez and Ihemelu, are key in the gaffers mind.
“Kevin is just a true professional. He’s been around and has played on a lot of good teams and championship teams. The leadership he brings is he holds players to a standard and his communication with players brings the best out of them. He helps players before they’re in dire decision making situations. With Daniel, he’s been nothing but a great captain and leader. He’s very positive with the players but also very demanding with the players to play their roles and do their job description. We definitely miss the two when they’re not on the field. We have players that will try to do that. These guys are extremely important because they can calm the room. They can also put players’ minds in perspective.” - Schellas Hyndman
It may be a surprise, but it seems very likely that Zach Loyd and Eric Alexander are getting the call as well. FC Dallas did close training on Friday to try and keep a lid in the final adjustments going on.
FC Dallas: OUT: DF Kyle Davies (L ankle sprain); DF Edson Edward (osteitis pubis); QUESTIONABLE: DF Heath Pearce (R hamstring strain); DF Jackson Goncalves (L hamstring strain); PROBABLE: GK Kevin Hartman (R knee MCL sprain)
Real Salt Lake: REAL SALT LAKE -- OUT: MF Nelson Gonz·lez (R foot contusion); DF Chris Schuler (R broken foot); DOUBTFUL: FW Paulo Junior (R groin strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Will Johnson (L hamstring strain); PROBABLE: DF Jamison Olave (R knee internal derangement); FW ˇlvaro SaborĚo (R knee internal derangement); DF Chris Wingert (L quadriceps strain)
Dax McCarty will be on the JMS Podcast today (Wednesday).
Steve Hunt with Five Questions for FC Dallas Heading into the Playoffs. Nice work there Steve.
Steve Davis is now on board the Davie Ferreira for MVP bandwagon. Seats are going fast.
Jeff Carlisle talks MVP candidates and has Ferreira in there. He also has some quotes from Hyndman on Hartman.
"[Hartman] is day-to-day," said FCD manager Schellas Hyndman. "He looks to be about 80-85 percent. We're very encouraged, and we're hoping he'll play this weekend, but if not this weekend, then he'll play the next weekend."The FCD notebook has some great stuff in it. Pearce will miss the LA game due to Yellow Cards, Loyd or Jackson could fill in. Both Daniel Hernandez and Ugo Ihemlu came out of the RSL with tight hamstrings, ok that's not good. And lastly, Hyndman is interested in Juan Pablo Ángel.
“Why would you not have interest in one of the best scorers in the league? Every time he’s played us, he’s found a way to beat us, so why not join us? He would be I think an outstanding addition for us.” - HyndmanHartman could be back against LA Galaxy. No offense to Dario Sala, who is a good keeper and going into this year was the clear #1 here. For some reason with this team in this season it's clear Hartman should be in there. 0.62 GAA vs 1.47 GAA tell you all you need to know right now. I thought FCD made a big mistake picking up Hartman, boy was I wrong.
Goal.com on Colombians in MLS, including David Ferreira and Jair Benitez.
Dario Sala held a soccer clinic on Tuesday in Frankling Township. Where is that you ask? Why, it's outside Indianapolis. Yes, in Indiana.
Steve Davis talks potential FCD playoff opponents.
Speaking of playoffs, Brian Straus says the playoff system rewards the lower seeds.
Ridge Mahoney said almost the exact same thing.
Jeremiah Oshan lists FCD 4th in his contenders rankings, and cites them missing Kevin Hartman as the reason why FCD is not going anywhere. I think Jeremiah needs to read the Harmtan article higher up on this page.
The Haitian Amputee Soccer Team lost their first game down in Argentina, but check out the pic in the linked article of them in uniform. First, fantastic of FCD to outfit them in gear. Second, anyone recognize that exact uniform? Is that a FCD youth kit of some kind, or is that next year's FCD jersey? Interesting.
After watching the game tape, Hyndman says the RSL game wasn't as bad as he first thought.
“I think guys were getting out of structure. If you look at the tactics for Real Salt Lake, everything was going to their left. Our right fullback was getting stuck up and wasn’t recovering quickly enough. Their goals came from balls that were coming from out to in. I think the communication [between the goalkeeper and the defenders] and the positioning [were to blame].” - HyndmanFCD's official Monday training report.
Ruben Luna popping up in the Mexican's Abroad section on goal.com.
MLS attendance figures, FCD finished 3rd from last ahead of only Kansas City (stadium limit) and San Jose.
A player I really, really like from the FCD youth program, Bradlee Baladez, has popped up at South Carolina (#13 in SA's rankings) with five goals already this season as a midfielder. Baladez caught my eye two years ago when he played against FCD's reserves. I've been trying to track him since. I think he's got the kind of game that will mature really well and he could become a great MLS level pro. In a non-Ruben Luna year he might have been FCD's local signing.
Kyle McCarty says FCD's injured players were off the pace against RSL.
FCD players are doing a fashion show at Saks with Modern Luxury. There is no such thing as bad publicity.
The Seattle Times has some game notes, the FCD vs LA match is at the bottom.
MLS (FCD 3rd), Goal.com (FCD 2nd), The Examiner (FCD 3rd), SB Nation (FCD 3rd)
Non-FCD Stories of Interest
Former Cuban soccer player and defector Yeniel Bernudez is in Alaska looking for a team.
RSL is advancing in CONCACAF Champions League play, which is good for FCD as it may tire out their most likely playoff opponent.
FCD's opponent this weekend is going for the Supporters Shield. There's a nice break down of the Gals in that article.
FCD fans will enjoy this breakdown of the Houston Dynamo collapse.
Here's a fascinating Paul Gardner commentary on why the British papers picked the USA as their fake country in the votes bribery story. Paul sees the game in ways many people don't, he's almost always worth reading.
Steve Davis discuses the Jason Kreis syndrome, a.k.a. great MLS strikers who don't score for the US of A.
The Dallas Stars had to get an $8 million bailout from MLS. Is the 4th major sport slot up for grabs in Dallas?
How did you think Kyle Davies did getting the start?
Kyle, I thought did a very good job. Here’s a young man that started this year in the first game against Houston, gets his arm broken and his elbow dislocated, and was thrown in because Ugo [Ihemelu] had an injury. So, he doesn’t really prepare for the game.
And then he was out and the team has been playing so well, it’s been hard to give him time. So, at the end of it, we started him because we needed a center back that can win balls in the air, somebody with a little bit more of a body presence because we knew the field was small and the style of play we were going to see with Kansas City. He did a very good job marking, being physical and even his distribution was really good.
How about Marvin Chavez in midfield?
Like all players, they need more and more playing time. With the injuries, with the suspensions, it’s given him more playing time, building more confidence. We always knew he was a quick player that was pretty technical.
The thing was he laid the ball off with his head and then he sprinted to the box. The ball came over and he finished it one time. It doesn’t get much better than that. Unfortunately, he got whacked there. It also gave me a chance to get Jackson into right fullback and Heath to left back because we thought that both Smith and Kamara were causing us too many problems.
And Chavez's condition?
Nothing showed up, so we’ll go through the day off tomorrow, give him another day of recovery and then Wednesday is when I start to get a little bit more involved with the injuries.
Nice to see Jackson get an assist?
He’s a good player for us. When you look at the versatility that he brings-center back, right back, midfield, holding midfield, doing all those positions pretty well.
Any thoughts on Dario Sala getting his first win of the season?
I didn’t think about that. He’s started off the year, slipped a little bit and Kevin has come in and done a fantastic job. One of the positive things that we keep saying to Dario and Kevin both is we have two first-team ‘keepers here. On this team, we have two first-team ‘keepers and we have confidence in both of them.
Talk about Edson Edward's debut...
He probably went in with eight minutes left on the clock and then you figure another four minutes on the extended time, 12-15 minutes of game. A lot of pressure on us. I think when he got on the field, we scored our third goal, which now gave us a little bit more breathing room. But at the same time, we knew what they were going to do.
At one time, they had four forwards and we knew that we needed more of a strong physical presence there not for the ball coming in but for the second ball, a knockdown ball. For a few minutes, we even had Atiba [Harris] back there because we needed some size and strength there. I thought [Edward] did well. That was his first opportunity to play. He’s got the confidence of the coach to not only take him on the trip but to put him in.
Are you surprised to see David Ferreira is threatening Jason Kreis’ single-season FCD assist record?
Well, the only thing that’s surprising to me is people keep track of that stuff because I don’t.
It doesn’t surprise me that he would be up for any and all of the records because of durability, how much of an effect he has on the team whether it’s an assist, scoring a clutch goal, coming back and throwing his body in when they had a free kick. They had a free kick on top of the box and he threw his body out in front of it. How many players of that caliber are going to throw their body out there to block a shot on top of the box? He’s just a complete player.
So, nothing surprises me. He’s the most fouled player in the league. He’s our engine. He’s what makes us work and he helps all the other moving parts do well.
Why did you not start Dax McCarty at holding mid?
A couple of things, I think the first thing is Dax has been out for eight weeks and coming back, we were planning on him playing 20 minutes the other day. He ended up playing 60. We weren’t really planning on starting him against New England but after conversations and evaluations, we felt [he was a good choice]. He had played that position for us before.
Then fatigue got into it and I didn’t want that to carry into another game where it’s high pressure. It’s a lot of people running through, a lot of midfielders. I saw Josh Wolff come on the field. He was running through like a second striker and we didn’t want [McCarty] to get stuck in that position with heavy legs.
Now, we were able to put him in and he did a good job once we moved Jackson but it was a different environment than it was going in here. I think we’ve got to be a little bit more sensitive to the fact that even though he’s been out eight weeks and he’s been so-called conditioning, his conditioning is a little bit different conditioning than game conditioning.
Does that mean Eric Alexander has passed McCarty on the depth chart?
I don’t know. I think Eric does a lot of good things for us and he’s played himself into some great moments and some key events for us. But I wouldn’t say he’s better on the depth chart than Dax is if Dax is at his best.
Do you like Jackson better as a defender or midfielder?
I’ll tell you what I’m happy about, I’m happy Jackson’s in an FC Dallas shirt and not a Sao Paolo shirt. I think he’s been exceptional for this team-wonderful character, technical ability, athleticism, courage and of course, the versatility. We’re hoping to get our players back and we’re hoping to put ourselves in a position where people are looking at FC Dallas’ best 11.
Good to see Cunningham getting another goal?
I just talked to Jeff and said this was the best game I’ve seen you play since last year. For whatever reason-the temperament, the lack of confidence or the playing time or just the uncomfortable feeling, I don’t think we’ve seen the best out of Jeff this year. That was the first time I’ve seen the old Jeff. When I say the old Jeff, I mean the player that I remember last year when he was at his best. He was quick, strong, had great vision, he was laying some great balls off and then he scores a goal. Hopefully that continues.
Are you getting enough production up top heading into the playoffs?
It’s not just the forward, it’s the strike force. Atiba’s got to be good. Our left flank whether it’s Brek [Shea] or Chavez, has to be good. David has got to be in the attack mode. He can’t be standing back defending. And then, we’ve got to get attack from Jair [Benitez]. And then we’ve got to get attack from Heath. That’s our strike force and if those players play well, then I think our forwards are going have players around them. It’s pretty difficult to do a one-forward structure with no support. So, we keep talking about David being our second forward. We keep talking about our flank players being forward so we can have more of a strike force.
Can you update us on Ugo’s Ihemelu's status?
Not as of yet, we’re very patient and very sensitive to the injury. Ugo would be out there tomorrow if I said ‘Ugo, we need you’ and I don’t want to do that. I want him to come out when he’s ready.
I think George is coming around. I think he’ll be a questionable player [for this weekend] but there’s a better possibility we’ll get him out this weekend.
How about Hartman?
Talking to Kevin today, the last thing we want to do is put him out there at 70 percent. And then if he fails, it leaves bad memories for everyone. He’ll know when he’s ready to take this serious.
Thoughts on Chicago?
They’re no different than the other teams that are trying to get into the playoffs. Every point matters. It was really a goofy goal that was scored on them with Seattle there at the end. Now they’ve got to travel up to San Jose, who is fighting for a playoff spot. It’s a tough place to play and then, they’re going to come down here on Thursday. They play Wednesday night, which is an advantage to us. They’ll come here on Thursday and then, they’ll play another game. By the time that game comes around, their attitude could go 100 degrees in one way or another way.
What would it mean for you if Jeff Cunningham ties Jamie Moreno’s record?
For me, it would mean more if he’d break it. Again, he’s doing everything right. He’s on that path to do it. Now, as we’re getting closer and closer to it, the pressure is coming up more and more. I was really proud of him the other day when he had an opportunity to hit a shot and laid it off to Alexander, who had a better chance. Even though it was saved, it shows a player that’s not selfish.
How's Break Shea’s week been given his suspension?
I think he really did a good job focusing. Brek is a very talented young player. What gets him into trouble is his emotions. His emotions cannot be distorted because once his emotions get distorted, so does his intelligence. I think the more he understands that and can control his emotions, I think he will be a very, very good player for FC Dallas and hopefully one day for the US. It’s his Achilles heel. If he doesn’t get it now, there will be coaches down the road that won’t take the chance-good player but he’s unstable or unpredictable.
I think he came out last week and worked hard. I think he was embarrassed. I think he was frustrated. I think he realized he let his team down. And then when he got the additional suspension, it validated to him because other people thought it was bad. It wasn’t just a coach having a conversation with a player or teammates having a conversation with a player, the league came back and said we’re going to suspend you another game. I think the thing that should make him happy is the team still did well without him, so nobody’s looking at him and pointing the finger. Maybe in some ways, it’s a step towards maturity.
FC Dallas (10-2-13, 43 points, third in Western Conference)
at CommunityAmerica Ballpark in Kansas City, Kan.
The Wizards lead the all-time series 18-17-8;
FCD won 1-0 at Pizza Hut Park on July 3
8 p.m. ET, MLS DirectKick
It's a short turnaround for FCD but they can't really afford to rest anyone. So you won't see a lot of changes from the mid week game.
George John and Ugo Ihemelu are still out, Zach Loyd and Jackson will continue in the back line. Dario Sala will remain in net for Kevin Hartman.
In midfield, Daniel Hernandez is still out injured and Brek Shea is still suspended. Eric Alexander will continue in the middle with Dax McCarty next to him. Has Alexander played well enough to say that McCarty is filling in for Hernandez? Interesting question. Marvin Chavez should be on the left for Shea.
Milton Rodriguez will almost certainly continue as the lone striker.
- The Wizards have lost just once in their last 10 games after a stirring 4-3 come-from-behind win against Houston at midweek.
- FC Dallas haven’t lost in 16 games overall after a comeback of their own Wednesday, a getting a stoppage-time equalizer for a 2-2 draw against New England.
- FC Dallas have tied eight of their 12 road games this year, winning three and losing one. Only two other teams in MLS (Real Salt Lake and Chicago) have that many draws overall.
REFEREE: Silviu Petrescu.
SAR (bench): Daniel Belleau; JAR (opposite): Eric Proctor;
4th: Hilario Grajeda
KANSAS CITY WIZARDS – OUT: MF Zoltan Hercegfalvi (R knee sprain/torn ACL) …
FC DALLAS – OUT: DF Ugo Ihemelu (concussion); GK Kevin Hartman (R knee MCL sprain); DF George John (L hamstring strain);
QUESTIONABLE: MF Daniel Hernandez (L hamstring)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: DAL: Brek Shea (through 9/25)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: KC: Jimmy Conrad, Roger Espinoza
If it hopes to earn one, Dallas could really use three points Wednesday night.
That might not be so easy with star goalkeeper Kevin Hartman sidelined for a few weeks, but Dallas will nonetheless be eager to take advantage of the road-weary New England Revolution.
Dallas (10-2-12) led New York 2-1 on Thursday before an own goal forced it to settle for a 2-all draw, which pulled the club to within three matches of the 2004 Columbus Crew's league-record 18-game unbeaten run.
Coach Schellas Hyndman's club was hardly focused on that after the match, though. Hartman suffered an injured MCL in his right knee when Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry tried to triumphantly kick the ball back into the goal after New York had already scored.
Hartman, whose shutout streak ended at 415 minutes, tried to intercede and wound up getting hurt.
"It's the weight it puts on us now. I thought Hartman was going to be up for MVP," Hyndman said of the veteran, who had allowed the fewest goals (12) in the league. "Now we have to go get a pool goalkeeper. It was something that was not necessary, so we'll see what happens."
If Dallas can recover from the loss of Hartman, it might be able to catch Real Salt Lake for the West's second automatic playoff spot. Dallas trails the defending champions by five points but has a game in hand and a trip to Salt Lake City remaining.
Dario Sala gets the call to replace Hartman, but Dallas' injury woes don't stop there. A strained left hamstring will keep midfielder Daniel Hernandez out, while midfielder Brek Shea -- second on the team with five goals -- will be serving the first of a two-game suspension for a dangerous tackle.
Marvin Chavez and Eric Avila are likely to take the place of Hernandez and Shea on the wings.
New England (7-14-3) salvaged a 1-all draw when it hosted Dallas on May 1, but it's watched its playoff hopes disappear over the last month. The Revolution have been outscored 14-6 in dropping five of six, losing 3-0 at Colorado on Saturday in the second of three straight matches on the road.
New England, which fell behind five minutes in, is an MLS-worst 1-10-1 away from home. It was the third time in five matches the Revs have conceded a goal within 20 minutes.
"It's been the same all year long," midfielder Pat Phelan told the Revolution's official website. "Teams come at us but we've let them do that. We haven't played with enough heart and passion, and it shows."
New England (7-14-3, 24 points, seventh place in Eastern Conference)
All-time Series: New England lead 22-10-2.
Teams played to a 1-1 draw on May 1 at Gillette Stadium;
New England have a 3-1-0 record against FCD at Pizza Hut Park.
7:30 p.m. CT, Fox Sports Southwest+
Injuries continue to plague FC Dallas so the lineup today could be interesting. Ugo Ihemlu is still out with concussion symptoms, George John aggravated his hamstring on Friday and is out (or at least highly questionable), Daniel Herhandez is out two to four weeks with his hamstring, and Kevin Hartman was, as we all know by now, injured in the Thierry Henry incident. Brek Shea is out two games on suspension.
In the back it will be Zach Loyd and Jackson in the middle for Ihemelu and John.
In midfield the changes actually make for a formation tweak, as you'll see Eric Alexander and Dax McCarty both playing behind David Ferreira. Depending on which day, who you ask, and even which part of training you watch, it's either McCarty as holding mid with Alexander linking, or the other way around. Suffice to say both will get forward. If you were to ask me, I would say Alexander will be more of the holding mid.
Marvin Chavez was getting the bulk of the time at left mid this week.
Dario Sala will be in the nets.
FCD went 19 games without giving up multiple goals until Benitez notched the clinical own goal last week.
FC Dallas undefeated streak is now at 15 games.
The Revolution have defeated FC Dallas in 10 of the last 13 meetings in MLS play, as well as in the 2007 U.S. Open Cup Final.
FC Dallas snapped a six-game league losing streak against the Revolution with a 1-0 victory last Sept. 30 at the Cotton Bowl. The last previous FCD win in the series came May 20, 2006, at Pizza Hut Park.
FCD has the second-longest single-season unbeaten streak in MLS history at 15 games. The Columbus Crew went undefeated over the final 18 games of the 2004 season on their way to the MLS record of 19 games without a loss.
The entire team was out on field 1 for the duration of this practice session. While Ugo Ihemelu and George John joined the rest of the team for the warm-up drills, Kevin Hartman and Daniel Hernandez worked on the stationary bikes on the sidelines. Once the warm-up drills were completed, these four did rehab work with the trainers on the sidelines. More on the injury list later.
The main training session involved two different scrimmages, both with goalkeepers. MLS pool keeper Chris Sharpe won’t arrive in Dallas until tomorrow, so a local player stepped in to help out the team as Dario Sala’s opposite number.
The first scrimmage allowed each player only 3 seconds on the ball when in possession, forcing the team to focus on quick one- and two- touch passing and looking for space to receive the ball. For this drill, both teams appeared to be playing a 4-4-2, with a team of mostly starters in front of Sala. Jason Yeisley played alongside Milton Rodriguez, while Peri Marosevic played left mid, and Andrew Weideman and Jackson switched between playing right mid and center back for the “starters”, while Atiba Harris, Brek Shea and David Ferreira all played with the “reserves”. Zach Loyd, Kyle Davies, Marvin Chavez and Bryan Leyva all took turns being the man to sit out.
The second scrimmage appeared to be a chance for what looks to be Wednesday’s starting 11 to gel. While the starters reverted to their usual 4-1-3-1-1, the reserves played in the diamond 4-4-2 that many believe is favored by Hyndman.
Some notes and plays from the session:
- The best play of the session belonged to Rodriguez. During the first scrimmage, he brought down a long pass from Eric Alexander and jinked it past Loyd in one fluid movement. With the keeper closing down the shooting angle, he faked the shot before playing a beautiful backheel to the feet of Marosevic. Unfortunately, Peri scuffed the shot, but it’s pretty clear that Rodriguez has some moments of brilliance in him.
- Davies was playing some exceptional defense, including blocking a shot from Cunningham, then getting up quickly to throw himself in front of the rebound from (I think) Ulloa. His tackling and passing were also very tidy, and he’s clearly pushing to get back into the starting 11.
- Speaking of Cunningham, he and Luna were combining very well in the second scrimmage. Despite the starters controlling most of the possession, the reserves, and particularly Luna through Cunningham’s passes, made the most of their chances in front of goal. At one point, Luna picked up a loose ball that was bobbling on the edge of the box with his back to goal, spun on his planted foot and blasted the ball past Sala. FCD is lucky to have such a talented youngster on the roster, but I can only imagine what could have been if he’d been able to sign in the pre-season.
- Dario had a bandage wrapped around his knee for this session and looked a little stiff when walking. However, he seemed to be moving just fine when in goal.
- Avila, Cunningham, Moises Hernandez, Leyva, Loyd, Luna, Marosevic, Shea, Ulloa, Weideman and Yeisley all stayed out late to work on crossing, shooting and heading, with the local keeper in net. Hernandez and Weideman were providing some nice crosses, but I’m sorry to say I didn’t really see a whole lot from Bryan Leyva. Unlike Luna, he doesn’t seem to have quite taken the step up to the pro level yet.
And finally some quotes from Schellas Hyndman, who apparently took Saturday off to go to the Kiss concert:
On New England Revolution:
“They’re a team that’s had some bad breaks, they’ve had some injuries and don’t seem to have everything going in place. They had a tough game in Colorado and [Steve Nicol]’s a very good coach who asks a lot from his players. I think when you lose a game, you want to play the next game as quick as you can so you it’s an opportunity to put that game behind them.”
On the injury list:
“I don’t expect to see either of [Kevin Hartman and Daniel Hernandez] out here on Wednesday. Daniel has a pulled hamstring, he’s feeling a lot better, but with most hamstrings there’s a point of recovery and sometimes if you come back too soon, you’ll reinjure it and make it worse. Kevin with that knee strain, I also don’t expect to be back for Wednesday but we have a very capable experienced goalkeeper in Dario Sala who I thought played very well coming in the other night.
On Hernandez’s MRI, Friday:
“2-3 weeks, but sometimes those MRIs lie to you”
On George John:
“We’ll wait and see. Last year he missed 17 games on a hamstring injury and part of the reason he missed those games is because we kept trying to bring him back too soon, so we have to be careful we don’t ask him to do the same again.”
On Ugo Ihemelu:
“He’s getting closer. It’s killing him not being able to be out here, it’s killing me that he’s not out here, but it’s one of those things we have to handle very cautiously.”
On Dax McCarty:
“I was hoping to give him 20 minutes; he ended up playing 60 minutes and I thought he had a very good game considering we were down a man. [Starting Dax] may not be a conversation if Daniel Hernandez was there, but it could be in this situation”
On Eric Alexander:
“He was more of a flank midfielder in college than a central midfielder, but we see his qualities and what he brings [in the middle]. [Like Brek Shea], when you’re getting more opportunities to play, you start to play with more confidence, and I think that’s what’s happening with Eric, and with Zach Loyd.”
On the starting lineup changes:
“We’re not quite sure yet. We do know who’s replacing Kevin Hartman, but we don’t know about the other ones. We’re trying to fit in the changes that will be the least conflict to another player. The more we move one player to a position and another player to another position, the more we lose that team cohesion.”
On the backup goalkeeper situation:
“[Chris Sharpe] may be the best pool keeper the league has. Last time we had an injury, playing Colorado in Colorado, we brought Lambo back, as we still had a roster spot open. Now that the roster is frozen, we can’t bring Lambo back.”
On the status of the team:
“We’ve proven that we’re a good team that plays with a lot of intensity, a lot of passion and intelligence. We’re a team that’s hard to beat. We keep testing ourselves, losing our two centerbacks, losing our goalkeeper, losing our defensive midfielder and having to put other players in. Thank goodness our depth has been strong and people have really stepped up. There are still little mistakes being made that can lead to goals, but I think we’re in a good position. We’ve got six games left, three at home, three on the road. Tough teams on the road, Kansas City’s playing extremely well, and of course LA and Real Salt Lake. Then at home you’ve got New England, Chicago and Colorado. Kansas City and Chicago still believe they have a chance to make the playoffs, Colorado believes they can get themselves into a better position so we have to make sure we don’t slip up with the injuries we have. By the time we’re getting healthy, we’re going on the road against Salt Lake and LA.”
I wasn’t able to get the quote on record, but Brek Shea told Steve Hunt that he lost his head and was very disappointed in himself.
Line Up Prediction
As far as the lineup goes, this is about the clearest the picture has ever been when I’ve been out at a practice session. Given the second scrimmage lineup, the injuries, the substitutions against the Red Bulls and Schellas’ quotes, barring George John being ready to play, this is what you’ll see take the field Wednesday night:
On the pitch, the midfield behind Ferreira is likely going to appear to be a flatter 4 than when Hernandez is playing. Both Alexander and Dax were taking the opportunity to get forward and join the attack in the scrimmages – with the pace that Dax showed to get back and tackle Marquez on Thursday, there shouldn’t be too much worry about him leaving the back four exposed by getting forward, either.
Hartman had recourded four consecutive shutouts for Dallas.
In his first MLS action since May 1, Dario Sala relieved Hartman for the second half and made two saves, including a sparkling one in the 54th minute when he punched out Ballouchy's blast from 15 yards.