Dallas Soccer: Victor Ulloa

Scattershooting with Schellas Hyndman

March, 15, 2012
3/15/12
10:24
AM CT
I discussed a wide array of subjects after FC Dallas practice on Wednesday with the gaffer Schellas Hyndman and here’s the meat of that conversation:

How did you think Ricardo Villar did against the Red Bulls?

Hyndman: I thought he did very well. I really thought he did well. When you can tell how much you miss someone is when they go off the field. And I thought when he went off the field, we were having a really hard time holding the ball. Secondly, we were having a hard time finding people to get the ball to and third thing was when Blas got the ball, he didn’t have the support and I thought Villar did all those things.

With Brek Shea at U.S. Olympic qualifying, can we expect a steady diet of Carlos Rodriguez at left mid in the meantime?

Hyndman: Yeah, it’ll have to be right now. I think the thing Rodriguez brings to us is he’s a left back, left-sided midfielder and there’s a real nice coordination between him and Jair [Benitez] where if one goes forward and the other one’s comfortable staying back.

Scott Sealy is now running. How long before he’s back in training?

Hyndman: Yeah, I think he’ll probably be coming back pretty quickly. I think this is probably his second week out. We had thought it would be two to three weeks.

What are your thoughts on Richard Sanchez training with Chelsea?

Hyndman: Great opportunity for Richard. As I’ve said before, he’s the best keeper I’ve seen at that age. He’s got a great future ahead of him. We want to give him opportunities to be seen and go on trials. I think Chelsea, reports we’re getting they like him. They want to continue monitoring him, World Cup champion with Under-17s, comes out, trains as hard as anybody. If he’s not going overseas or internationally, he’ll be a player in the MLS.

How has fellow homegrown player Victor Ulloa been doing since returning from his foot injury during preseason?

Hyndman: Yeah, he’s coming back. He’s doing better. We need more games like we had yesterday with the reserve squad so they can get more tests, real tests. If they’re not playing, still the mistakes they make are the same mistakes they made when they were in academy. It’s just that in academy they can get away with it.

Are you finally starting to see Chris Seitz really push Kevin Hartman in goal?

Hyndman: Seeing Chris pushing, I think the reserve game showed it last night. Chris had a good game, was under some good pressure and made some good saves. The goal he got scored on was basically a couple blunders on the defense and he was one-on-one and it was tough. But I thought he made some nice saves as well.

What did you think of Jair Benitez’s performance on Sunday?

Hyndman: Jair I thought was solid. I think first game of the year he might have been trying to do just a little bit too much, but I’d rather have a player do too much than not enough.

Will Schellas Hyndman make a trade this week?

March, 5, 2012
3/05/12
12:58
PM CT
After talking to FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman last week, one thing was readily apparent - he’s not terribly happy with the depth his club has as is currently constructed. So, that brings the question: Will Hyndman make a trade this week? Here’s a look at why he might make a deal this week to bolster his roster:

This team needs some more depth, specifically in the midfield

No doubt about it, depth could be an issue for this team in 2012, specifically in the midfield. Ricardo Villar has battled injuries all through preseason. Daniel Cruz never was healthy and has now left the club, and who knows where Bruno Guarda stands with Hyndman and the club’s other brass after his suspension not all that long ago? Andrew Wiedeman has had a solid preseason but his six goals did come against college kids, so how much can one really read into that? Homegrown player Bryan Leyva has made strides in his fitness but how much can we really expect from him this year. Fellow FCD Academy product Victor Ulloa only recently returned from a foot issue.

There is some precedent for a trade

Hyndman has never been afraid to pull the trigger when he feels like it’s necessary. Remember the trade of Heath Pearce to Chivas USA last February? That was necessitated by completely different reasons, but Schellas has never been afraid to make a deal if he feels like it would improve his club. Just listening to his tone last week, it sounds like he could finally be at that point. French midfielder Geoffrey Tulasne did OK during his trial but didn’t exactly set the world on fire and while the club has Scott Sealy on their roster, who can also play midfield, he might best serve this club by providing depth up top.

FCD has some pieces of value

While this might sound like heresy to some, besides the obvious draft picks and allocation money, FCD also has another resource they could choose to trade-one of their homegrown players. Left back Moises Hernandez might be one possibility here as he hasn’t done a ton to set himself apart from the other five homegrown players. Talented young goalkeeper Richard Sanchez is another possibility along with Leyva and even young striker Ruben Luna. Sure, it might send the Dallas supporters into a complete state of panic, but teams trade prospects all the time in other sports, especially in baseball. And considering FCD currently has six homegrown players on their roster, there’s a very good chance that only one of them or maybe even two ever pan out anyway. That’s just a simple law of averages, so why not get something for one of them while the club still can?

It would shake things up a bit

Hyndman isn’t too happy with the lack of internal competition on his club. What better way to shake things up than with a trade? Seeing someone new come in and maybe even one of their own head out of town could reinforce to the entire roster that no one’s job is truly safe.

The loquacious gaffer lamented earlier this preseason that his club’s chemistry remained a work in progress and that the room was nowhere near as tight as it was in 2010, when they made an unprecedented run to the MLS Cup. Part of that dip in chemistry might be the tough circumstances they endured in 2011, but it could also be largely attributed to a change in personnel. A club with chemistry that could be better, and also one that doesn’t have much in the way of internal competition heading into the season, sounds like a recipe for possible disaster later in the year if things continue on their current path.

Schellas Hyndman discusses current injuries

March, 2, 2012
3/02/12
11:30
AM CT
In addition to talking about trialists, I also got updates from Schellas Hyndman about players who have been recently injured. Here is that exchange:

Daniel Hernandez

Hyndman: "No issue right now [with his knee]. Haven’t heard anything from him, so he must be doing better. I think it was a little bit of scar tissue."

Ruben Luna

Hyndman: "Ruben played the other day against the Under-20s. Again, he’s been out for a good three-plus weeks. So the expectation for Ruben is always high because he’s been with us but there’s always the reality of coming off an injury."

Victor Ulloa

Hyndman: "Victor got hurt right after he did the testing. He’s been out about four weeks. He’s just coming back now. We brought him on this trip. He had a bottom of the foot injury, so he was unable to go in training. He’s just recently come back. I think he’s got a real good upside. In one year, you could start to see a boy and his body turning into a man. He’s strong. He’s filling out a little bit. Now what we need to do is get the brain to catch up with the body."

Ricardo Villar

Hyndman: "Yeah, he got on the field yesterday [Tuesday]. This was the first time he had been on since he picked up a little bit of a knock. He looks fine. Again, you lose that chemistry or that coordination between other players because we’ve still got people here that are on trial and everything’s still trying to flow into one mind."


A FC Dallas side made up of reserve and home grown players fell to Toronto FC by a 3-0 scoreline in the 3rd game of the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic on Thursday night.

The defeat pushed FCD down to second in the group with four points, three points above both BK Hacken and Orlando City, who face off in the second match of the night. Though Dallas maintain a three- and five-goal advantage, respectively, over their group foes, they must still await the result to find out if they'll play the Houston Dynamo in the consolation match at 5 pm CT, also on March 3.

SCORING SUMMARY:
TOR -- Luis Silva, 35'
TOR -- Luis Silva, 40'
TOR -- Ryan Johnson, 82'

FC Dallas Lineup: Seitz, M. Hernandez, Ibeagha, Hedges, Ulloa, Warshaw, Tulasne, Guarda, Villar, Wiedeman, Luna.

FC Dallas 2012 Roster Dance (updated)

February, 24, 2012
2/24/12
12:23
PM CT
Updated for status as we see it right before Florida camp.

The Roster Dance is a long running feature of 3rd Degree. It is an effort to break down the FC Dallas roster into its various components with all the trialists and draft picks competing for spots. The Roster Dance includes things like nationality, age, status, green cards, and anything else that might impact space on the roster and the players that might fit into it.

Last updated: 2/24/12

Senior Roster (18 to 20)

For now MLS rosters hold at up to 30 players. Players 1 to 20 are on the senior roster and have to fit in the salary cap. (MLS teams may carry only 18 players on this senior roster if they wish)

FCD has 8 international slots in 2010 with 8 currently filled.
1 David Ferreira 32, Colombian F/M. (8/9/79) Got his green card.
2 Daniel Hernandez New 5 year coach/player deal. 35, US M/D (7/23/76)
3 Jair Benitez 33, Colombian LB, (1/11/79). Green card.
4 Blas Pérez (I1) Panamanian striker, turns 31 this year. (3-13-81)
5 Brek Shea 20, US Nats MF. (2/28/90).
6 Ugo Ihemelu 28, US D. (4/3/83)
7 Kevin Hartman 37, US GK. (5-25-1974)
8 Zach Loyd 24, US Nats M/D. (7-18-87)
9 Fabian Castillo (I2) 19, Colombian striker. (6-01-92)
10 Ricardo Villar (I3) 32, Brazilian, AM. (8-11-79) working on green card
11 Andrew Jacobson 26, US DM. (9-25-85)
12 Hernan Pertúz (I4) 22, Columbian U23, D. (3-31-89)
13 Chris Seitz 24, US GK. (3-12-87)
14 Bobby Warshaw 23, US M/D. (11-21-88)
15 Carlos Rodriguez (I5) 21 year old Panamian M/D from Tauro FC. (4-12-90)
16 Bruno Guarda 26, Brazil MF. (2/6/86). Green card
17 Scott Sealy T&T F. 30, Previously with KC and SJ. (6/4/81) green card.
18 George John US CB. (3/20/87) Not currently on FCD roster. Spot saved?

19 Dogba (I6) Ange Pacome Dogba Gnagbo.Ivory Coast F
20 Open Spot Sports 19 and 20 don’t have to be filled.

--

Players occupying roster spots 1-24 will earn at least $42,000 in 2011.

Off-Budget Roster (10)

Roster Spots 21 to 30. Generation adidas, developmental players, and home grown. Players 24 and under that don’t count on the salary cap. MLS teams can have a maximum of 10 off-budget players.
21 Matt Hedges UD D, 2012 1st pick. (4-1-90) Senior roster?
22 Andrew Wiedeman (Ga1) 22, US versatile. F/M/D. (8-22-89)
23 Bryan Leyva (HG1) 20, Mexican U20 MF (2/9/92) green card.
24 Ruben Luna (HG2, I7) 19, Mexican U20 striker. (2-10-92)
25 Victor Ulloa (HG3) 19, US Midfielder. (3-4-92)
26 Moises Hernandez (HG4) US D, former U20 (3-5-92)
27 Jonathan Top (HG5) 19, US striker. (1-26-93)
28 Richard Sanchez (HG6) 17, Mexican keeper, US Citizen. (2-28-94)
29 Christian Ibeagha 22, Former US U17 from OK (born Nigeria). (1-10-90)
30 Alex Lee 2012 supplemental pick, D from Maryland.

-- Ian Kalis 2012 supplemental pick from SMU. Injured? Still on roster, not traveling.

Players occupying roster spots 25-30 will earn at least $32,600 in 2011.

Other Players

Anyone connected, rumored, tried out, waived, training invited, or signed as a short term player.
Jack Stewart Late 2011 defender depth, didn’t stick in 2012
Rodolofo Espinoza 30 year old Mexican M, spring trial.
Kleyner Bejarano a.k.a. Kleyner Bejarano Colombian D, spring trial
Scott Gordon 23 year old US D, spring trial
Daniel Osorno Formerly of Puebla, AM/F
Nicolás Gianni a.k.a. Nicolas Cridani. 29, F/M
Daniel Cruz Colombian, M didn’t play well in 2011, injuries cost him in 2012.
Marvin Chavez Traded to San Jose.
Walter Hines M, preseason trialist
Martin John LB, preseason trialist
Joe Madigan M, preseason trialist
Jackson Brazilian M, on loan to Cruzeiro
Mykel Galindo Waived in off season.
Edson Edward Waived in off season.
Josh Lambo Former Ga GK, waived in off season.

2012 FC Dallas Roster Dance

February, 9, 2012
2/09/12
1:20
PM CT
The Roster Dance is a long running feature of 3rd Degree. It is an effort to break down the FC Dallas roster into its various components with all the trialists and draft picks competing for spots. The Roster Dance includes things like nationality, age, status, green cards, and anything else that might impact space on the roster and the players that might fit into it.

Last updated: 2/9/12

Senior Roster (18 to 20)

For now MLS rosters hold at up to 30 players. Players 1 to 20 are on the senior roster and have to fit in the salary cap. (MLS teams may carry only 18 players on this senior roster if they wish)

FCD has 8 international slots in 2010 with 8 currently filled.
1 David Ferreira 32, Colombian F/M. (8/9/79) Got his green card.
2 Daniel Hernandez New 5 year coach/player deal. 35, US M/D (7/23/76)
3 Jair Benitez 33, Colombian LB, (1/11/79). Green card.
4 Blas Pérez (I1) Panamanian striker, turns 31 this year. (3-13-81)
5 Brek Shea 20, US Nats MF. (2/28/90).
6 Ugo Ihemelu 28, US D. (4/3/83)
7 Kevin Hartman 37, US GK. (5-25-1974)
8 Zach Loyd 24, US Nats M/D. (7-18-87)
9 Fabian Castillo (I2) 19, Colombian striker. (6-01-92)
10 Ricardo Villar (I3) 32, Brazilian, AM. (8-11-79) working on green card
11 Andrew Jacobson 26, US DM. (9-25-85)
12 Hernan Pertúz (I4) 22, Columbian U23, D. (3-31-89)
13 Chris Seitz 24, US GK. (3-12-87)
14 Bobby Warshaw 23, US M/D. (11-21-88)
15 Carlos Rodriguez (I5) 21 year old Panamian M/D from Tauro FC. (4-12-90)
16 Nicolás Gianni (I6) a.k.a. Nicolas Cridani. 29, F/M. (3/9/82) starting for Ferreira.
17 Scott Sealy T&T F. 30, Previously with KC and SJ. (6/4/81) green card.
18 Bruno Guarda 26, Brazil MF. (2/6/86). Green card

19 Daniel Cruz (I7) 30, Colombian, M. Injured. (5-3-81) May be in roster trouble…
20 Jack Stewart 28 year old US D. (5-29-1983) He gets John’s spot for now.

-- George John US CB. (3/20/87) Not currently on FCD roster, loan ends in March?
-- Rodolofo Espinoza (I9) 30 year old Mexican M, Chivas USA 10-11. (6-14-81)
-- Kleyner Bejarano (I10) a.k.a. Kleyner Bejarano Mena 22, Colombian D. (9/16/89)

Players occupying roster spots 1-24 will earn at least $42,000 in 2011.

Off-Budget Roster (10)

Roster Spots 21 to 30. Generation adidas, developmental players, and home grown. Players 24 and under that don’t count on the salary cap. MLS teams can have a maximum of 10 off-budget players.
21 Matt Hedges UD D, ‘12 1st pick. (4-1-90) Senior roster?
22 Andrew Wiedeman (Ga1) 22, US versatile. F/M/D. (8-22-89)
23 Bryan Leyva (HG1) 20, Mexican U20 MF (2/9/92) green card.
24 Ruben Luna (HG2, I8) 19, Mexican U20 striker. (2-10-92)
25 Victor Ulloa (HG3) 19, US Midfielder. (3-4-92)
26 Moises Hernandez (HG4) US D, former U20 (3-5-92)
27 Jonathan Top (HG5) 19, US striker. (1-26-93)
28 Richard Sanchez (HG6) 17, Mexican keeper US Citizen. (2-28-94)
29 Scott Gordon 23 year old US D, 3rd round pick in 2011. (4-6-88)
30 Christian Ibeagha 22, US U17 from OK (born Nigeria). (1-10-90)

-- Alex Lee 2012 pick, D from Maryland. Just arrived in camp.
-- Ian Kalis 2012 Supplemental Draft pick from SMU. Injured?

Players occupying roster spots 25-30 will earn at least $32,600 in 2011.

Other Players

Anyone connected, rumored, tried out, waived, training invited, or signed as a short term player.
Marvin Chavez Traded to San Jose.
Walter Hines M, preseason trialist
Martin John LB, preseason trialist
Joe Madigan M, preseason trialist
Jackson Brazilian M, on loan to Cruzeiro
Mykel Galindo Waived in off season.
Edson Edward Waived in off season.
Josh Lambo Former Ga GK, waived in off season.

Scattershooting with Schellas Hyndman

January, 20, 2012
1/20/12
10:00
AM CT
I caught up with FC Dallas head coach after Thursday’s evening session at the FC Dallas Stadium complex and here’s what he had to say about a wide array of subjects.

Will there be a scrimmage on Saturday?

Hyndman: No, our numbers (won’t allow it). We’ve got five in the training room right now and those are five being [Daniel] Cruz, Daniel Hernandez, Ugo [Ihemelu], AJ [Andrew Jacobson] and David [Ferreira]. So that’s five and then we’ve got 8-v-8 on the field. So we’ve got 21 players and we don’t have enough for even a scrimmage. The 8-v-8 is not enough. We brought in Ian Kalis, a boy we drafted who came in today for the first day and then we have another boy that we drafted, Walter Hines out of St. John’s, he’s going through his physical and hopefully we’ll have him out here sometimes tomorrow.

So with Kalis and Hines already here, what is the status of your top pick in the Supplemental Draft, Alex Lee, the defender from Maryland?

Hyndman: Alex hurt himself, so he didn’t go to the combine. He hurt himself during the season, more of a quadriceps. He’s just making sure he can recover, so we’re hoping he’ll be here on Wednesday.

Right now you’ve got the likes of Cruz, Ferreira, Hernandez, Ihemelu and Jacobson on the sidelines. Who do you expect to return first and why?

Hyndman: I think probably the one that’s going to be the first one to go will be AJ. He had his surgery maybe two to three weeks before Daniel. I’m asking him how he’s doing and he’s saying man coach, I feel good. I wish I felt like this at the end of last year but he went four months with a meniscus tear. What it did, that I didn’t realize because I’m always saying play with the pain and all that, was that the muscle was shutting down. That was the thing that surprised me and that was my own fault. Same thing with Daniel, by the time we needed them the most, they were done. That’s where Daniel Cruz was expected to come through and that didn’t go the way we had hoped it would.

Which of the homegrown players are you expecting to break out in 2012?

Hyndman: Ruben Luna looks stronger, fitter and then Bryan Leyva looks more focused, stronger. Victor [Ulloa] looked much better. Victor won our two-mile run in something like 11:20. I think after one year with us, these guys are starting to add something more to their bodies. They’re maturing.

We hope that Ruben will [break out this year] because he plays at a position where we really need but it wouldn’t surprise me if it turns out to be Victor. He’s just a solid player. The thing that hurts Victor is he’s coming along extremely well but what kind of hurts Victor sometimes is he just makes bonehead decisions and you don’t want your center midfielder to be giving the ball away or trying to dribble out of trouble. But he’s hard, he’s aggressive, his body’s turning into a man. I think the green light might be good for him.

And how has 2012 top pick Matt Hedges looked so far?

Hyndman: Like I said to him today, every day you’re impressing us more. He’s a solid defender. He’s got the size. He reminds all of us a little bit of George John. George came in from the combine coming off a meniscus surgery so he wasn’t at his best. But it took George about a third of the season before we got him on the field. Hedges is a player that may be a step ahead but we don’t know if he’ll have that reach in his first year.
FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman

General thoughts on the game…
“It was a good performance by both teams. The first half they really took the game to us. They were breaking us down in the midfield and they were giving a lot of penetrating passes on the flanks that caused us some problems. In the second half, we decided that what we needed to do was go into a 4-4-2, and you saw the quick goal that was scored by Jackson. Sometimes teams get a little casual when there is only one striker and when you have two strikers, the mindset still plays it a little casual. Jackson read it very well, picked up a ball, went in and scored to give us a 2-1 lead. We wanted to continue to play our younger players, who I thought did a very good job for us tonight.”

Thoughts about the penalty kicks…
“It was a good game. I am very, very pleased to come away with a 2-1 victory. I was extremely pleased to see how well we took the penalty kicks. It is not something we do a lot of and we had quite a few young players take them tonight. You can imagine the pressure and they did extremely well for themselves and for FC Dallas.”

FC Dallas defender George John

On wearing the captain's armband…

“It's a huge honor. It's obviously the first time I have ever worn the armband with FC Dallas. Coach came up to me and it felt real good, showing the confidence he has in me. He felt I could get the win with the armband as well.”

On how the team played…

“It was good that we won, no matter how you win, it doesn't matter. I wouldn't say it was the prettiest by any means, but we came out victorious.”

On playing with younger guys…

“They did great, being thrown into the fire against a top Mexican side. Obviously it's been a while since some of them have had the full 90, but I thought they did great.”

FC Dallas Home Grown player Victor Ulloa…

On starting the match…

“I found out that I was going to start at right back, and I was excited. The night before I prepared right, made sure I was eating right, got a good night’s sleep, and I was here earlier than we were supposed to be just to get ready.”

On moving into the midfield after Bruno Guarda was taken off with an injury…
“I felt more comfortable coming into the middle. Unfortunately Bruno had to come out. I felt better playing in the middle, because that's naturally where I play.”

On the environment…

“I am not a Tigres fan, but it was a good environment - all those fans screaming and yelling for them. We were supposed to be at home, but we were away today.”

FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz

On his kick save…

“It was one of those plays where he got through and the guy coming down the middle didn't have much of an angle. So I tried to play big on the first one and he played a good ball to the near post. It's one of those things where you kind of drag your back foot in case he decides to go that direction, and he hit it to a good area for me to get there.”

FC Dallas defender Jeremy Hall

On taking the game winning penalty kick…
“Everybody hit the target very well for us. Fortunately, someone missed before my shot, so I was the hero I guess. Everybody had great kicks. There would have been a little more pressure if they had made it, and it would have been a situation where I had to make it. We practiced them before the match against Seattle in the [Lamar Hunt U.S.] Open Cup just in case we had to go to PKs. Everybody looked confident.

FCD Academy loses championship to Pateadores

July, 16, 2011
7/16/11
9:32
AM CT
FC Dallas' Academy team lost to Pateadores of Southern California, 2-1, in the U17/18 Developmental Academy Championship on Friday.

Bryan Leyva scored for FCD, but the Red Stripes couldn't overcome the Pateadores' Jose Villareal.

Home-grown players Victor Ulloa, Moises Hernandez and Jonathan Top also played in this game for FCD.

It was a remarkable run by FCD to even get to the final against some of the best teams in the world. FCD had to win their group in the opening playoff round in Frisco against the top teams in each conference, then win their group again against the best eight teams in the U.S. at the final just to get to this game.

Full credit to Oscar Pareja and his staff for putting together such a terrific team.

-- U.S. Soccer Development Academy Match Report --

Match: Pateadores vs. FC Dallas
Date: July 15, 2011
Competition: 2011 Development Academy Finals Week; U-17/18 Championship
Venue: Marquette University (Valley Fields); Milwaukee, Wis.
Kickoff: 12 p.m. CT
Weather: 78 degrees, partly cloudy

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
Pateadores 1 1 2
FC Dallas 0 1 1

PAT – Jose Villareal 9th minute
FCD – Bryan Leyva (Michael Ambrose) 62
PAT – Jose Villareal (Irvin Parra-Anaya) 81

Lineups:
PAT: 61-Juan Cervantes; 5-Victor Calderon, 15-Javan Torre, 21-Pedro Lugo, Jr., 36-Oscar Sorto; 3-Michael Bautista (28-Casey Macias, 80), 11-Jefrey Payeras, 9-Jose Rivera (capt.), 12-Jackson McCracken (2-Maxxwell Bauman, 63); 24-Jose Villareal (41-Roberto Escudero, 90), 10-Irvin Parra-Anaya
Subs not used: 8-Kevin Alva, 60-Bryan Hernandez, 20-Daniel Theobald
Head Coach: Todd Saldana

FCD: 22-Eduardo Cortes; 14-Kellyn Acosta, 15-Boyd Okwuonu, 5-Jack Coleman (capt.), 30-Moises Hernandez (3-Michael Ambrose, 46); 10-Jose Perez (17-David Robledo, 46), 20-Victor Ulloa, 8-Flavio Guzman (6-Nicholas Rochowski, 90), 11-Danny Garcia, 40-Bryan Leyva; 9-Jonathan Top (18-Victor Pinal, 74)
Subs not used: 2-Mark Ashby, 39-Bobby Edet, 45-Fernando Laverde, 88-Bryan Landazury
Head Coach: Oscar Pareja

Stats Summary: PAT / FCD
Shots: 7 / 5
Shots on Goal: 4 / 4
Saves: 3 / 2
Corner Kicks: 4 / 7
Fouls: 5 / 5
Offside: 1 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
FCD – Danny Garcia (caution) 15th minute
PAT – Jose Villareal (caution) 32
FCD – Danny Garcia (caution) 58
FCD – Danny Garcia (sent off) 58
FCD – Boyd Okwuonu (caution) 71

Officials:
Referee: Robert Sibiga
Assistant Referee 1: Cedric Adams
Assistant Referee 2: Kevin Klinger
Fourth Official: Katja Koroleva

ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Jose Villareal (Pateadores)
The Chicago Fire Reserves topped FC Dallas Reserves 5-0 Tuesday morning at the Toyota Park Practice Field in Bridgeview, Ill. The loss was the first of the season for FC Dallas Reserves, who return to action against Real Salt Lake Reserves on Friday, Aug. 5.

FCD fielded two Academy players in the match (Jack Coleman and Okwono Boyd) along with three trialists (Abdoulaye Faly, Forman Andres, and Shahdon Winchester)

With the result, the Fire Reserves move to 3-0-1 (10 points) and sit atop the MLS Reserve League’s Central/Mountain Division. With the loss, the FC Dallas Reserves taste defeat for the first time in 2011, moving to 3-1-0 (9 points) where they remain tied for second with the Houston Dynamo.

Chicago Fire Reserves: Jon Conway; Bratislav Ristic, Dasan Robinson, Josip Mikulic, Pari Pantazopoulos; Gabriel Ferrari (Lyle Martin** 46’), Daniel Paladini (Martin Rivas** 73’), Mike Videira (Brady Wahl* 79’), Corben Bone (Dado Hamzagic** 73’), Cristian Nazarit (Peter Beasley* 82’), Orr Barouch

Substitutes not used: Alec Dufty, Victor Pineda,

FC Dallas Reserves: Chris Seitz; Abdoulaye Faly**, Jack Coleman* (Forman Andres** 62’), Andrew Wiedeman, Moises Hernandez; Bruno Guarda, Bobby Warshaw, Victor Ulloa, Peri Marosevic (Shahdon Winchester** 46’); Bryan Leyva (Okwono Boyd* 79’), Ruben Luna.

Substitutes Not Used: Josh Lambo, Jonathan Top

*Academy Players, **Trialist

Scoring Summary:
CHI – Cristian Nazarit (Gabriel Ferrari, Daniel Paladini) 25’
CHI – Orr Barouch (penalty kick) 45’+
CHI – Cristian Nazarit (Orr Barouch) 58’
CHI – Cristian Nazarit (unassisted) 75’
CHI – Orr Barouch (Pari Pantazopoulos) 86’

Misconduct Summary:
DAL – Ruben Luna (caution) 24’
CHI – Dasan Robinson (caution) 24’
CHI – Daniel Paladini (caution) 32’
DAL – Andrew Wiedeman (caution) 36’
DAL – Abdoulaye Faly (caution) 45’+
DAL – Bruno Guarda (caution) 52’
CHI – Lyle Martin (caution) 53’

Victor Ulloa called into US U20s

May, 9, 2011
5/09/11
1:51
PM CT
FC Dallas home grown player Victor Ulloa has been called by new coach Tab Ramos into the latest US U20 camp. Ulloa was strangely listed as a striker by US soccer but plays holding mid or defense for FC Dallas.

The US U-20 Men’s National Team training camp will take place in Vichy, France, from May 15-20 for two friendlies against the France U-20 MNT on May 17 and 19.

Last week it was confirmed that former U.S. head coach Thomas Rongen’s contract will not be renewed at the end of this year. Tab Ramos, who was an assistant coach during the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in April, will oversee the group during the six-day training camp.

Also of local interest are Conor Doyle of Derby County (McKinney, Texas) and Dillon Powers - the son of former Dallas Side kick Mike Powers - who plays at Notre Dame (Plano, Texas).

U.S. U-20 MNT Roster By Position:

GOALKEEPERS (2): Cody Cropper (Ipswich Town; Athens, Ga.), Brian Sylvestre (Vancouver Whitecaps FC; Hollywood, Fla.)

DEFENDERS (6): Anthony Brooks (Hertha BSC; Berlin, Germany), Sean Cunningham (Molde FK; Troy, Mich.), Sacir Hot (New York Red Bulls; Fair Lawn, N.J.), Sebastien Ibeagha (Duke; Missouri City, Texas), Daniel Potts (West Ham United; London, England), Kofi Sarkodie (Houston Dynamo; Huber Heights, Ohio)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Sebastian Lletget (West Ham United; San Francisco, Calif.), Dillon Powers (Notre Dame; Plano, Texas), Kelyn Rowe (UCLA; Newport Beach, Calif.), Conor Shanosky (D.C. United; Sterling, Va.), Donny Toia (Real Salt Lake: Tucson, Ariz.)

FORWARDS (6): Terrence Boyd (Hertha BSC; Berlin, Germany), Conor Doyle (Derby County FC; McKinney, Texas), Josh Gatt (Molde FK; Plymouth, Mich.), Joe Gyau (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim; Silver Spring, Md.), Jerome Kiesewetter (Hertha BSC; Berlin, Germany), Victor Ulloa (FC Dallas: Wylie, Texas)

2011 FC Dallas salaries

May, 8, 2011
5/08/11
10:01
AM CT
As they do everyone year, the MLS Players Union has released the salaries for their players for the 2011 season. I have pulled out the FC Dallas salaries from there data.

Senior Roster

These players all count against the salary cap, but as I mention every year, these are NOT the salary cap numbers. As a prime example of this I mention Fabian Castillo and his $42,000 salary.

Castillo, as we know, is a designat Player this year and this year only because of the transfer fee MLS/FCD paid for him. Transfer fees are included in the salary cap number. So Castillo’s Salary cap number is the DP number of $335,000 and not the $42,000 he gets paid.

The two numbers listed for each player are his base salary and the guaranteed compensation he will get with bonuses.

Eric Alexander 46,750.00 46,750.00
Eric Avila 100,000.00 133,000.00
Jair Benitez 150,000.00 171,250.00
Fabian Castillo 42,000.00 42,000.00
Marvin Chavez 50,000.00 50,000.00
Kyle Davies 62,500.00 62,500.00
Edson Edward 42,000.00 42,000.00
David Ferreira 600,000.00 705,000.00
Maykel Galindo 55,404.00 55,404.00
Jackson Goncalves 84,000.00 105,375.00
Bruno Guarda 48,000.00 63,000.00
Kevin Hartman 155,000.00 175,000.00
Daniel Hernandez 160,000.00 172,500.00
Ugo Ihemelu 170,000.00 170,000.00
Andrew Jacobson 45,000.00 45,000.00
George John 42,000.00 42,000.00
Zach Loyd 52,250.00 96,875.00
Milton Rodriguez 198,000.00 228,000.00
Chris Seitz 100,000.00 100,000.00
Brek Shea 100,000.00 133,000.00
Ricardo Villar 150,000.00 150,000.00

Developmental Roster

These 10 players do not count against the salary cap.
Moises Hernandez 42,000.00 44,500.00
Josh Lambo 100,000.00 133,000.00
Bryan Leyva 55,000.00 70,833.33
Ruben Luna 55,000.00 74,500.00
Peri Marosevic 80,000.00 129,000.00
Richard Sanchez 32,600.00 33,600.00
Jonathan Top 32,600.00 32,600.00
Victor Ulloa 42,000.00 44,500.00
Bobby Warshaw 42,000.00 53,250.00
Andrew Wiedeman 75,000.00 118,000.00

Some thoughts and observations…

Castillo could be a developmental player based on his salary if not for the DP transfer status.

Kevin Hartman got a nice raise this year as last year he was on $75 K - $80 K. He’s more where he should be this season.

Underpaid based on PT/value? Marvin Chavez and George John. Maybe Andrew Jacobson at this rate.

Overpaid? Milton Rodriguez and Ricardo Villar. One might be tempted to add the GA players, but they are paid on a league standard.

Ricardo Villar makes the same base as Dax McCarty, which is surprising given salary as one of the reasons FCD let McCarty go… although I believe McCarty’s deal escalates the next few seasons.

I like seeing Leyva and Luna with the potential to make big jump with bonuses.

Depth chart analysis: midfield

March, 19, 2011
3/19/11
9:42
AM CT
By this point the midfield is about as ingrained as anything on this club, perhaps because it's the team's strongest position. Even with the departure of Dax McCarty the midfield is still quite good, although eh does leave us one big question mark in the formation.

The name seemingly written in pen on the team sheet is David Ferreira. FCD's best player, league MVP... what do we need to say about this guy. He's first choice at the high attacking mid spot in the 4-1-4-1 and isn't coming out of the team anytime soon.

It is important this year, with US Open Cup, CONCACAF Champions League, and the Rio Grande Plate, for Ferreira to take some game off. The player getting the most recent look in this spot as a fill in is new signing Ricardo Villar. We haven't seen enough of Villar yet to know if he can reliably fill in here, so stay tuned. Eric Avila is also capable of manning this spot if needed and Bryan Leyva probably has some potential here.

The name we don't know much about is Fabian Castillo. Can he play in this system in the Ferreira spot or would FCD have to transition to a 4-4-2 for him to thrive here?

At holding mid is the captain Daniel Hernandez. He's as much ingrained in place as Ferreira except that Hernandez is 34 and coming off a knee injury. Hyndman has made a concerted effort to bring in some depth at this position by first drafting Bobby Warshaw, a player very similar to Hernandez when he came out of college, and then by trading for Andrew Jacobson from Philadelphia Union. Jacobson is a tall, strong defensive minded midfielder with nice feet and good passing ability. Jacobson is #2 right now at this deep spot and can also contribute at the next spot we'll talk about.

There are a few more names on the chart at holding mid, Eric Alexander can play here but is likely to be busy somewhere else. Jackson can fill in here as he did admirably last season with this tremendous range. I also think Zach Loyd could play this spot, but I'm not sure Hyndman thinks that's true, Bruno Guarda has played some here, and of course George John played here in college. Lastly there us home grown talent Victor Ulloa who is a natural holding mid.

Between the holding mid and the attacking mid comes the linking position vacated by Dax McCarty. After letting him go for primarily salary cap reasons, FCD is giving the first shot to fill this spot to Eric Alexander who did so well filling in last year when McCarty was hurt. Hyndman would like so see a few more goals out of this potions, mainly on box penetrating runs, so in the offseason FCD signed Ricardo Villar. I mentioned Villar in terms of backing up Ferreira, but this linking spot is the real reasons he is here. Villar is going head to head with Alexander in perhaps the most contested battle in the FCD lineup. his injury has slowed Villar this spring, but watch this spot cause it's going to be a heated battle.

After Villar there are a couple more names to consider. Andrew Jacobson played a bunch here this spring after Villar was hurt, although it's not ideal for him. Linking mid is Bruno Guarda's best position, even though he has fallen far down the depth chart from when he was a starter. Bryan Leyva can play here and it may be his best potential position in the current formation. Last but not least, this is another spot that Eric Avila can also play from time to time, although his defensive liabilities cost him here.

On the right side of midfield we will see Marvin Chavez. Chavez won the job from Attiba Harris last season allowing FCD to expose Harris in the expansion draft. Behind Chavez is a mis-mash of players, Eric Ailva will figure prominently here in games as a attacking player off the bench and spot starter. Eric Alexander might actually be better wide than central, at least Hyndman thinks so. Again Bryan Leyva can figure here as do both Peri Marosevic and Andrew Wiedeman in reserve games. Jackson can even do this job in a pinch, showing one again his immense versatility. And it wouldn't be a stretch to see Brek Shea play on the opposite side. Perhaps brand spanking new home grown signing Jonathan Top can figure here in some reserve games.

The left is where the run really begins. Brek Shea is the man here, expect as we discussed in the defender analysis, Hyndman wants to move Shea to center back. The only way that can happen is if someone steps up at left mid.

Getting the first shot is Eric Avila, this is his best shot at finally grabbing a full time starting role. If he can't hold it down and Shea comes back to left mid, Avila might not get that many more chances at starting.

The next name to consider for left mid is another we know so little about and that's Fabian Castillo. The 18 year old Designated Player (for this season only) is nominally a striker, but can and does play on the left flank. He is the prototypical fleet footed, slashing, penetrating wide mid that Hyndman relishes in this system. Yes Castillo is a striker, but with only one striker in this system, Castillo may best help the team wide left rather than in the Jeff Cunningham late sub role. Some of the reserves here are the same as right mid: Leyva, Wiedeman, Marosevic.

Midfield Depth Chart

Attacking Mid
1. David Ferreira
2. Ricardo Villar
3. Eric Avila
4. Bryan Leyva

Holding Mid
1. Daniel Hernandez
2. Andrew Jacobson
3. Jackson
4. Bruno Guarda
5. Bobby Warshaw
6. Victor Ulloa

Linking Mid
1. Eric Alexander
2. Ricardo Villlar
3. Bruno Guarda
4. Eric Avila
5. Bryan Leyva

Right Mid
1. Marvin Chavez
2. Eric Avila
3. Eric Alexander
4. Bryan Leyva
5. Andrew Wiedeman / Peri Marosevic / Jonathan Top

Left Mid
1. Brek Shea
2. Eric Avila
3. Fabian Castillo
4. Eric Alexander

Depth chart analysis: defenders

March, 18, 2011
3/18/11
3:50
PM CT
Relative to the goalkeepers, the defenders depth chart is very complicated.

Right back, after the trade of Heath Pearce, belongs to Jackson. The tall, lanky, and fleet footed outside back is both a capable defender and a good attacker. His versatility means that in injury situations he has been called on to play other positions. If he does need to move, Zach Loyd is at this point the 2nd choice out wide.

FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman, however, believes Loyd is better in the middle and has looked for another outside back. FCD Home grown player Moises Hernandez saw a lot of time in preseason at both outside spots and Andrew Wiedeman has also seen time here. Neither is ready for an extended prime time run but could fill in in an emergency.

Left back is also ingrained with Jair Benitez locked into the spot. Like at right back, Zach Loyd is again the first option if something happens to Benitez. Loyd should get the nod on opening day with Benitez suspended for example. Again Hernandez could feature in am emergency as could Brek Shea if necessary.

Center back is where things get really interesting. On the surface Ugo Ihemlu and George John are the returning starting pair. Zach Loyd, in the coach's preferred role for him, is one backup with an eventually healthy Kyle Davies as the other. Depending on various factors like other injuries and availability, Jackson is a top choice to play in the middle, possibly even over Loyd or Davies.

The x-factor here is Brek Shea. Coach Hyndman has felt for a couple of years that Brek Shea was a world class center back in the making. The injuries this spring have given Hyndman a chance to play Shea at center back and the 6'3" Texas has done well there. He played so well that Hyndman will start Shea at center back this weekend against Chicago for the injured Ugo Ihemelu.

The thing is Hyndman would love to keep Shea at center back even when everyone is healthy, Shea being his secret first choice. If someone else can emerge at left midfield, then Hyndman can make his dream move and leave Shea at center back all season. The question then becomes who would sit or move. Ihemelu can play wide in the back and John can play some defensive midfield. If I had to guess, I might think John would sit as Hyndman loves athleticism and Ugo has it by the bag full, not to mention a lot more experience.

After those five names at center back you have last year's pick Edson Edward who unfortunately has a serious injury and is on injured reserve, likely for the season. Then comes first round pick Bobby Warshaw, who is really a midfielder but did play two seasons of center back in college, Andrew Jacobson, and Daniel Hernandez who can all play this spot in an emergency. FCD home grown midfielder Victor Ulloa could also play in this spot and might in various reserves game.

FCD also had a mystery trialist in camp this week and looked at sevearl other center backs during the spring. So they may be looking for another body to fill out the roster.

Defensive Depth Chart

Right Back
1. Jackson
2. Zach Loyd
3. Moises Hernandez
4. Andrew Wiedeman

Left Back
1. Jair Benitez
2. Zach Loyd
3. Moises Hernandez
4. Brek Shea

Center Back
1. (X-Factor) Brek Shea
2A. Ugo Ihemelu
2B. George John
4. Jackson
5. Zach Loyd
6. Kyle Davies
7. Edson Edward (IR)
8. Daniel Hernandez / Andrew Jackbson / Bobby Warshaw
9. Victor Ulloa

FC Dallas 2011 Preview

March, 18, 2011
3/18/11
11:32
AM CT
Well, it’s finally here, the start of the 2011 MLS regular season. And for FC Dallas fans, that means it’s time for renewed optimism surrounding their beloved club, the reigning Western Conference champions. Of course, much of the cast is back for more, including reigning league MVP David Ferreira along with solid veteran goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, up-and-coming midfielder and sometimes center back Brek Shea and Honduran speedster Marvin Chavez.

But there were some notable departures from last year’s league runner-up. At forward, Jeff Cunningham and his 11 goals will be missed but the veteran scorer did most of his damage off the bench in 2010. Still, it would’ve been nice to see No. 9 become the league’s all-time leading goal scorer in an FCD shirt but what’s done is done.

And in the midfield, there is a pair of departures with linking mid Dax McCarty, who is the new captain for DC United, being the biggest loss. But seeing right mid Atiba Harris was another notable loss but Chavez is clearly an upgrade in several ways. About the only other personnel change of note that hasn’t been mentioned was at right back where Heath Pearce was shipped off to Chivas USA earlier in preseason. Pearce never really was on the bus that FCD gaffer Schellas Hyndman so eloquently speaks of, so he was traded. Now, versatile Brazilian Jackson is the new right back.

And there are some new faces, including a new backup goalkeeper in Chris Seitz, Brazilian midfielder Ricardo Villar, who could be McCarty’s long-term replacement in the middle and young forward Fabian Castillo, a Colombian striker who heads to MLS after a solid early career in South America. But the big question on everyone’s mind is, will FCD finish the job and win MLS Cup in 2011? That one won’t be decided for several months but with a solid returning cast, this club remains one of the top contenders in the West and the league for that matter. So, a title is definitely within the realm of possibility.

GOALKEEPER

Hartman was an absolute rock between the posts last year before that unfortunate collision with New York’s Thierry Henry last September at Pizza Hut Park resulted in a knee injury that shelved him for much of the rest of the regular season. To his credit, the veteran goalkeeper returned and was his former self in the playoffs.

Before his injury, Big Kev was one of the top candidates for MLS Goalkeeper of the Year but missing so many games basically took him out of the running. Still, he brings a calming influence to the FCD back four and one shouldn’t discount the positive effect his addition had on making this side a much tougher club to score against in 2010.

If Hartman can remain healthy in 2011 and shows similar form to what he did one year ago, then there isn’t any reason to think he won’t contend for and possibly win the league’s top ‘keeper award for a third time in his storied career. And now that FCD has a viable backup in Seitz, giving Kevin a rest when he needs it isn’t a bad thing.

Nothing against last year’s backup Dario Sala but it was clear that the Argentine ‘keeper just didn’t have the range of movement he once did and when Sala was pressed into duty during Hartman’s absence, it quickly became clear that the club needed an upgrade at backup keeper. They got that in acquiring Seitz from the Union for basically nothing.

The ex-Maryland Terrapin also figures to get his share of playing time as FCD will also play in the CONCACAF Champions League, US Open Cup and possibly SuperLiga this year in addition to whatever international friendlies the club books throughout the season. So, with a one-two punch of Hartman and Seitz, the FCD goalkeeping corps is again a big strength.

Josh Lambo is still on the roster mostly due to his Generation adidas status and is the third ‘keeper. He could go out on loan again like he did in 2010 to get more seasoning. And the club also has Home Grown ‘keeper Richard Sanchez, who is only 16 but could represent the future between the posts for this club.

DEFENSE

Even though he will miss FCD’s season opener on Saturday against Chicago because of a preseason spitting incident against Houston, Jair Benitez is entrenched at left back. He is somewhat of a polarizing player. While some see him as an absolute rock who is one of the best players in the back, others get nervous by his occasional lack of poise like the red card he got last year at Houston, which also netted him a suspension and which was also seen earlier this year against the Dynamo in preseason.

Maybe the Colombian defender just hates Houston, which should further endear him to FCD supporters but Benitez’s decision making at times has to be called into question. Still, he remains the best option on the left side. Zach Loyd will fill in for him against the Fire but he is much better in a more central role. That means Hyndman will go with Benitez until someone else better steps up, which appears unlikely.

In the middle, it is something of a mixed bag. The rangy George John has recovered from his off-season surgery to remove bone spurs from his ankle and after missing the early stages of preseason, has shown he is back to his old self. That’s definitely a good thing for FCD.

However, his usual center back partner, Ugo Ihemelu, won’t be ready for the season opener after having surgery to repair a sports hernia earlier in preseason. Brek Shea will shift over from his usual spot at left mid to fill in and yes, the big Texas native does present some intriguing possibilities at center back.

Most notably, Shea’s size and toughness could make him a good central defender in the future but it will take him some time to get used to the intricacies of being a great center back. The ideal scenario sees Ihemelu return to full health, reclaim his old spot, which would send Shea back to the left flank, where he can realistically still help this team the most but watching him in the back will be intriguing to say the least.

With the departure of Pearce, Jackson is the new starter at right back. The versatile Brazilian played in a number of spots last year and has nice pace along with a solid soccer IQ. He should be a solid replacement for Heath and fits the vision of a Hyndman fullback as a guy who can handle his defensive responsibilities yet still get up and down the flanks to provide doses of offense when possible. A goal or two along with several assists isn’t too much to ask from him in 2011.

Along with Loyd, 2011 draftee Bobby Warshaw gives FCD considerable cover at center back. Once Kyle Davies returns from ankle surgery, which won’t be for at least two more months, he too could provide some cover in the back for Hyndman. Forward Andrew Wiedeman has also been seeing a lot of action at right back but would only be pressed into duty with the first team unless an absolute emergency arose. Still, he could see some time there in reserve games or any of the other competitions FCD is in this year. Homegrown talent Moises Hernandez could also get a look as the season progresses.

MIDFIELD

Of course, Ferreira leads the way as the reigning MVP and the man who makes this entire attack go. In 2010, “El Torito” was the most fouled player in MLS and that total could grow even further in 2011 as he is now even more of a marked man as the reigning MVP. So, the obvious question with the Colombian dynamo is can he take a similar beating in 2011?

Hyndman and FCD fans alike both hope so because in 2010, he was the soccer equivalent of a Timex watch who could take a licking and keep on ticking. It’s an obvious statement but so goes No. 10 and so goes the club. The gaffer expects clubs to focus more on containing Ferreira, which will result in him coming up with some solid countermeasures to combat bottling up FCD’s central attacking midfielder. Since there’s little reason to question his in-game adjustments at this point, there’s no doubt Hyndman will come up with something good.

Still, should the opposition be successful in taking Ferreira out of the game, that makes FCD’s flank midfielders of Shea on the left and Chavez on the right even more crucial. Both are capable of delivering pinpoint service and each starter has enough speed to stretch opposing defenses on the flanks and to draw their focus, leaving the forward(s) open up top.

Eric Avila will likely start the season opener in Shea’s place and this is clearly a huge opportunity for the amicable California native. If he doesn’t show well for himself in his latest big chance to show he belongs in the first 11, he might not get another shot. Avila has good speed, a nice touch on the ball but up until now, he has shown that he’s best suited as an instant energy guy off the bench instead of as a starter.

As for Chavez, he battled through an injury-marred early part of 2010 to become a starter on the right side late in the year and it was clear, FCD was a better team with him on the field last fall. Now with a new contract in hand and his health no longer an issue, the pressure is high for the Honduran speedster to perform. Can he deliver over a full season?

Moving inside, holding mid and captain Daniel Hernandez has recovered from off-season knee surgery but his advancing age and health concerns from 2010 still could loom large later in the year. Recent acquisition Andrew Jacobson, another Philly expatriate, looks like a solid backup option for Hernandez at that spot along with ex-SMU standout Bruno Guarda, who is facing a make or break year with FCD.

But at McCarty’s old spot, linking mid, there are some questions. It’s hard to fault FCD’s rationale for letting Dax go, especially since Eric Alexander performed so well as a fill-in while McCarty missed considerable time with a hamstring injury last summer. And even though Alexander might not have performed as well as some would have expected this preseason, he remains the answer there until proven otherwise.

But if the ex-Hoosier does take a step back in year two, there are other possibilities. Newcomer Villar has shown pretty well for himself since arriving early in preseason but health has been an issue for the Brazilian midfielder. So, that could leave Guarda as another possibility. He also hasn’t done much in preseason but maybe he feels this is his last shot to stick with FCD and if given a chance, might decide to make the most of his opportunity. Fans saw it just a few years back at SMU but that Bruno Guarda seems like a completely different player compared to what he’s been in his first few years in MLS.

There are also two Home Grown players to mention here. Of course, the first is Bryan Leyva, who made his first-team debut last year but has struggled to adjust to being a professional, namely when it comes to his fitness. If Leyva can become fit, then he could also get a look. Big Victor Ulloa, also a product of the FCD youth system, is another possibility for the future but he also needs some seasoning.

FORWARD

This could be the biggest question mark for FCD in 2011. Cunningham is gone but it looks like fellow veteran Milton Rodriguez, who had five goals in 13 games, looks to be the starter at least for the near future in Hyndman’s 4-1-4-1. Rodriguez joined FCD last July and considering the substantial hype his signing got before the fact, the results were somewhat disappointing. What can he do with a larger sample size? Hopefully score more goals and maybe provide more assists, at least that’s the hope.

But the minutes Milton receives could depend on if and when Hyndman and his staff feel 19-year-old phenom Ruben Luna is ready. The Home Grown player is clearly FCD’s striker of the future and like Leyva, made his first-team debut last year. He is an exciting, young player who has good speed and a clinical approach around the net that has the FCD faithful salivating at the mere possibilities surrounding this local product starting up top. But when will he be ready?

FCD also has Peri Marosevic at striker but in his first two years, the ex-Michigan Wolverine hasn’t shown a ton and has yet to see any action with the first team. Wiedeman is in his second year and as previously mentioned, has seen most of his recent action at right back. Home Grown talent Jonathan Top is another possibility but like the rest of the FCD youth system products, he figures to need additional experience, which could come in reserve games and friendlies, before he’s ready for his big chance.

However, the wild card in this equation is 18-year-old Colombian Castillo. He has yet to join FCD and there’s no telling when that might happen since the club is waiting for him to get his visa. And once he does join the team, there is the whole question of how fit he will be once he arrives and how long it will take for him to be comfortable enough with his new teammates and in Hyndman’s 4-1-4-1 to make his MLS debut? Honestly, it could be a month or more before FCD fans get their first look at Castillo but once Hyndman feels he’s ready, he will be out there. The only question might be if the gaffer decides to switch to a 4-4-2 formation, possibly with a young duo of Luna and Castillo up top or if he decides to stick with the one-striker setup that served FCD so well in 2010?

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