The USL PRO regular season wrapped up last weekend meaning both Jonathan Top and Cobi Span will soon be returning to FC Dallas from their year-long loan spells.
Top should be back with FCD as soon as this week as Arizona United SC's season has come to a close. AZ United finished ninth in the 14-team league just one spot below the playoff line having earned 33 points from 28 matches in their inaugural season.
For Top, his loan spell to Arizona was certainly a success as the 21-year-old Homegrown saw his first extended minutes as a professional appearing in 21 of 28 games for Arizona. Top finished as the expansion side's leading scorer with 12 points(5 goals + 2 assists) as well as tied for the team lead in goals with five this season.
While Top had five goals to his name this season, one stands out above the rest and that was his August 16th strike vs Pittsburgh. The curling effort won USL Pro Goal of the Month for August.
Span headed to playoffs with Orlando City
In their final season before making the jump to MLS, Cobi Span and Orlando City won their third regular season title in four years earning 62 points from 28 games, seven points ahead of second place Sacramento.
Cobi enjoyed a nice season with the Lions, appearing in 19 matches while scoring three goals in the regular season starting in a right wing role for most of his matches. Orlando City goes in search of their USL PRO championship starting this weekend with a quarterfinal playoff match against Harrisburg on Saturday night at 6:30PM.
Here are the best pictures from FCD's match at Real Salt Lake:
It's almost time for Saturday's huge match at RSL with third place in the Western Conference on the line. We break it down with our Toyota Keys to the Match:
Last weekend wasn't terribly kind to FC Dallas as Oscar Pareja's men lost for the first time since May 31st, falling 1-0 to Chicago. That coupled with two wins by Los Angeles and a win from Seattle certainly doesn't help FCD's quest for a top-3 finish, but Real Salt Lake failing to win in San Jose provides some relief, especially with Saturday's showdown at Rio Tinto looming. Here's the weekly look at the Western Conference playoff picture as the MLS week gets underway tonight:
1. Seattle Sounders FC
48 points(+11 GD) - 9 games remaining - Last match: 1-0 win vs Colorado - Next match: 9/3 at Chivas USA - Last 5: W-W-D-L-W
A mid-season swoon seems to be in the rearview mirror for Sigi Schmid's side who secured all three points at home against Colorado last weekend despite not playing at their highest level. The Sounders have a two-point lead over Los Angeles with nine games left on their schedule and face a trip to Chivas USA on Wednesday night before taking the weekend off from MLS action.
2. LA Galaxy
46 points(+21 GD) - 9 games remaining - Last match: 3-0 win vs Chivas USA - Next match: 9/5 vs Colorado - Last 5: W-W-W-W-L
The league was put on notice this week. The Galaxy are officially red-hot. A two-match week of games at StubHub Center saw Los Angeles earn all six points with blowout victories over DC United and Chivas USA. They have another relatively straight-forward test on Friday night against Colorado and could take over first place in the Western Conference soon. They look like the team to beat right now.
3. Real Salt Lake
43 points(+9 GD) - 8 games remaining - Last match: 1-1 draw vs San Jose - Next match: 9/6 vs FC Dallas - Last 5: T-L-W-W-W
Real Salt Lake won't be too disappointed with a point from a tricky trip to San Jose, but the fact remains that Jeff Cassar's side let a valuable opportunity to gain three points on FCD slip away from them. The draw at San Jose simply makes Saturday's upcoming game between RSL and FCD that much bigger. Given the form of Los Angeles and the points plus game in hand of Seattle, RSL and FCD look to be fighting it out for that third playoff spot in the west.
4. FC Dallas
42 points(+11 GD) - 8 games remaining - Last match: 1-0 loss at Chicago - Next match: 9/6 at Real Salt Lake - Last 5: L-W-W-W-W
There's no reason for panic after a 1-0 loss at Chicago in what was really a strange game from the start. With all eight games remaining against the top six of the Western Conference, FCD will have to earn their way to the top of the West, but these tough games will certainly prepare them well for playoffs. FCD has had RSL's number this year so far and Saturday will be another tough test in Rio Tinto.
5. Portland Timbers FC
34 points(+1 GD) - 8 games remaining - Last match: 3-0 win at Vancouver - Next match: 9/7 vs San Jose - Last 5: W-L-D-W-L
Wins in August don't come much bigger than that one for Caleb Porter's side. The Timbers walked into BC Place and thoroughly demolished the Whitecaps 3-0 last weekend to jump above them into the 5th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They're certainly not out of the woods, but according to Sports Club Stats they raised their chances of making the playoffs by a whopping 20% with the win.
6. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
33 points(-1 GD) - 9 games remaining - Last match: 3-0 loss vs Portland - Next match: 9/6 vs DC United - Last 5: L-L-D-W-D
Boy that was quite the surprising result for the Whitecaps. We know how they struggle on the road, but the side is typically one of the strongest in MLS at home. They'll need to recover quickly from Sunday's loss with a tough DC United side coming to town this weekend in a match they really need to win.
7. Colorado Rapids
30 points(-3 GD) - 8 games remaining - Last match: 1-0 loss at Seattle - Next match: 9/5 at Los Angeles - Last 5: L-L-L-L-L
There were plenty of positives to take from Saturday's 1-0 loss at Seattle, but we're getting to the time of the season where moral victories don't count for much. The losing streak is at six with just one win in their last ten and a trip to high-flying Los Angeles on Friday night won't provide any respite. Let's just say the Rapids are huge Earthquakes fans this weekend.
For years, we've seen the potential in Fabian Castillo knowing that he was capable of simply taking over an MLS game on his own, but we will all look back at the summer of 2014 as the time when Fabian took that next step from good to great.
The 22-year-old Colombian, amazingly now in his fourth season with FCD, had four goals and two assists in the month of August, earning him a nomination for Etihad MLS August Player of the Month. While Fabian was truly fantastic in the month, with his master-class against San Jose, and an August that saw him score or assist on game-winning goals in three of five matches, he really deserves your vote as something of a lifetime achievement award for the summer of 2014.
Except for this past Saturday's 1-0 loss to Chicago, Fabian had a goal or assist in every single game he played in the month of June, July and August. Let that sink in for a moment. A full Texas summer(kind of) with your name on every single score sheet.
And it wasn't just in MLS either, as Fabian lit up the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup scoring in all four rounds of FCD's semifinal run including the pulse-pounding late equalizer against Philadelphia in the semifinal.
In all, from June to August, the tally for Castilo in MLS and LHUSOC was ten goals and five assists in 11 games. It really doesn't get much better than that and while the LA Galaxy duo have the more impressive stats in August, Fabian Castillo gets my admittedly biased vote for Etihad MLS Player of the Month and he should get yours too.
Here are the best photos from Saturday's loss to Chicago:
We are a family here at FC Dallas and we tragically and unexpectedly lost one of our own on Thursday. Please see the note below on "Fino" Garcia and consider donating to support the Garcia family after this unspeakably sad passing.
Delfino "Fino" Garcia, of FC Dallas' Premier 98s, was a gifted and tremendously talented young man. His passion for the game of soccer was evident in his play on the pitch. His style was nothing less than a graceful mastery of domination on offense. The young men who shared the field with him were more like true brothers than teammates. After a match, they often said "Fino had my back."
Well known and respected in our North Texas soccer community, Fino Garcia has a lengthy list of accomplishments, including playing for his current team, FC Dallas' Premier 98s, as well as FC Dallas' Pre-Academy from 2010-2014 and FC Dallas' Development Academy. Fino was part of a three-peat Championship win at North Texas' 2014 State Cup, wins at the 2013 Region III Championship and play at the 2013 National Championship in addition to another visit to this year's 2014 Regional Championship and the Dallas Cup Finals. He was also named ESPN's 2012 Copa Most Valuable Player.
On Sunday, August 24, 2014, while at home, Fino suffered a ruptured blood vessel in the brain, depleting his brain of oxygen, leaving him with no brain activity and unable to breathe on his own. He was placed on life-support at Children's Hospital of Dallas. After extensive testing, doctors determined the condition was present since birth and could not have been prevented. No treatment was possible. Fino passed peacefully on Thursday, August 28, 2014.
The sudden and tragic loss of this young man has been felt by so many. Family, friends, former and current teammates and coaches, Fino touched all of our lives. Out of this great heartache, Fino still finds a way to bless others. It was his wish to be an organ donor. In this way, Fino's spirit will live on.
Please consider donating to support the Garcia family. All donations will go toward Fino's medical expenses and related costs. Please share this link with others to increase the opportunity for others to give their support.
Our deepest thanks to everyone for your amazing generosity and continued thoughts and prayers. Our soccer community is rallying for support. This time Fino, we have your back.
Here at FC Dallas, a day doesn't go by that you don't hear Technical Director Fernando Clavijo's voice bellowing through the office.
Whether he's laughing about something, telling another legendary story or bemoaning another decision by those @#%$^ referees, Fernando is a part of the fiber here at Toyota Stadium. However, for the last couple months, Fernado has been noticeably absent.
It was revealed earlier this week in a touching note by his son Nico, that the 58-year-old Uruguayan has been battling bone marrow cancer Multiple Myeloma, a disease that has kept him in Houston for the past number of weeks.
However, Fernando, as we all knew he would, is kicking MM's butt and returned to the office recently with more vigor than ever before.
Everyone at FC Dallas couldn't be happier to have Fernando back as we push towards our first MLS Cup playoff appearance since 2011 and if you see Clavijo at the next game, be sure to stop and give him your words of support!
It's hard to believe, but just nine games remain in the 2014 MLS regular season. Some teams have 11 games remaining in those nine weeks, but we're really getting down to the nitty gritty last two months and the good news is your FC Dallas is right in the thick of things!
Over the next couple months, we will do a weekly post tracking the playoff race seeing what happened the weekend before and what's up next.
1. Seattle Sounders FC
45 points(+10 GD) - 10 games remaining - Last match: 4-2 win at Portland - Next match: 8/30 vs Rapids - Last 5: W-D-L-W-L
The Sounders bounced back from a disappointing draw at home against San Jose to trounce their Cascadia opponents in Portland with a comprehensive 4-2 win. With the win, they broke a three-way tie at the top of the Western Conference. Seattle has a three point lead and a game in hand on both Real Salt Lake and FCD, but have a fairly tough schedule with six of their last ten against current playoff teams.
2. FC Dallas
42 points(+12 GD) - 9 games remaining - Last match: 2-1 win vs Real Salt Lake - Next match: 8/30 at Chicago - Last 5: W-W-W-W-D
FC Dallas has burst back to the top of the Western Conference having won four of their last five and six of their last seven. FCD hasn't lost since May 31 but face a trick test this weekend traveling to a Chicago side that has been very tough to beat this season with just six losses and 14 draws. A win in Saturday's game in Chicago would be huge for Dallas' hopes of finishing in the top three of a tight race.
3. Real Salt Lake
42 points(+9 GD) - 9 games remaining - Last match: 2-1 loss at FC Dallas - Next match: 8/30 at San Jose - Last 5: L-W-W-W-T
Real Salt Lake had a three-game winning streak halted by FC Dallas last weekend in Frisco, but still bring a solid 42 points to the playoff race. They've got two games left against both Chivas USA and San Jose, so there are definitely winnable games left on the schedule, but their match in San Jose will certainly be pivotal this weekend.
4. LA Galaxy
40 points(+15 GD) - 11 games remaining - Last match: 2-0 win vs Vancovuer - Next match: 8/27 vs DC United - Last 5: W-W-L-D-W
Los Angeles beat a listless Vancouver squad 2-0 at home on Saturday night and they have the inside track on the #1 seed at this point with more games left than anyone else. The big advantage that Los Angeles has is seven of their last 11 games are at the StubHub Center and tonight they have a huge match against DC United that, with a win, could propel them into second place in the Western Conference. FC Dallas has two remaining games left against LA that will prove vital.
5. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
33 points(+2 GD) - 10 games remaining - Last match: 2-0 loss at LA Galaxy - Next match: 8/30 vs Portland - Last 5: L-D-W-D-D
Vancouver has once again been a Jekyll and Hyde team, almost unbeatable at home but woefully poor on the road. Only six points from their last five matches is not enough to keep pace at the top of the west, opening a large gap between fourth and fifth, but they've got the biggest game of the season on Saturday when they'll host Portland.
6. Portland Timbers FC
31 points(-2 GD) - 9 games remaining - Last match: 4-2 loss vs Seattle - Next match: 8/30 at Vancouver - Last 5: L-D-W-L-W
It's looking like the hole that Portland dug early in the season will prove too much for them to pull out of. With Vancouver's two points and game in hand advantage, Portland really has to put all their chips into Saturday's game at Vancouver. According to Sports Club Stats, their playoff odds will go down to just 10% with a loss on Saturday, so it really is make or break right now for a Timbers squad that is also dealing with CONCACAF Champions League.
7. Colorado Rapids
30 points(-2 GD) - 9 games remaining - Last match: 4-3 loss vs LA - Next match: 8/30 at Seattle - Last 5: L-L-L-L-L
That last five matches. Ouch. Technically the Rapids are still in with a decent shout when you look at the point totals, just three points behind Vancouver, but in reality things are pretty bleak for the Rapids. Losses in their last five matches and the season-ending injury to Drew Moor has sent the club into a bit of a tailspin and a trip to Seattle this weekend means there will be no rest for the weary.
Here are the best pictures from FCD's 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake: