The World Cup is just one week away!
We're so excited here at FCDallas.com to share the world's biggest sporting event with you here in Dallas as we hold our World Cup Tour pres. by McDonalds and look to give out $1 million to anyone who can correctly predict what will happen in Brazil.
To get you ready for the tournament, we'll be bringing you short little breakdowns of each World Cup group over the next week as well as quick 10-15 minute podcasts with myself and former FCD goalkeeper and current TV analyst Kevin Hartman talking about the groups that we'll be watching over the next month in Brazil. Here's your group A breakdown, check FCDallas.com on the daily as we release more group previews.
2014 World Cup Group A
How they got here: Automatic qualifier as host country
2010 World Cup: Winners of Group G - Eliminated in QF by Holland
Best case: Lifting the trophy at the Maracana on July 13. The combination of talent & home country familiarity makes A Seleção the favorites.
Worst case: Brazil will have no problem navigating the group stage, but a round of 16 exit is a real possibility with a match against either Spain, Netherlands or Chile from Group B looming.
Player to watch: Who else but Neymar? From a commercial sense, Neymar has been named the most marketable athlete in the world and he backs it up on the field. The 22-year-old eliminated any fears that pressure would be too much for him after scoring four goals in the 2013 Confederations Cup.
X Factor: An aging Brazil squad will need a 22-year-old Chelsea midfielder to play up to his full potential if they want to lift the trophy. The great Tim Vickery says it a lot better than I could.
How they got here: Defeated Tunisia in two-leg playoff after winning qualifying group.
2010 World Cup: Last in Group E - Lost all three group stage matches.
Best case: Cameroon finds a way to defeat Mexico in their first game and squeak through the group stage to their first knockout round since 1990
Worst case: Another winless group stage is certainly a possibility with three matches in which they'll be the underdog.
Player to watch: Vincent Aboubakar lit up Ligue 1 in 2013-2014 scoring 16 goals for his new club Lorient. With an aging Samuel Eto'o unable to produce his heroics on a consistent basis, the Indomitable Lions will need the 22-year-old to step up.
X Factor: Former Aston Villa midfielder Jean Makoun has run the show in midfield for Cameroon and he's one of their only truly world class players.
How they got here: Defeated Iceland in two-leg playoff after finishing second in qualifying group.
2010 World Cup: DNQ
Best case: Croatia has the talent, if they can stay healthy, to finish second in this group and even shock a round of 16 opponent to advance to the quarterfinals.
Worst case: A key player for Croatia goes down early and their thin depth is immediately tested. If the Europeans can't get past Mexico, they have little to no chance of advancing.
Player to watch: Attacking midfielder Ivan Rakitic is one of the hottest names in Europe for a big money transfer this summer. The Valencia midfielder led his squad to the Europa League scoring 15 goals this season in all competitions.
X Factor: Bayern Munich forward Mario Mandzukic can be among the world's best when in good form, but he struggled to hold a starting spot at the German giants this season. He's one of the few on Croatia with experience at the highest levels of Europe and has the potential to lead the red and white to the knockout round.
How they got here: Defeated New Zealand in two-leg intercontinental playoff after finishing fourth in CONCACAF qualifying
2010 World Cup: Fell to Argentina in Round of 16 - Finished second in Group A being Uruguay
Best case: The pieces come together for Miguel Herrera's side to advance from a relatively easy group and they advance to the round of 16 for the sixth straight year. It's tough to find any scenario where Mexico defeats one of the three big members of Group B in the round of 16.
Worst case: An inconsistent squad falls to Cameroon in the first match, gets blown out by Brazil in match two and has nothing to play for once Croatia comes calling.
Player to watch: Oribe "El Cepillo" Peralta is a forward comparable to Chris Wondolowski who has always been lethal in his domestic league but only recently broke through to score goals for the national team. He finds himself in good spaces and has a rocket of a shot when you give him the opportunity.
X Factor: It has to be Chicharito. His struggles at Manchester United last season were well documented, but the fact remains that when he's on, he's a world class forward. For Mexico to have any chance of advancing past the round of 16, Javier Hernandez will need to have a good tournament and potentially earn United a lot of money in transfer fees.
It's time for the first group prediction. For me, this group comes down to the Mexico vs Croatia matchup. Goal difference could be huge going into that match and it's very possible that whoever loses to Brazil by fewer goals will have the upper hand heading into that third group stage match and personally, I'm going to have to stick with Mexico for this one.
I really wouldn't want to be Croatia with that first World Cup match against Brazil next Thursday. You know they're going to come out guns blazing and for me, Mexico is going to have just enough to sneak through in second place on goal differential.
Have your say in the poll and check back soon for our Group B preview!
Matt Hedges has started every match and played every minute of the season for FC Dallas this year, but he hasn't made a save like the one he did on Saturday. After some magic from Earthquakes attacker Yannick Djalo, San Jose's Steven Lenhart headed a looping ball over Chris Seitz that looked destined for the back of the net, but Hedges was the man on the spot to clear away a certain goal.
Hedges' clearance is up for MLSsoccer.com Save of the Week so head over there and vote Hedges!
WATCH: SOTW Week 13
In preparation for their August 9th game against the Colorado Rapids, our FC Dallas Special Olympics Texas team came up to Toyota Stadium for an afternoon of fun and practice on Thursday, May 28.
The day started out with a media day round of pictures and video capture exactly like what our professional players go through before the season starts. Each of the players took headshots and filmed intros that will be used before their game on August 9. After that, each member of the team joined FC Dallas President Dan Hunt to sign official contracts naming them as official FC Dallas players.
The players then headed out to the field to begin their training session led by Oscar Pareja, Stephen Keel, Nick Walker and David Texeira. The training session quickly became a heated game as both sides played to a draw that ended with a penalty kick shootout!
Join us on August 9th as our Special Olympics team plays the Colorado Rapids directly following the match between the FCD and Rapids MLS teams!
Here's your match highlights from FCD's 2-1 loss to San Jose:
FC Dallas is back home for the next two matches and it all starts on Saturday against the San Jose Earthquakes. Here's the 10 things you need to know before coming to Toyota Stadium:
1. Gates open super early at 4:30PM for this one as we'll be hosting the Dallas Soccer Heritage Tribute Match featuring former players from the Dallas Tornado, Dallas Sidekicks, Dallas Burn & FC Dallas. Admission is free (with a ticket to the FC Dallas vs. San Jose match) so come on out and watch some of the past stars of Dallas soccer!
2. Get to your seat by 7:15 as we'll be recognizing the Ivory Coast National Team in a special on-field ceremony with their players. Ivory Coast will play El Salvador at Toyota Stadium on Wednesday night!
3. If you do arrive early, stop by the MoneyGram Nations Cup taking place all day on fields 9-14. If you Tweet from the tournament, you can win an FCD jersey or an FCD prize pack with a Raul Fernandez signed mini-ball.
4. While parking is always free for everyone at Toyota Stadium, our Toyota drivers out there can enjoy FREE upgraded parking in the Camry Gold Lot. The Camry Gold Lot is directly NW of the stadium adjacent to the Dr. Pink field.
5. Saturday's match is a family affair for Adam Moffat. He's married to the sister of San Jose Earthquakes forward Steven Lenhart.
6. Saturday's Lamar Hunt scarfing ceremony will be done by former 1967/1968 Dallas Tornado member John Stewart.
7. If you can't make Saturday's match, kickoff is set for 7:30PM and the game is available in English on Time Warner Cable Sports HD 148 and in Spanish nationally on UniMas. Your radio options are 100.7FM(English) and 1270AM(Spanish).
8. FCD battles San Jose for the second time in three weeks on Saturday night. They fell in a heartbraking 2-1 loss at Buck Shaw Stadium in a match where Dallas outshot San Jose by nearly 3-1 margin. Read all about the Earthquakes with our Know Your Enemy feature.
9. Weather is looking great for Saturday night with temperatures in the low 80's and only a very slight chance of a quick shower.
10. We've got just a few of our May Scarf of the Month left in the FCD Team Stores and they'll be $10 off at Saturday's game!
There you have it! If you haven't secured your tickets yet, beat the box office lines and get those right here and we'll see you on Saturday night!
MoneyGram #NationsCup14 is at Toyota Soccer Center this weekend and you don't want to miss this World Cup-style tournament!
MoneyGram is giving you the chance to win an FC Dallas jersey simply for tweeting from the tournament and we at FC Dallas digital want to sweeten the deal a little bit.
For anyone going to Saturday's #FCDvSJ game, stop by the #NationsCup14 taking place on Fields 9 through 14 and Tweet a picture from the tournament using both #NationsCup AND #DTID.
We will pick a winner before Saturday's game, contact you on Twitter and bring you an FCD prize pack straight to your seat at Toyota Stadium featuring a Raul Fernandez-signed mini-ball, an FCD T-shirt and a couple other pieces of FCD swag.
FC Dallas Academy Open Training Sessions 2014
All Sessions at Toyota Soccer Complex in Frisco
Times and fields subject to change - please check the website prior to arrival for most up to date field and time info.
U18 Academy (Players born in 1996 and 1997)
For more information regarding the FC Dallas U18 Academy please contact Francisco Molina at firstname.lastname@example.org
|June 1||7:30PM||Field 17|
|June 3||7:30PM||Field 12|
|June 11||7:30PM||Field 12|
U16 Academy (Players born in 1998)
For more information regarding the FC Dallas U16 Academy please contact Luchi Gonzalez at email@example.com
|June 1||6:00PM||Field 17|
|June 3||6:00PM||Field 12|
|June 11||6:00PM||Field 13|
U15 Academy (Players born in 1999)
For more information regarding the FC Dallas U15 Academy please contact Jesse Suarez at firstname.lastname@example.org
|June 1||6:00PM||Field 16|
|June 2||6:00PM||Field 9|
|June 11||6:00PM||Field 14|
|June 18||6:00PM||Field 17|
U14 Academy (Players born in 2000)
For more information regarding the FC Dallas U14 Academy please contact Chris Hayden at email@example.com
|June 1||7:30PM||Field 16|
|June 2||7:30PM||Field 12|
|June 24||9:30AM||Field 2|
U13 Academy (Players born in 2001)
For more information regarding the FC Dallas U13 Academy please contact Chris Hayden at firstname.lastname@example.org
|June 1||4:30PM||Field 16|
|June 2||6:00PM||Field 12|
|June 24||9:30AM||Field 2|
We're still a few weeks away from the big tournament in Brazil, but a mini-World Cup comes to Toyota Soccer Center this weekend with the third-annual MoneyGram Nations Cup.
The MoneyGram Nations Cup was organized in 2012 to promote outreach and unity in the local DFW community through the game of soccer and in 2014 we will celebrate the third year of the tournament. 16 teams have been drawn into four groups in a World Cup-style tournament that will determine the 2014 MoneyGram Nations Cup champion.
All group stage games will take place on Saturday, May 31st throughout the day leading up to the FC Dallas vs. San Jose game, and the knockout round semi-finals and finals will be on Sunday, June 1.
Admission is free to all games and we encourage all FC Dallas fans to come out early on Saturday afternoon to take in a little bit of the soccer carnival atmosphere! There will be plenty of fun for the kids with face painting, balloon artist and a soccer-shaped bounce house as well as pizza from Cici's sno-cones and other treats!
On Field 10, the Ultimate Soccer Experience will be set up with different interactive stations including soccer bowling, soccer basketball and a 1-on-1 competition while an EA Sports FIFA 14 station offers the chance to win bragging rights over your friends.
In addition, everyone who attends the MoneyGram Nations Cup will have the opportunity to win a brand new 2014 FC Dallas jersey by Tweeting your most creative photo from the 2014 Nations Cup using #NationsCup14 and here at FCDallas.com we have a special contest where you can win an FCD prize pack featuring a Raul Fernandez signed ball!
FRISCO - Tomorrow in Lisbon, another UEFA Champions League winner will be crowned and perhaps the biggest Atletico Madrid fan lives right here in Frisco and patrols the midfield for FC Dallas.
Midfielder Peter Luccin, who was back on the bench for FC Dallas in Wednesday's loss in Los Angeles after missing the last six weeks with a leg injury, spent three years with Los Colchoneros from 2004-2007, having played with current Atletico coach Diego "Cholo" Simeone in that first 2004-2005 season.
"I played for years at Atletico Madrid and I can’t explain what is happening over there because they have very, very good players," Luccin said after training a couple weeks ago. "But for me it’s a team thing and a “Simeone” thing, the coach who does a very good job."
Last Saturday at the historic Nou Camp in Barcelona, Atleti won La Liga for the first time since 1996 with a 1-1 draw against Barcelona and Luccin says a third team infringing on the normal big two of Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spanish soccer is definitely a good thing.
"It’s always been just two teams, but it’s good for the champoinship because last year it was so easy. It’s Real Madrid and Barcelona 20 points ahead," said Luccin. "So now we know and understand there’s another team. It’s amazing, but Atletico Madrid is a very good and historic team. Now the thing is changing and it’s good for the championship."
As for Simeone, currently the toast of European soccer, Luccin says that his teammates always knew the man known as "Cholo" would one day be a manager.
"I played one year with him and he was an aggressive player, a very passionate player and of course I could see he would be a coach one day," said Luccin. "Everyone thought he would be a coach. He does a very very good job…we can see 11 players running 90 minutes and it’s not easy. There’s good technique, but the fitness is so important with that team."
Looking ahead to Saturday's UEFA Champions League Final, the man who spent a good portion of his life in Madrid says he's happy that both the city's teams are in the final and, surprisingly said he likes both teams. However, there's no question who Luccin is cheering for on Saturday.
"I’m a big, big, big fan. It’s a little bit strange to say I like both teams, but I’m happy to see both teams in the final," said Luccin. "It’s strange. If you talked to any Atletico fan, it would be hard, but me, I like Madrid. I like the city so I like both teams but I want to see Atletico Madrid win the Champions League
It's a quick turnaround this weekend as FCD plays at RSL on Saturday night. Here's your Toyota Keys to the Match: