After nearly two weeks of training, the first preseason game of 2015 finally kicks off for FC Dallas on Wednesday morning in Orlando as FC Dallas will face MLS debutants Orlando City SC at 11:00AM .
Whereas last year, FC Dallas took a two-week trip to UAE early in the preseason, Wednesday's game against Orlando City and Saturday's match against Jonkopings Sodra represent the only matches in this preseason that FCD will play outside the state of Texas.
Here's three things to watch for as FCD goes 11v11 for the first time against another opponent on Wednsday morning:
First run out
The first game is always a little bit of a touch and go exercise for the first teamers, and you wouldn't expect any of them to get more than 45 minutes of game time. For veterans like Zach Loyd, Victor Ulloa, David Texeira and company, Wednesday's game is a solid first chance to work out the cobwebs and begin to get back into game shape.
With the preseason tournament in Austin next weekend serving as a much more formal preseason experience playing in front of the paying fans, this week in Florida will be a little more relaxed games providing some match fitness under the sun in Florida.
Who earns a spot?
Of course, for guys trying to earn a contract, these games can have huge importance and many times the second halves are much more interesting than the first as the guys trying to earn a roster spot put their best foot forward. Oscar Pareja has a myriad of trialists and draft picks in there including Will Seymore, Jaineil Hoilett, Aurelio Saco-Vertiz, Juan Toja and Ezquiel Straccia, so look out for some of these names and how they do.
Spots are certainly limited, but with Matt Hedges and Blas Perez out on international duty, there will be some playing time that the young guys will look to take advantage of.
The answer to a trivia question
For the opponents Orlando City SC, Wednesday will reportedly be the first match for Brazilian Designated Player Kaka. The 2007 Ballon d'Or winner will make his first appearance of the preseason for Orlando City and FC Dallas will forever be the answer to the trivia question of who was the first MLS team he faced.
Stay tuned to FC Dallas social media tomorrow for full coverage of the match!
The FC Dallas U-18 Academy is down in Guadalajara this week playing in the prestigious Copa Chivas against some of the best teams from Mexico and around the world. FC Dallas has been placed in a group with Chivas Guadalajara and Atlas from Liga MX as well as Urawa Red Diamonds from Japan and Atletico Paranaese from Brazil and matches are 70 minutes long.
The FCD travel roster is a mix of U-18 and U-16 players with many of them having experience from last year's tournament. Here is the full roster:
Santiago Agudelo, Joel Avilez, Ryan Barlow, Reggie Cannon, Eric Davies, Irvin Domingues, Charlie Furrer, Matt Karasinski, Alejandro Martinez, Weston McKinnie, Giovanni Montesdeoca, Eddie Munjoma, Phillip Ponder, Christian Ramirez, Oscar Romero, Jose Livano Salas, Martin Salas, Devin Vega
FCD U-18s draw first match vs Urawa Red Diamonds
In the first match, the U-18s took on Urawa Red Diamonds of the J. League playing to an exciting 2-2 draw. Santiago Agudelo opened the scoring for FC Dallas with a close-range effort in the 21st minute.
FCD would take a 2-0 lead into halftime as Eric Davies scored off a corner kick to double the lead.
The Japanese side finally broke through in the 62nd minute as Mizuki Arai scored his first goal and then in the 68th minute Urawa was awarded a penalty kick that they scored to tie the match.
FC Dallas lineup: 22 Charlie Furrer, 2 Eric Davies, 3 Phillip Ponder, 4 Ryan Barlow, 12 Óscar Romero, 44 Devin Vega, 13 Irving Dominguez, 15 José Salas, 21 Martín Salas, 30 Santiago Agudelo, 9 Christian Ramírez.
FCD U-18s play to a scoreless draw with Liga MX's Atlas
The second match saw FCD take on at Atlas side that won their first two matches and FCD played them to a 0-0 draw in a rainy Guadalajara.
Giovanni Montesdeoca had the best chance of the match for FCD in the first half and the valuable point keeps FCD alive in their quest to make the quarterfinals.
FC Dallas lineup: 22 Charlie Furrer, 2 Eric Davies, 3 Phillip Ponder, 4 Ryan Barlow, 12 Óscar Romero, 33Reggie Cannon, 17 Alejandro Martínez, 15 José Salas, 21 Martín Salas, 23 Joel Avilez, 42 Giovani Montesdeoca.
Through two matches, FCD sits in fourth with 2 points with Atletico Paranaense and Chivas Guadalajara a point ahead of them.
The top two teams from each group plus the two highest ranked third place teams will make the quarterfinals.
FC Dallas plays Chivas Guadalajara at noon on Monday in a match that will be streamed live (WATCH HERE). A win for FCD would put them in with a great chance at advancing to the quarterfinals.
One of the really fun aspects of the 2015 schedule is that LA Galaxy comes to town twice this year. We've already talked about how there is guaranteed drama whenever FC Dallas and the LA Galaxy meet so let's not beat around the bush.
This game is going to be known as the "Gerrard" game.
The Liverpool legend is set to join Los Angeles after the EPL season is over and assuming he takes a few weeks off before linking up with the Galaxy, his trip to Toyota Stadium will be one of the first road games for the scouse superstar.
It's going to be absolutely fascinating to see how Gerrard adapts to life in MLS and there's no better way to introduce Stevie G to how we do things in Texas than a steamy summer Saturday night at Toyota Stadium.
You know this one is going to be sold out and it's going to be a huge game in the standings, so no reason to wait and get your tickets.
FCD graphic design/photography gurus Erik Davila & Olivia Brestal got new camera lenses in the mail yesterday. Expect great things to come. Here are a few pics from Friday's morning training session:
The champs visit Toyota Stadium twice in 2015, with the first match coming on Saturday, May 9 at 7:30PM, the third Premier Match of the season.
Any time the Galaxy come to town, it's an occasion not to be missed, and with a Saturday night kickoff in the middle of spring, this one is definitely going to be a packed house at Toyota Stadium.
FC Dallas is 3-1-1 in their last five at home against Los Angeles and any time FCD faces the Galaxy, you can bet some late drama is in the cards.
While Landon Donovan has ridden off into the U.S. Soccer sunset and Steven Gerrard doesn't arrive until later in the season, the Galaxy still boast perhaps the most fascinating forward in the league in Robbie Keane as well as Dallas-native Omar Gonzalez; so there's plenty of talent to watch on the other end of the field, but this one is all about FC Dallas.
With this game being the sixth of seven home games in the first 11 matches of the season, FCD has a chance to make a real statement to the rest of the league with this one and you definitely don't want to miss it.
Drama happens when FCD and the Galaxy play (see below). Get the best seat in the house now for the next chapter as single-game tickets are available!
The players have returned for preseason and the 20th season of FC Dallas soccer is starting to come into focus.
Today, we've released single-game tickets for seven of the biggest games of the season, our 2015 premier matches. Throughout this week we're going to be highlighting each one on FCDallas.com as we celebrate "Marquee Matchups," taking a look towards the 2015 season. Stay tuned each day this week as we highlight one of the seven biggest games coming to Toyota Stadium in 2015.
Marquee Matchups Game One - March 7 vs. San Jose Earthquakes
No matter what sport you're watching, there's nothing like opening day.
Every team is 0-0-0 with championship aspirations and whether you're looking to improve on last season and show that you mean business or simply looking to prove that the previous season was no fluke, the first game of the year is always one you don't want to miss as a fan. There's just something special about that first time you walk through the stadium gates for a new season, getting your first glimpse at the new players while also seeing those familiar faces back on the field for another year.
There's all the new signage around the stadium, the new banners outside(which will be awesome) and that first look at the new pump up videos. On March 7 at 7:30PM, it all gets started again, and let's face it: You're not missing this one.
For FC Dallas, the 2015 season marks the eighth-straight year that FCD will open the season at Toyota Stadium with the team going 3-1-3 in that stretch, having won their last three home openers.
Who can forget last year's season opener in which Oscar Pareja returned to the place he calls home to see Mauro Diaz produce his first of many master-class performances, scoring a brilliant game-winning free kick early in the second half to seal a 3-2 win over Montreal. It would be the first stanza of Mauro's brilliant March that saw him win Etihad Player of the Month while propelling Dallas to a 4-0-1 start to the season.
It's opening night. It gives me chills every time. It's going to be a huge crowd coming off last year's playoff drama. You don't want to miss this one.
Mexico continued their recent dominance of the CONCACAF U-20 championships winning their third in a row as they topped Panama in PKs on Saturday in Jamaica.
FC Dallas Homegrown goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez proved to be one of the heroes as the netminder saved two PKs in the shootout that saw El Tri take home the trophy.
Gonzalez allowed just three goals in five games for El Tri posting two shutouts for the eventual champions who easily qualified for the U20 World Cup this summer in New Zealand.
USA books a spot in New Zealand with win over El Salvador
Despite a rough start, the US U-20s rebounded fantastically well and sealed their spot in New Zealand with a 2-0 win over El Salvador in the winner-take-all knockout game.
Though Kellyn Acosta was forced to miss the second half of the tournament, he expressed his excitement on Twitter yesterday after the US qualified.
Day one of the 2015 FC Dallas preseason is in the books and like every first day it was full of optimism as Oscar Pareja and FCD look to improve on their Western Conference Semifinal finish last season. Here's a little bit of news, notes, pics and quotes from today's practice.
- Today was mainly a fitness day for FC Dallas as the team works under new fitness coach Fabian Bazan. There was a notably long stretching session before the team did some more running drills. After that the balls came out and some short-sided passing drills ensued before the players went on a long run around the complex finishing up with more running inside AdvoCare Field 1.
- Yep, it was basically a training full of running.
- FC Dallas will continue their week of training in Frisco before departing for the IMG Academy in Florida with two practices on Saturday at 9AM and 4PM and one practice on Sunday at 10AM.
- Except for the players away with their respective national teams, nearly everyone was out at training today including all the draft picks, though new midfielder Kyle Bekker was absent and is set to train tomorrow for the first time
- By my count there were four trialists besides the draft picks at training today including two familiar faces in former FCD Academy standouts Jack Coleman and Damian Rosales. Jack played 17 games at Duke as a senior scoring one goal and one assist while Rosales was a four-year standout at SMU earning Second-Team All-AAC honors as a senior finishing second on the team in goals with six playing in an attacking wing back role.
Quote of the day:
"I’d say that he’s one of the best signings that we can have here. I’m very proud of the club and really grateful for the support of the ownership and front office putting into the project. Fabian is going to help our players tremendously. He’s a high level fitness coach and not just that, but he’s another assistant due to his knowledge about the game so it’s a great package to have."
-Oscar Pareja on new fitness coach Fabian Bazan
Here are some fanastic pics from practice courtesy of Olivia Brestal -
Let the 2015 preseason begin.
FC Dallas announced today that they will officially open 2015 preseason camp on Friday, January 23rd at 10:00 A.M. on AdvoCare Field 1 outside Toyota Stadium.
FCD will continue preseason training with two practices on Saturday, January 24th at 9:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M. with their final practice of the weekend on Sunday at 10:00 A.M., all on AdvoCare Field 1.
FC Dallas will train in Frisco throughout the next week before heading to the IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL on February 1st where they will train for a week with games to be announced before returning back to Frisco.
Here is the full FC Dallas roster as we open 2015 preseason:
Defenders: Kellyn Acosta, Otis Earle, Matt Hedges*, Moises Hernandez, Stephen Keel, Zach Loyd, Will Seymore, Walker Zimmerman.
Midfielders: Kyle Bekker, Coy Craft, Mauro Diaz, Danny Garcia, Atiba Harris, Jaineil Hoilett, Ryan Hollingshead, Michel, Cobi Span, Victor Ulloa, Alejandro Zendejas**.
Forwards: Tesho Akindele*, Fabian Castillo, Blas Perez, David Texeira.
**Currently with the U.S. U-17 National Team
***Currently with the Mexico U-20 National Team
NOTE: FC Dallas players and coaches are available for interviews,only as arranged through FC Dallas Communications,following the morning training sessions. Practices vary in length and times are subject to change. Media are encouraged to call FC Dallas Communications ahead of the scheduled times to confirm practice times and player / coach availability.
FC Dallas added another major piece to the 2015 puzzle on Wednesday trading allocation money for Toronto FC midfielder Kyle Bekker. The Canadian has 29 appearances in two years in MLS as well as 13 apperances for the Canadian National Team including seven starts. His last appearance for Canada came in a 0-0 draw against Panama in late November.
So what kind of player is FC Dallas getting in Bekker? Well we definitely have some information to break down the 24-year-old's game.
There is certainly a lot of similarities to Victor Ulloa in Bekker's game. They're both two-way midfielders who have a little more defensive tint to their game than offensive, but they do a good job at retaining the ball and getting it to the dangermen. For an FC Dallas midfield that found itself thin as the season wore on last year, Bekker will provide another nice piece of depth that will not only contend for a starting spot on a weekly basis but push a player like Ulloa to be better as well.
Perhaps the best part of Bekker's season to evaluate is an eight-game stretch in early April to early June during which he started every game with Toronto going 4-3-1 in their best eight-game stretch of their beleagured 2014 campaign. In those eight games, Bekker was, according to Squawka, the highest rated player on the TFC roster earning the highest marks in possession as well as showing strongly defensively(see graphic below). It's a small sample size, for sure, but it certainly suggests that the Canadian is no slouch in the center of the park.
He found playing time difficult to find in the second half of the season as Toronto FC nose-dived to the finish winning just two of their last 13 games in a stretch that saw Ryan Nelsen replaced at manager by Greg Vanney. With a new coach and new ideas came the trade of a player that never quite seemed to fit into TFC's plans despite obvious talent.
According to Squawka, Bekker finished the season with a passing accuracy of 83% of which 79% were forward passes which compares to 85% passing accuracy of Victor Ulloa of which 80% were forward passes so those numbers obviously match up well also.
Just 24 years old and with two years of MLS under his belt, Bekker is a very low risk and high upside acquisition for FC Dallas that gives more depth in the midfield and another player that could flourish under the tutilage of head coach Oscar Pareja.