Our very own soccer ball-kicking, Name That Tune-dominating, best-hair-in-the-league superstar Stephen Keel is in LA this weekend for MLS Cup and he's going to be taking over the @MLS Instagram accounts all weekend as our league determines a champion between LA Galaxy and New England.
The annual Nike Friendlies were held over the last week in Florida as part of the US Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase with the US U-17 National Team facing England, Australia & Brazil over a week-long stretch.
Recent FC Dallas Homegrown signing Alejandro Zendejas played a huge part in the Nike Friendlies so let's take a look at his performances:
US U-17s defeat England U-17s 3-1
WATCH: USA 3 ENG 1
In the opening match, the US steamrolled England jumping out to a 2-0 halftime lead before winning 3-1. FCD midfielder Alejandro Zendejas scored the opening goal of the match on a really nice volley in the 11th minute before assisting on the third goal of the match in the 48th minute scored by Christian Pulisic.
Zendejas went 83 minutes in the match playing in an attacking two-way midfielder role for the U-17s.
U-17s come from behind to beat Australia 2-1
In the second match of the week playing a largely changed lineup, the U-17s fell behind early to Australia, but found a 15th-minute equalizer to send the match tied 1-1 at halftime.
Zendejas did not start the match, but subbed in at halftime for the U-17s who found a 69th-minute game-winner from Luca de la Torre to go 2-0 on the week at the Nike Friendlies.
U-17s fall 4-1 to Brazil in final match of Nike Friendlies
The United States needed just a draw against the Brazil U-17s to secure the Nike Friendlies trophy, but fell 4-1 to the South Americans in the final match of the week.
Richie Williams' team conceded an early goal to Evander before Christian Pulisic equalized in the 22nd minute. Another Brazil goal in the 42nd minute would send the hosts into halftime with a 2-1 lead. Two more goals in the second half sealed the emphatic win for Brazil.
Zendejas was once again in the starting lineup for this one playing all 90 minutes for the United States to finish the Nike Friendlies with nearly 2 1/2 full matches played out of the three.
Four teams qualified for Dr Pepper Dallas Cup XXXVI by winning the fourth annual Bobby Rhine Invitational presented by MoneyGram over the Thanksgiving weekend. The tournament consisted of six age divisions, U-11 through U-16, with winners of the four oldest divisions booking a spot in next year's prestigious Dallas Cup.
One FC Dallas Youth representative, our El Paso 98/99 affiliate team, qualified with a 1-0 win in the U-16 championship game over Dallas Texans 99 Boys Red.
In the U-15 division, IFC Houston Mana 00 beat FCDY 00 Boys Premier 4-0 in the final match.
Mexican powerhouse Tigres had two teams qualify for Dallas Cup through this year's tournament, beating FC Dallas 01 NPL 1-0 in the U-14 division and shutting out Solar Chelsea 02 Boys Red in the U-13 bracket.
In the two youngest divisions, the FC Dallas 03 Boys Premier team won the U-12 bracket after topping the U-12 Elite team from FCD's Monterrey affiliate, 4-1, and FC Premier 04 beat FC Dallas Youth 04 Boys Blue 2-1 in the U-11 championship.
Full tournament results and final standings from the Bobby Rhine Invitational presented by MoneyGram can be found HERE.
FRISCO, Texas (Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014) – FC Dallas defender Stephen Keel is recovering from offseason foot surgery, the club announced today.
Dr. Keith Heier performed a plantar fascia release, great toe cheilectomy and debridement on Keel’s right foot, as well as an injection in his left foot. The procedure was performed at the Texas Health Center for Diagnostics and Surgery.
Hampered by foot problems for much of the season, the 30-year-old defender partially tore the plantar fascia in his right foot during the FC Dallas U.S. Open Cup match versus Philadelphia on Aug. 12. However, Dallas was out of substitutions and the match went into two 15-minute overtime periods, forcing the hobbled veteran to play 75 minutes of the match.
Keel appeared in 16 regular-season MLS matches for the Dallas side, starting 14 and logging 1,307 minutes. He recorded one assist on the season. Keel is expected to recover from the procedures in 8-12 weeks.
The CONCACAF U-20 Championship which doubles as 2015 U-20 World Cup Qualifying is just around the corner in January and Kellyn Acosta has been called in to a week-long camp in Florida starting today. Here's the official release from US Soccer:
CHICAGO (Dec. 2, 2014) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team will meet for a domestic fitness camp from Dec. 3-10 in Bradenton, Florida.
The group features 10 field players, most who play for Major League Soccer clubs. With a little more than a month before the start of the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Jamaica, head coach Tab Ramos sees this stretch as a valuable time to keep his side playing at a high rate with the MLS season nearly in the books.
“It’s finally getting down to that time where we have to focus on the final stages of World Cup qualifying,” Ramos said. “At this point, because the MLS season has ended for a lot of teams, we needed to bring the players who are not continuing to train with their teams and do a fitness camp. Some of the players have been off, and we want to have them catch up a little bit with the guys that we have in Europe.
Following the fitness camp, the U.S. U-20 MNT will conduct a foreign training camp in Honduras later this month starting on Dec. 15, followed by a domestic preparation camp before the CONCACAF U-20 Championship.
Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (0): None
DEFENDERS (4): Conor Donovan (North Carolina State; Fuquay Varina, N.C.), Matthew Miazga (New York Red Bulls; Clifton, N.J.), Shaquell Moore (Unattached; Powder Springs, Ga.), Tyler Turner (Orlando City SC; West Haven, Conn.)
MIDFIELDERS (3): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; Plano, Texas), Marco Delgado (Toronto FC; Glendora, Calif.), Romain Gall (Columbus Crew; Herndon, Va.)
FORWARDS (3): Bradford Jamieson IV (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Zach Pfeffer (Philadelphia Union; Dresher, Pa.), Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes; Loomis, Calif.)
Black Friday has come and gone. Now it's time for Cyber Monday, and here at FC Dallas we have the perfect opportunity to put a little red and blue into your holiday season.
This Monday, Dec. 1 from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m., EVERYTHING on ShopFCDallas.com is 50% off. You read that correctly: 50% off every single item we have listed. Are we crazy? Possibly. But we want to make sure you and your crew are decked out for the 2015 season. Toyota Stadium was the place to be in 2014 and we're gearing up (pun intended) for an even bigger and better 2015.
Use promo code FCD50 to take advantage of this Cyber Monday offer. You better get started now, before we run out of inventory!
Also, stay tuned for a special BOGO offer on our brand new holiday ticket packs so you can wear all your new gear in style at Toyota Stadium during games next season.
We're back for part two of our 2014 FCDallas.com Editorial Awards!
Click here to read the first half and see who your esteemed panelists are.
Let's get down to business
Best Attacking Player
AG: Fabian Castillo - I don’t have enough fingers on my hands to count how many times he has beaten a defender.
OB: Fabian Castillo – The guy gave my camera shutter a run for it’s money. Even with all the settings correct, Fabian showed up as a blur of speed and energy in photos. His attacking prowess and explosiveness was too good to stop. No defender – or camera – stood a chance.
DR: Blas Perez - What else can you say about Blas? My nomination of Blas for this award is something of a lifetime achievement award for the man known as Super Raton. Through three years at FC Dallas, Blas has basically averaged a goal every other game and in 2014 he led the team in both goals and assists in MLS play. Blas turned provider this year a bit more with a career-high six assists and he finished the regular season strong with five goals in his last six games. He's about as pure a #9-style forward as we've ever seen around here.
RC: Fabian Castillo - What more can be said about the Colombian connection between Castillo and Oscar Pareja? With Pareja back as head coach Castillo shined as a winger tallying 10 goals and four assists in MLS play including a scorching summer run where he scored or assisted in 10 straight games including Lamar Hunt US Open Cup matches. Remember that counter attack goal at San Jose? Yum.
SB: Blas Perez – I was initially leaning towards Fabian for this one too, but Blas’ numbers speak for themselves. The veteran striker put up one more goal and two more assists than Castillo in 200 fewer minutes played. The future may belong to Castillo, but Perez retains the crown for now.
OB: Zach Loyd – Zach was such a thieving jerk this year. Between the scoring opportunities he took away and the balls he stole from the feet of attackers, the guy has a lot of ‘splaining to do. Only evidence left at the scene was blood, sweat and genuine hard work. File a report, FCD opponents, your offense is missing.
RC: Zach Loyd - While Matt Hedges is Team MVP, Zach Loyd is a close second and quite deserving of this award. After beginning the season at his usual right back, Loyd moved to center back without hesitation and filled in admirably alongside Hedges. His athleticism is often some of the best on the field and his speed allows him to run with forwards before poking the ball away. Hedges certainly deserves a USMNT call-up, but doesn’t Zach Loyd?
AG: Zach Loyd – This guy can play any position like no other.
SB: Matt Hedges – Hedges was the one constant on an FC Dallas backline that was constantly rotating in 2014. He’s strong, dependable, clutch – all the adjectives you want out of a center back. Again, expect him to go camping in a couple months.
DR: Matt Hedges - Nevermind best FC Dallas defender, he should be in the final three for MLS Defender of the Year.
RC: Fabian Castillo - See above. Far and away the most improved player in 2014.
SB: Fabian Castillo – This is another one that could go a couple different ways. Victor Ulloa and Moises Hernandez both have strong cases in this category, but I’m gonna fall back on the numbers again. Fabian went from two goals scored in 2013 to 10 (!) in 2014; that’s a pretty considerable jump in production. The scary thing is, you get the sense he’s still capable of more. He may very well be contending for this award next year, too.
DR: Victor Ulloa - My colleagues make some fine arguments, but considering there are many who likely wouldn't have batted much of an eye if Ulloa wasn't brought back in 2014 to now being one of the most important players on the field, I'd say that's a pretty huge improvement. Compared to where he was in that first game against Portland in early 2014, Ulloa is now imposing his will on the games and had perhaps his two best games of the season in the playoff games against Seattle. Bonus points for getting in Dempsey's face at CenturyLink Field puts him over the top.
OB: Zach Loyd – see above.
AG: Chris Seitz – Did you see that playoff game in Seattle?
2015 FC Dallas MVP
RC: Mauro Diaz - We saw what a healthy Mauro Diaz can do when he won Etihad Player of the Month in March. Can you imagine the damage he’ll do if healthy for a full season?
AG: Tesho Akindele – 8 goals his rookie season, I have a good feeling that he is going to bring the heat in 2015.
SB: Mauro Diaz – I know, I know… not exactly out on a limb on this one. Mauro showed us what he’s capable when he was named Player of the Month in March, but that was before he got hurt. If he can manage to stay healthy for the majority of 2015, he’ll probably have a couple more Player of the Month awards coming his way.
DR: Matt Hedges - Because it's still a couple years too early for Coy Craft or Kellyn Acosta, I've got to stick with the incumbent and vote Matty Hedges again in 2015. There's absolutely no reason to think he can't take the next step. A January USMNT camp call-up should lead to a CONCACAF Gold Cup appearance this summer if Hedges plays to the level he's capable of and after that the sky is the limit. Honorable mention to Tesho Akindele for this one.
OB: Mauro Diaz – After half a season in 2013 as David Ferreira’s understudy and a promising 2014, 2015 is the year Mauro Diaz wipes the floor with opposing holding midfielders and defenders of MLS. Fasten your seat belts, ladies and gents, it’s shake ’n bake time.
This is fantastic. Just watch it, that's all we can say.
What a year it was for Tesho Akindele en route to winning the club's first MLS Rookie of the Year award. Here are some of the best pictures of his 2014 rookie season:
The news is out and Tesho Akindele is your 2014 AT&T MLS Rookie of the Year, the first ROTY in franchise history!
Let's take a look back at his fantastic 2014 season.
Tesho impressed from the very first whistle scoring twice at the 2014 MLS Combine.
After being selected #6 overall, Tesho scored his first MLS goal on May 21st in a 2-1 loss at Los Angeles
Tesho caught fire in a six-game stretch through July and August that saw the rookie score six goals including the first rookie hat trick in franchise history. Tesho started the streak with a brilliant goal on July 4th against Philadelphia:
He kept it going against New England going beast mode on Andrew Farrell of New England:
Then came the day that thrust him into the national MLS spotlight. Tesho scored the first rookie hat trick in franchise history against San Jose:
Of course, the biggest goal of Tesho's 2014 rookie season would come in the post-season as he became the youngest-ever playoff goal scorer in franchise history, giving FCD the lead against Vancouver in the knockout round playoff game: