Best of FCDallas.com in 2013: August, September, October & offseason
After a rough July in which Dallas struggled majorly to score goals, the offense roared back to life in August with nine goals scored in five games with both Kellyn Acosta and Mauro Diaz making their MLS debuts.
FCD and Los Angeles played one of the most exciting games of the season in August, a heart-stopping 3-3 draw.
There was another exciting moment for the team in mid-August as the entire squad crashed the 2013 AdvoCare Success School at AT&T Stadium in Arlington kicking FCD soccer balls to the tens of thousands in attendance. Stephen Keel was rolling for the event as we got our first Keel Cam experience with FC Dallas.
FCDallas.com caught up with Zach Loyd to talk about his durability and how it's been on display through his four years with FCD.
FCD scored a huge win at Chivas USA coming from behind to score three goals late in a 3-1 victory. Head Coach Schellas Hyndman praised his team after the game.
“I think it just comes down to the character of the players and determination of the players,” Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com by phone from the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. “They were determined to come away with three points. A lot of teams would have sat back and said, ‘We’re down a man, let’s get a point on the road and we’ll feel good about it.’
After yet another thrilling home game, a press conference was called for early in September to make a major stadium announcement. FC Dallas and the city of Frisco welcomed Toyota as the official stadium naming rights partner.
“This partnership with FC Dallas is just another demonstration of our love for the Lone Star state,” said Hillyer. “Toyota prides itself in stepping up to be a good community leader and partnering through support of great organizations like FC Dallas. We look forward to a successful long-term partnership with this outstanding team and organization.”
To celebrate Hispanic Heritage month in September, we sat down with Blas Perez for an in-depth interview.
Back on the academy front, we talked to U-18 head coach Luchi Gonzalez who is part of an 18-month course in partnership with the French Football Federation designed to help our youth and upcoming coaches in MLS.
“You can know the game like a book, but if you don’t know how to stand on the field and adjust space or put in a player in a specific spot or a specific adjustment [it’s useless],” said Gonzalez. “To them it’s an art form, it’s not about what you can put on a paper or writing an essay, it’s how well can you manage a group.”
FCD's playoff hopes came to an unfortunate end after a loss to Chicago, but a day later there was some happy news as the sports hall at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science was renamed the Lamar Hunt Family Sports Hall.
“We know that Mr. Hunt was curious, inventive and fun-loving, and those qualities align perfectly with the museum’s mission of inspiring minds through nature and science,” said Perot Museum Board Chair Carolyn Perot Rathjen. “Our hope is that the Lamar Hunt Family Sports Hall will not only inspire learning about the sciences, but represent the important lessons that sports teach.”
Before the home finale against Seattle, long-time head coach Schellas Hyndman announced he would be stepping down after his fifth full season in charge.
The home slate came to a close with an uplifting 2-0 win over Seattle that saw Michel put a fitting cap on his fantastic 2013 season.
“I feel like above the players, above the directors, above the coaches, above everything is the club,” Michel explained through an interpreter after FC Dallas' 2-0 win at Toyota Stadium. “That was my homage to the club. The club opened their doors for me at a tough time for me in my career.”
After the game, the FC Dallas Special Olympics team won their first ever game.
With Hyndman's coaching career coming to a close, we took a look at the top ten moments of the Schellas Hyndman era ahead of the 2013 finale at San Jose.
For that final game, Kenny Cooper, Stephen Keel and a special guest invited everyone out to four final #WatchParty of the season.
After his last game in charge, coach Hyndman encouraged all FCD fans to look to the future.
“What I would like to say to the FC Dallas fans is that this has been a wonderful experience for me for the last five and a half years coaching their team ” Hyndman said. “Our fans should be excited about the future and I look forward to FC Dallas competing in the near future."
As we headed into the long offseason, a chance to take on some fun projects presented itself. We took the homegrowns out to a haunted house in downtown Dallas.
We put together a compilation of all the goals scored in 2013 and profiled Daniel Granados, the assistant equipment manager who has been with the team in one capacity or another since the beginning in 1996.
“I’m responsible for helping players when they get here with apartments, cars, drivers license, the proper visas they need for pre-season, just helping all the foreign players adjust to the city,” said Granados. “Whatever they need, I’m here to help them.”
The inevitable roster decisions came in early December as it was announced that FCD would not be renewing the contract of 2010 MLS MVP David Ferreira.
Around Thanksgiving, we profiled academy left back Wilfried Williams and his journey from Liberia all the way to the FC Dallas Academy.
"It was awesome because I’m not only coming here to represent myself, but represent my city because they believed in me and put everything into it for me, so I knew I have to do it,"
In early December, FC Dallas announced the signing of 2013 2nd round draft pick Ryan Hollingshead, a man who's career path has not taken the typical road.
“It was really a rollercoaster over this last year trying to figure out if it’s going to work out or not,” Hollingshead told FCDallas.com. “When they came to me about a month ago, they were basically saying they wanted me out here and I said the same thing that I want to come and want to make this work.”
And finally, we crowned a 2013 Goal of the Year champion.
2013 was certainly a year of ups and downs for FC Dallas but with major sponsorships in place and an exciting young roster, we couldn't be more thrilled to head into the 2014 journey with you here on FCDallas.com. We'll see you at Toyota Stadium in March!
It's the final day of 2013 so we thought we'd test your memory on the 2013 FC Dallas season. Take the quiz and let us know how you did!
SEGMENT 1: The last Soccer Today of 2013 starts with Stein and Steve reflecting on all the big stories from the footy year that was to cap an eventful 12 months in American soccer especially.
SEGMENT 2: The audience gets a chance to join in as the boys -- as promised -- scroll through the boldest footy predictions for 2014 tweeted in by listeners.
SEGMENT 3: With technical difficulties disrupting plans to catch up with U.S. Soccer men's player of the year Jozy Altidore, Stein and Steve carry on as best they can with a chat about Jozy and his AZ Alkmaar heir Aron Johansson.
SEGMENT 4: ESPN FC's Craig Burley, former Chelsea and Scotland midfielder, dials in at halftime of the Chelsea-Liverpool match at Stamford Bridge to help us assess the Premiership exactly halfway through the 38-game season.
Best of FC Dallas.com in 2013: May, June & July
We reached the summer in Frisco and it brough some fantastic drama and FCD players going all over the world to represent their national teams.
FCD and Portland came into May's game as the two hottest teams in MLS and in one of the most enthralling games of the season, drew 1-1 thanks to a Kenny Cooper PK
George John, Stephen Keel and Bobby Warshaw took you around the stadium to check out the annual Jimmy Buffett concert and tailgate.
We invited our academy to play inside the stadium for our first-annual Academy Day.
FC Dallas played in one of the most exciting games of the season in a 4-2 loss to Seattle Sounders FC.
The game featured one of the best goals in FCD history, a goal that was voted by the fans as the 2013 goal of the year.
In late May, three FCD players headed south to represent their respective national teams in huge World Cup Qualifiers.
Another FC Dallas player joined the FCD Century Club as George John made his 100th start for the club.
After a win at Fort Lauderdale in the third round, FCD was drawn at home against the Houston Dynamo in the fourth round and Crushed the Orange for the second time this season.
Late in June brought the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey and three FC Dallas players took the trip with Richard Sanchez representing Mexico while Kellyn Acosta and new Homegrown signing Danny Garcia represented the United States. Firstly, we caught up with Chris Seitz to recount his 2007 U-20 World Cup experience.
“When you look back and look at the team we had, we were stacked,” said Seitz. “I think it’s one of those things where a group of young guys got together and went out there with the attitude that we are as good as anyone and you can see what happened."
"Today is the start of the World Cup. Our first game isn't until tomorrow, Saturday, but I will be watching my teammates Danny Garcia and Kellyn Acosta take on Spain. Be sure to follow the U-20 World Cup. You wouldn't want to miss out on any good talent!"
June also brought the US Soccer Development Academy playoffs to Frisco and FCD U-18 Captain Marco Carrizales blogged for us throughout the week which ended in disappointment for the U-18s.
"I will always keep this place very close to my heart, and I am proud of my group this year. We gave it everything we had, and we left our lives out on the field. I can't complain about that."
Back to the first team, FCD extended their franchise-record home unbeaten streak to 13 games with a heart-stopping 2-2 draw with Sporting Kansas City.
“It’s like the beginning of the season, because everyone just keeps running. Everybody is fighting because in the locker room here we never give up.”
Back in the Open Cup, FCD crashed out in heartbreaking fashion falling 3-2 to Portland in a game that saw David Ferreira hit the post on the last kick of the match.
On July 4, we were pleased to welcome USWNT midfielder Tobin Heath to Frisco to scarf the Lamar Hunt Statue.
We also saw goalkeeper Raul Fernandez start for the MLS All-Stars against Italian giants AS Roma while FCD made one of their biggest signings of the season, adding midfield maestro Mauro Diaz from Argentine side River Plate.
Finally, one of the biggest soccer events to hit DFW in recent memory took place as AT&T Stadium hosted the Gold Cup semifinals. FC Dallas forward Blas Perez made all the headlines scoring in Panama's 2-1 upset of Mexico in front of over 75,000.
Today on Twitter, we received a fantastic picture from @RealGerm75 showing his Christmas tree decked out in FCD scarves and we're sure there's more of you out there raising your red during the holiday season so we thought we'd put together a little contest.
Over the next two days, send us your pictures and videos on Twitter and Instagram using #FCDChristmas showing us how you inject a little #DTID into your holiday season! Whether it's red and white hoops on your cookies, wearing your FCD jersey while having a family kickaround or showing us those great gifts you received from ShopFCDallas.com, submit your holiday pictures and videos to us using #FCDChristmas!
We'll put our favorite submissions into a Storify that will be featured on the FC Dallas website and one randomly selected submission(only one prize entry per account) will win four tickets to a 2014 FC Dallas home game!
Send us those pictures and show us how you raise your red during the holidays!
Best of FCDallas.com in 2013: March & April
FC Dallas burst out of the gates like never before in 2013 winning five out of our first nine games with just one loss.
The season opener, a 1-0 win over Colorado, wasn't the prettiest of wins but Jackson's opportunistic game-winner was good enough for three points.
“When I saw that the ball was bouncing I didn’t expect the mistake by the goalkeeper, but I was ready for it,” said Jackson via a translator after the match. “I still had to be careful though because it became too easy.”
After a head-scratching loss at Chivas USA, the all-important Texas Derby was next vs the hated Houston Dynamo. FCDTV kicked things up a notch with a hilarious new "Crush the Orange" video.
We took a look back at the history of the rivalry and how "El Capitan" the Civil War-era Howitzer cannon became the trophy for the game.
FC Dallas did end up Crushing the Orange with a late strike from Kenny Cooper in a thrilling 3-2 victory.
FCD scored another big win, this time 2-0 over Real Salt Lake, and an unbelievable play by Matt Hedges sealed the win.
“I tried tucking it away and then I saw [Hedges] coming in and blocking it,” said Sandoval. “I couldn’t believe it. I thought I had it.”
FCD's trip to New England to face the Revolution was spiced up by a pair of promo videos. New England fired the first salvo claiming that "Revs" could cure you from the FCD disease, but Dallas fired back as the Law Firm of Hooper & Hooper claimed that REVS or "Recycling Everyone's Video Segments" was dangerous to the country.
In the end, Dallas got the last laugh as Blas Perez, back from international duty, scored the late game-winner to send FCD top of the league.
“It’s a great group of guys from back to front,” said Cooper. “The team is playing really well with a lot of confidence. Obviously, it’s still early but hopefully we can keep this form going.”
FCD took advantage of what has become a yearly tradition in mid-April and held a team practice at Wescott Field at SMU.
“26 years here, I’ve worked and seen a lot of really good things happen,” Hyndman told FCDallas.com. “It’s great to be back."
FC Dallas made a major statement to the rest of the league with the LA Galaxy in town, defeating the star-studded team with a late header from George John.
“The more points you get early in the season the better,” said John. “In my first four years we got off to slow starts, a lot of ties, then at the end of the season you’re struggling for points - right now we're finishing off games and getting three points, so it's great.”
With the Whitecaps coming to town, FCDallas.com introduced the world to a new craze sweeping the nation - "Vancouvering"
Schellas Hyndman set a franchise record in late April with a 2-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps. Hyndman moved his record to 57-48-48 all-time good for 219 points, the most in franchise history.
“It’s obviously huge,” said Hunt Sports Group Vice President Dan Hunt. “He continues to win and continues to get results. I’m excited for Schellas, it’s a huge honor for a guy who has had a lot of success everywhere he goes and this is a unique team that can probably get him a lot more points. It’s a very special night for us all.”
That game also marked a new tradition on FCDallas.com with our social media recaps after home games.
In late April, we began our Century Club series in which we profiled different FCD players who made their 100th starts for the club in 2013. We started with Jair Benitez and a fascinating profile of the man known as "Chiguiro."
Things are going to be pretty slow at FCDallas.com over the next couple weeks as World Cup Way shuts down for the holidays before stepping full throttle on the gas as we barrel towards the 2014 season in the new years. With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to take a final look back at 2013 over the next couple of weeks and relive some of the great content churned out by the FCD digital team over the last year(or maybe it's just a cheap ploy to up our page view numbers in the final days of the year).
Either way, over the next couple weeks we'll take a stroll down memory lane.
2013 FCDallas.com Year in Review: Preseason
The country came to a stop in late December 2012 as the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting shocked us all. In an effort to help restore some normalcy to the community, the soccer world organized "Soccer Night in Newtown" and two FC Dallas players took part in the event. In addition, midfielder Bobby Warshaw wrote a fantastic blog about why he participated in the event.
In mid-January, FC Dallas made one of the biggest signings of the year, bringing in Peruvian national team goalkeeper Raul Fernandez to man the nets. The 27-year-old 'keeper came highly recommended from a former FCD fan favorite.
“[Sala] recommended this player and for the last two months we’ve been in touch,” Clavijo said. “We sent our goalkeeper coach out there to see him, talk to him and watch him train and everything checked positive."
On January 17, FCD selected Walker Zimmerman with their first round draft pick and Scott Brown caught up for him with a Q&A on draft day.
"I just want to get there and work hard and learn from my veteran teammates. I’m just going to try and make Dallas home and do my best to get on the field and to play well and do all I can."
2013 was a banner year for goalkeeper Chris Seitz and it all started with a solid preseason that earned praise from the coaching staff.
“This is probably the most fit I’ve seen him come in for preseason.”
The end of January was dominated by an on-again off-again transfer saga involving star winger Brek Shea. On January 29th, it looked like the deal had fallen through and Shea would be staying with FCD.
“I talked to Brek – we did everything we possibly could, it doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen,”
Then, just hours before the international transfer window closed on January 31, the deal was pushed through and Shea headed to EPL side Stoke City FC.
“This is one of those bittersweet situations,” FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman said. “We are very excited for Brek to take this important step in his career, but we’re also going to miss him here. This will be a good, fresh challenge for Brek, and we believe he is well-prepared and ready to make an impact for Stoke.”
FCD made one of the biggest splashes of the preseason in early February making a sensational double-signing of forwards Kenny Cooper and Eric Hassli.
"Kenny has long been a fan favorite here and we couldn’t be happier about welcoming him home to Dallas. Eric is an exciting player who we know our fans will enjoy watching."
From Mexico, it was on to the Rose City where FCD played three games in the Portland Preseason Tournament including a 1-0 win over the hosts through a Blas Perez goal.
FC Dallas announced another major move in what has been a busy first week of the official MLS offseason, sending the rights to veteran forward Kenny Cooper and allocation money to Seattle Sounders FC in exchange for 27-year-old midfielder Adam Moffat.
In acquiring Moffat, FCD signs a player who started 28 games last year between Houston and Seattle, as well as starting 13 MLS Cup playoff games over the past three seasons.
In addition to the experience the midfielder brings, FCD signs a player with one of the most thunderous shots in the league. Let's take a look at some of the best #MoffatRocket's from the past few years(ignore the orange, he's in a better place now).
Moffat scores on a wicked shot from inside the box at Chicago
Moffat rifles in volley from 25 yards out vs. Revolution
Moffat scores another trademark strike from outside the box in 2012 playoffs
Moffat long-range strike slips through Greunebaum's fingers
Moffat scores emphatic goal vs. FCD
Moffat MLS Cup assist
Moffat scores from way downtown in 2011
Come up to Toyota Stadium on Tuesday, Dec. 17 for our Holiday Open House!
We will have staff on hand from 2-7PM with merchandise specials up to 80% off, special contests and prizes headlined by your chance to win a Toyota Camry! We'll have both Santa Claus and Tex Hooper in the house from 5-7PM and throughout the day we'll have our Holiday Premier Pack on sale giving you the chance to get tickets to six of the hottest games at Toyota Stadium in 2014 for one low price!
Take one more trip up to Toyota Stadium in 2013 on Tuesday, Dec. 17 for our Holiday Open House!
While the offseason is a time for MLS players to rest and recouperate with pre-season just around the corner, it's still important for players to stay in shape and FC Dallas forward Blas Perez took that to another level last Sunday. Every December, the Panama marathon is held in and around Panama City and this year, for the first time, Blas ran the 21km half-marathon.
"It was a new experience for me as an athlete," said Perez from Panama.
While "Super Raton" is not necessarily known as a speed burner on the field, his time in the half-marathon of 2:00:57 - a little over 9:00 minutes per mile - is certainly a respectable one.
"I thought I did great, especially for it being the first time," said Blas "I want to give a big hug to everyone back in Dallas."
Over 2,000 runners competed in this 38th edition of the Panama Marathon and Blas(@SuperRaton7) took to Twitter after the race retweeting notes from his fans and pictures of himself from the race.
Mis respetos a todos los corredores de fondo/semi fondo, es un gran sacrificio los entrenamientos y luego la competencia un gran logro!
— Blas Pérez (@superraton7) December 1, 2013
(Thanks to David Sakata/Diario Pro for the photos)