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:
All the best action from FC Dallas' narrow 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium:
Head coach Oscar Pareja and rookie forward Tesho Akindele talk about FCD's upcoming match against 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.
We're in the first days of a new month and that means it's time to unveil the latest edition in our 2014 Scarf of the Month series. September's scarf pays tribute to Hispanic Heritage Month as we recognize and celebrate the contributions made by the Latin American community to the United States. Our September Scarf of the Month reflects the Latin culture with its intricate design and white fringe.
Septiembre representa el Mes de la Herencia Hispana, al reconocer y celebrar las contribuciones que ha hecho la comunidad Latinoamericana en los Estados Unidos. Nuestra Bufanda del mes de Septiembre refleja la cultura Latinoamericana a través de su intricado diseño y una franja blanca. Asegura la tuya antes de que se agoten!
Remember, there's a limited inventory for every Scarf of the Month, so get yours today before they're sold out!
Here are the best photos from Saturday's loss to Chicago:
Match highlights from FCD's 1-0 road loss to the Chicago Fire: