By Mohammad Bushnaq
So far this year, FC Dallas has sent out Jonathan Top (Arizona United SC) and Cobi Span (Orlando City SC) on loans to USL Pro in order to help both individuals gain more first team minutes. Both players have shown well since for themselves at their respective clubs since being loaned, with each boasting a game-winning goal.
Let's take a look at each player's progress since being sent out on loan:
Brian "Cobi" Span (loaned to Orlando City SC on April 2nd, 2014):
WATCH: Span scores winner
Since being loaned to Orlando City, Cobi has made one home appearance for the first team, but it was a big one. After not appearing in the match immediately following his loan to the team, Span made his first appearance for Orlando City in the 55th minute of a scoreless game vs. the Charleston Battery on April 12, 2014. It took Cobi 17 minutes to make an impact for his new team, finishing off a low cross at the back post for his debut goal in the 82nd minute. That goal would hold up, pushing Orlando City SC to the top of the USL Pro table.
Orlando City SC defeated the FC Dallas Reserves 3-2 last night at Toyota Stadium with Cobi starting the match, but failing to score. They'll next visit Oklahoma City Energy FC on Saturday April 26.
Jonathan Top (loaned to Arizona United SC on April 8th, 2014):
WATCH: Top wins it for AUSC
Jonathan Top wasted no time making his debut for Arizona United SC in the first match of their USL Pro campaign on April12. Unfortunately for Top, his team went down a man early in that match (vs. OKC Energy FC) and he was never really able to find his groove before being subbed out in the 59th minute. However, the next week was a different story.
On April 19, Arizona hosted Sacramento Republic FC. Jonathan Top played the full 90 minutes, successfully scoring the game-winning goal in front of the home crowd in the 85th minute. Top started the play with a through ball, made a run to the attacking third, and finished off the sequence with the decisive goal to give Arizona their first win of the season and first win in franchise history. Top's 90-minute goal-scoring effort was enough to earn him USL PRO Player of the Week!
Arizona United SC host LA Galaxy II on Friday April 25 before the Charlotte Eagles visit Peoria Sports Complex on Saturday May 3.
The undefeated FC Dallas Reserves will host future Major League Soccer side Orlando City Soccer Club at Toyota Stadium on Tuesday, April 22 at 7pm. Orlando City is playing out its final season in USL Pro before joining the MLS ranks in 2015.
FC Dallas forward Cobi Span (right, photo courtesy of Orlando City SC), who joined Orlando on loan on April 2, will be eligible to play against his FC Dallas teammates on Tuesday.
It's a unique situation for Span, who scored the game-winning goal in his OCSC debut on April 12 before being recalled by FC Dallas for a Reserve match against Oklahoma City Energy FC on April 15 in which he assisted on Andrew Jacobson's game-winning goal. But on Tuesday the young forward will be lining up against the players who were his teammates last week.
“I don’t know who is going to play exactly, but I’m going to know all the guys,” Span told OrlandoCitySoccer.com of playing against FC Dallas. “It’s a pretty big friendly match for me. It’s going to be fun playing against a team where you know everybody.”
Just as Span was recalled for last week's Reserve match, FC Dallas has recalled Homegrown forward Jonathan Top (right, photo courtesy of Arizona United SC) from his loan with USL Pro's Arizona United SC for Tuesday's game against Orlando City. Top returns to Frisco fresh off scoring the game-winning goal for Arizona United on Saturday night to help the new club to it's first win as a franchise.
The FC Dallas Reserves will kick off against Orlando City SC at 7pm on Tuesday night and parking and admission into Toyota Stadium will be FREE.
I always enjoy taking in the Reserve League matches and while timing one on the morning after we put our clocks ahead maybe made things a little sleepy, it was a fun morning at the Toyota Soccer Center as FC Dallas downed a very strong Montreal Impact side 2-0.
Without a doubt, the biggest positive of the match for me was seeing Stephen Keel back out on the field playing 90 minutes. The defender had a fantastic game and capped things off with a goal as well. I talked to him after the match for FCDallas.com in an article that also includes highlights from Sunday's match.
NEW YORK – Major League Soccer and USL PRO announced today a groundbreaking, multi-year partnership that will enhance the development of professional soccer players in North America, strengthen the competition in both leagues, and establish a solid foundation for future collaboration.
For 2013, the partnership will include interleague play between USL PRO and MLS Reserve League teams, and the establishment of several exclusive team affiliations. These initial programs will immediately improve professional player development in the United States and Canada. Additional technical and commercial initiatives between the two leagues will be announced as they are finalized in the coming months.
“This partnership represents the first step in a long-term alliance between MLS and USL PRO to connect domestic professional soccer through a system that benefits player development, competition and the overall business of our sport ,” MLS Executive Vice President of Player Relations & Competition Todd Durbin said. “Over the past several years, USL PRO has made great strides in restructuring their league in a manner that serves to complement the objectives of MLS. This is a win-win for all involved, and it demonstrates our strong commitment to growing North American professional soccer at all levels.”
Each club affiliation will be customized to meet the needs of the respective teams, but all will include at least four players on long-term loan from the MLS parent club to its USL PRO affiliate. Those MLS teams with formal USL PRO affiliates will not participate in the 2013 MLS Reserve League. Neither MLS nor USL PRO clubs are required to enter into an affiliation, and specific affiliations will be announced in the coming days.
Each of the 13 USL PRO teams will compete in two interleague games against MLS Reserve teams. With the exception of Antigua, which will play both of its games at MLS Reserve teams, USL PRO teams have been paired with a single MLS team to play a home and home series. All interleague games will count in both the official USL PRO and MLS Reserve League standings. Details of the fixtures will be announced in conjunction with the forthcoming release of the official 2013 USL PRO schedule.
“USL PRO has for the past several years been the most sophisticated and competitive professional soccer league under MLS,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said. “This new partnership with MLS will elevate and strengthen the level of competition for domestic professional soccer while simultaneously creating a more sustainable financial model for team owners. As a result, we expect this partnership will forge a seamless system for the development of players and coaches, and promote the expansion of professional soccer into new North American markets.”
MLS RESERVE LEAGUE
The MLS Reserve League provides meaningful competition for players who are not regulars in the first team’s matches such as young players, players returning from injury, and youth development products. Each of the 19 MLS clubs will field either a Reserve Team or establish an affiliation with a USL PRO club. After fielding reserve sides from 2005 through 2008, Major League Soccer re-launched its Reserve League in 2011, providing essential development opportunities to players. In 2013, the conference alignment and the schedule for the MLS Reserve League will be announced in the coming weeks.
USL PRO is the strongest, best operated and most experienced North American men’s professional soccer league below MLS, both on and off the field. Focused on franchise stability and longevity, USL PRO will feature 13 teams participating in the 2013 season, including expansion teams in Phoenix and Tampa. The league is focused on aggressive but deliberate growth by adding teams fully capable of meeting USL and US Soccer standards, which are located in markets that further promote regional league play. In addition to league play, USL PRO teams will compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as various domestic and international exhibitions. USL PRO is the longest-standing pro league affiliate member of US Soccer.
The FC Dallas Reserves play their final match of 2012 on Wednesday morning when they host the Chicago Fire Reserves. The two sides will meet at 10 a.m. at the adidas Training Field at the Complex at FC Dallas Stadium.
FC Dallas (5-2-1, 16 points) can claim sole possession of first place in the Central/Mountain division with a win over Chicago (4-4-0, 12 points). FCD dropped a match against the Fire Reserves last month, 2-1, in Chicago.
Wednesday's match is open to the public.
The FC Dallas Reserves return to the pitch tonight against the Sporting Kansas City Reserves at 7:30 p.m. FC Dallas fans are invited to watch the match at Field No. 4 at the Complex at FC Dallas Stadium.
FCD faced Sporting KC back in May when the two teams battled to a 2-2 draw in Kansas City.
FCD is currently 4-3-1 (13 pts) in Reserve League play, placing them in third place in the the Central/Mountain Division.