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!
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.
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
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)
MLS is one game away from crowning a champion as Sporting KC hosts Real Salt Lake in MLS Cup 2013 and we want you to join us for our second annual MLS Cup watching party at The Allen Wickers Pub & Grill on Saturday, December 7.
Kickoff is set for 3:00PM and we'll have great prizes to give away at halftime including a Mauro Diaz-signed scarf, George John-signed FC Dallas tee, Allen Wickers gift cards and plenty more! We will also be hosting a soccer ball drive to support the FC Dallas Foundation Gear Up Project presented by Albertsons Market.
It's the last MLS game until our March 8 season-opener against Montreal so bring a new or used soccer ball and come out to Allen Wickers on Saturday, December 7 and help us crown a 2013 MLS Cup champion!
The 2014 FC Dallas schedule is out and have we got the ticket plan for you, just in time for the holidays!
With our FC Dallas Holiday Premier Pack, you get tickets to four of our biggest matches of the season. You'll have a seat to our opening day match on March 8 against the Montreal Impact, a battle against Clint Dempsey and the Sounders on Saturday, April 12, our perennialy sold out July 4 extravaganza vs. Philadelphia and the only visit of the LA Galaxy to Toyota Stadium on Sunday, October 12.
This is called the Premier Pack for a reason, however, and we're not stopping there. We're going to let you pick two more additional matches of your choice.
Perhaps you'd like to see Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls come to town plus a huge conference matchup against Oscar Pareja and the Colorado Rapids. Or maybe you'd like to go for a Cascadia double with Caleb Porter's Portland Timbers and the Vancouver Whitecaps. It's up to you!
That's right, tickets to the six biggest games of the season and it's all starting at just $96!
Skip the fruit cake this year and treat your family and friends to an FC Dallas Holiday Premier Pack because the season will be here before you know it!
Raul Fernandez has outlasted all 35 MLSsoccer.com Save of the Week winners with his week 19 stop against Gyasi Zardes and Los Angeles. Through your votes Raul has earned a spot in the Save of the Yeek championship round! He's up against some stiff competition so we need every one of your votes to get Raul the MLSsoccer.com Save of the Year!
In addition to our merch specials, look out for up to 60% off group ticket packages for 2014 that are only available on Friday morning at the team store!
Located in the Northeast corner of Toyota Stadium, the FC Dallas Team Shop is North Texas’ top location for fans to supply themselves with apparel and merchandise including all of the latest FCD products and the opportunity to personalize their official adidas Major League Soccer jerseys by printing names and numbers on the front and back.
Phone Number: 469-365-0260
Monday – Thursday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Game days: Opens at 2 p.m.
We've reached the final 16 of MLSsoccer.com's 2013 Latino del Año competition and two FC Dallas players have advanced past the group stage..
Placed in a tough group with Erick "Cubo" Torres, Fabian Espindola and Marvin Chavez, FCD goalkeeper Raul Fernandez advanced out of the group with over 70% of the vote and he's been placed against San Jose's Honduran defender Victor Bernardez. For obvious reasons, we can't let Bernardez win this matchup so vote in the poll and send Raul Fernandez to the final eight!
WATCH: Llave 7
Also in the final 16 is FC Dallas forward Blas Perez who has been matched up against Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Osvaldo Alonso. Blas vanquished Jairo Arrieta, Juninho and Javier Morales to win his group and advance as the top seed from group E.
WATCH: Llave 8
As you can see in the bracket above, should they both win, Blas and Raul would be matched up against each other in the final eight, guaranteeing an FCD player in the final four of the tournament so get to voting for our latin duo of Raul and Blas!
It's playoff time in MLS and all the action started last night as Seattle Sounders FC dropped the Colorado Rapids 1-0 to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals vs their rival Portland Timbers. Tonight the Houston Dynamo host Montreal in the Eastern Conference Wild Card game at 7:30PM on NBC Sports Network.
In all, the MLS Cup Playoffs feature 15 pulse-pounding games and earlier yesterday, MLS released the full playoff calendar culminating in MLS Cup on Saturday, December 7 at the stadium of the highest remaining MLS Cup Playoff seed. For fun, we polled a couple of the FCD players to give us their predictions on what's going to happen over the next six weeks and added our own picks as well.
Let us know in the comments what your predictions are and who you think will lift the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy.
Seattle vs. Colorado
(Wed. 10/30 @ 9:30 pm CT - NBCSN)
Houston vs. Montreal
(Thurs. 10/31 @ 7:30 pm CT - NBCSN)