SEGMENT 1: Marc Stein checks in from Spain, lamenting his efforts to get into the Madrid derby -- which turned out to be a very tough ticket.
SEGMENT 2: Steve Davis talks to Gabriele Marcotti (from ESPN FC and The Times) about Champions League group play, which begins this week.
SEGMENT 3: A visit with Reuters' sports reporter Simon Evans. Evans is based in Miami, where David Beckham's plans to establish an MLS expansion team have met one immovable object after another.
SEGMENT 4: Steve Davis makes the case that Major League Soccer's two top performers of the moment are, ironically, about to retire; he's talking about Landon Donovan and Thierry Henry.
In case you haven't heard Blas Perez is coming off a pretty good week. Not only did the Panamanian forward score twice in the Copa Centroamericana while on international duty, but he also bagged a brace for FC Dallas in a 2-1 win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday to earn an MLS Player of the Week award.
Super Raton has a chance to win another award based on his stellar week as his first goal against Vancouver is nominated for AT&T MLS Goal of the Week. You can watch the video above to check out the "competition" if you want, but you might as well save yourself the time and just vote for Blas now.
Voting runs until 11:59 pm PT on Thursdays. For complete coverage of the AT&T MLS Goal of the Week — including an archive of all of this season's nominees and winners — click here.
Hear from Pareja, Michel & Hedges after Saturday's big win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC:
FC Dallas earned a critical 2-1 win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Toyota Stadium Saturday night. The first half highlights include a RIDICULOUS goal by Panamanian forward Blas Perez who just rejoined the club from national team duty. Seriously though, check out that goal:
Vancouver leveled the match in the second half when forward Erik Hurtado blasted a shot past Raul Fernandez on the counter attack. But Super Raton had the last word, tucking home a rebound off a free kick to earn himself a brace and three more points for FC Dallas:
FC Dallas is finally back home on Saturday night for our first home game of the fall against Vancouver Whitecaps FC pres. by Cricket Wireless. Here's everything you need to know before heading to Toyota Stadium on Saturday night:
1. Saturday's match is Hispanic Heritage night presented by Cricket Wireless at Toyota Stadium! Cricket wants to see your pictures at Saturday's game! Tweet your best selfie to @FCDallas @MiCricket with #cricketnation and your seat location. Some selfies will be featured on FC Dallas social media throughout the game.
2. Miss Texas USA Ylianna Guerra will be scarfing the Lamar Hunt Statue so be sure to arrive early for that ceremony around 7:00 on Lamar's Tailgate.
3. Saturday's an all-day affair as we head to downtown Dallas in the morning for the Dallas Heart Walk as a part of Team #BR19. We'll see you there!
4. It's also our fall College Night on Saturday night and all our DFW college students can score $12 endline tickets at the box office Saturday night by showing their student ID. We've already got hundreds of college students joining us for this fun night, so be sure to bring your student ID to Toyota Stadium!
5. Saturday's match has tons of playoff implications as FCD can take a huge step to qualifying for the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs with a win. Currently five points separate FCD and Vancouver. Check out our look at the playoff race.
6. While parking is always free for everyone at Toyota Stadium, our Toyota drivers out there can enjoy FREE upgraded parking in the Camry Gold Lot tonight. The Camry Gold Lot is directly NW of the stadium adjacent to the Dr. Pink field.
8. It's going to be a brilliant fall evening in Frisco as highs are expected in the mid 70's with clearing skies throughout the day setting the stage for what should be a gorgeous night. You might want to bring a light jacket or get one of our new FCD fall line jackets in the team store!
9. Saturday's game is set for a 7:30PM kickoff and will be broadcast in HD locally on TXA21 as well as 100.7FM(English) & 1270AM(Spanish).
10. We're looking at another really nice crowd for Saturday's match, but there are still tickets available by clicking here.
Scott and Daniel preview FCD's huge Western Conference battle this Saturday against Vancouver Whitecaps FC:
Tick...tick...tick...We're nearing the end of the 2014 MLS Regular Season! It's becoming more and more apparent that this is a six-horse race for five spots in the Western Conference. Here's the weekly look at the Western Conference playoff picture as the MLS week gets underway tonight:
1. Seattle Sounders FC
51 points(+13 GD) - 8 games remaining - Last match: 4-2 win at Chivas USA - Next match: 9/12 vs Real Salt Lake - Last 5: W-W-W-D-L
Three wins on the bounce for Seattle Sounders FC who easily dispatched a hapless Chivas USA side before enjoying the weekend off. A tough match at home against Real Salt Lake awaits Seattle who can put RSL pretty much permanently behind them in 2014 with a win.
2. LA Galaxy
50 points(+27 GD) - 7 games remaining - Last match: 2-2 draw at Montreal - Next match: 9/14 at San Jose - Last 5: W-D-W-W-W
A draw at lowly Montreal on Wednesday will be some dropped points the Galaxy will want to have back. A point behind Seattle with one more game played suggests the Sounders are still in the driving seat for Supporters Shield, but the teams still have a game left against each other. LA has a tough Cali Clasico on Sunday, a game in which Landon Donovan is suspended.
3. Real Salt Lake
46 points(+10 GD) - 7 games remaining - Last match: 2-1 win vs FC Dallas - Next match: 9/12 at Seattle - Last 5: W-T-L-W-W
Real Salt Lake scored a huge 2-1 win over our FC Dallas last weekend, a win that creates some daylight between them and FCD for that third playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Supporters Shield certainly isn't out of reach for Jeff Cassar's side, but they'll need a huge result in Seattle this weekend to keep those hopes alive.
4. FC Dallas
42 points(+10 GD) - 7 games remaining - Last match: 2-1 loss at Real Salt Lake - Next match: 9/13 vs Vancouver - Last 5: L-L-W-W-W
FCD lost their second consecutive road game at RSL last weekend, a result that likely ends Supporters Shield hopes. With RSL playing at Seattle and a favorable home matchup, however, that four point gap to third place could definitely be tightened this weekend. A win over Vancouver would all but clinch a playoff spot for
5. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
37 points(+1 GD) - 7 games remaining - Last match: 2-0 win vs San Jose - Next match: 9/13 at FC Dallas - Last 5: W-D-L-L-D
Vancouver finally broke their winless and scoreless streak in a much-needed 2-0 win at home against San Jose on Wednesday night. The Whitecaps are back above the dreaded red line, two points up on Portland with equal games played so the next seven games are going to be a dogfight.
6. Portland Timbers FC
35 points(+1 GD) - 7 games remaining - Last match: 3-3 draw vs San Jose - Next match: 9/13 at Colorado - Last 5: D-W-L-D-W
If you're a playoff team, you need to win that game at home against San Jose. All the hard work of their win at Vancouver what somewhat undone by this clunker of a result. With just three of their last seven at home and CONCACAF Champions League complicating the travel schedule, it's really going to be tough on Portland down the stretch. They need a win this weekend.
Note: We dropped the Rapids from playoff contention as their chances are now less than 5%. Sorry guys, the dream is over for 2014.
Three FCD players are currently out on international duty right now as Blas Perez is with Panama for the 2014 Copa Centroamericana, Je-Vaughn Watson joined Jamaica for an international friendly at Canada and Jesse Gonzalez plays with the Mexico U-20 National Team at an international tournament in China.
WATCH: Panama 2 Costa Rica 2
Blas Perez and Panama started their 2014 Copa Centroamericana on Sunday at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas and the man known as "Raton" had a great game for La Marea Roja, scoring and drawing a penalty in Panama's 2-2 draw. Panama had a 2-0 lead against the Ticos before conceding two late goals.
The Copa Centroamericana is a relatively complicated tournament, but we'll do our best to explain the situation as Panama heads into their final group stage game tonight in Houston against Nicaragua. Panama is in a three-team group with the winner advancing to the championship game, 2nd place advancing to the 3rd place match and 3rd place advancing to the fifth place match.
The winner of the Copa Centroamericana championship advances to the 2016 Copa America to be held in the United States, so there's certainly a huge prize on the line with that. The third place game is relatively meaningless as both teams will qualify for a 2015 Gold Cup while the winner of the fifth place game will qualify for the 2015 Gold Cup qualification playoff against a team from the Caribbean Cup.
Panama needs to beat Nicaragua tonight by more than three goals to qualify for the championship game. If they win 3-0, it will go to a coinflip. If they win 2-0 or 1-0 they'll qualify for the 3rd place game while if they lose they will make it to the fifth place game. Clear as mud right?
Je-Vaughn Watson joined up with a young Jamaica squad to face Canada at BMO Field in Toronto on Tuesday night.
The Reggae Boys fell 3-1 to the hosts in Canada's first win in over two years.
Watson played 90 minutes for Jamaica in midfield, but did not get on the score sheet.
The thing about good ideas is that once one is created, people are going to copy it.
Our friends up north in Vancouver had one of the best ideas of last season with their Whitecaps FC Fish Cam, in fact the idea was voted Best Social Media Activation of 2013 at the MLS year-end awards.
With the Whitecaps coming to Toyota Stadium for their only visit of 2014 on Saturday night, and the wild success of our Toad To Brazil 2014 World Cup live streams, we thought what better time than to try our hand at an FC Dallas Fish Cam!
Vancouver has visited Toyota Stadium four times since joining the league in 2011, earning exactly zero points from those four matches, so we thought we'd stream the audio from those four matches throughout the day on Wednesday to go with our little fishies swimming to their heart's delight.
But if listening to FCD victories at Toyota Stadium isn't enough for you, we want to get you in to Saturday's big game as we make our push towards the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Wednesday at 10:00AM, 12:00PM, 2:00PM & 4:00PM we will start our four home wins over Vancouver and insert a secret key word on the screen during a goal of each match. Be the first one to Tweet the secret key word @FCDallas using #FCDFishCam and you'll win a pair of tickets to Saturday's match plus a piece of FCD signed gear/! There's four games so that means four pairs of tickets to give away.
To help you out a little bit, here are the four match recap articles from our four wins over Vancouver Whitecaps FC:
October 15, 2011 - FC Dallas 2 Vancouver 0 Prize - 2 tix + an FCD Jumbo Scarf used on LH statue
September 15 2012, - FC Dallas 1 Vancouver 0 Prize - 2 tix + an FCD team-signed poster
April 20, 2013 - FC Dallas 2 Vancouver 0 Prize - 2 tix + an FCD signed Hispanic Heritage poster
September 7, 2013 - FC Dallas 3 Vancouver 1 Prize - 2 tix + a Mauro Diaz signed scarf
Happy watching and don't forget to look out for those key words!
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.