Here at FC Dallas, a day doesn't go by that you don't hear Technical Director Fernando Clavijo's voice bellowing through the office.
Whether he's laughing about something, telling another legendary story or bemoaning another decision by those @#%$^ referees, Fernando is a part of the fiber here at Toyota Stadium. However, for the last couple months, Fernado has been noticeably absent.
It was revealed earlier this week in a touching note by his son Nico, that the 58-year-old Uruguayan has been battling bone marrow cancer Multiple Myeloma, a disease that has kept him in Houston for the past number of weeks.
However, Fernando, as we all knew he would, is kicking MM's butt and returned to the office recently with more vigor than ever before.
Everyone at FC Dallas couldn't be happier to have Fernando back as we push towards our first MLS Cup playoff appearance since 2011 and if you see Clavijo at the next game, be sure to stop and give him your words of support!
Scott and Daniel break down this weekend's match against the Chicago Fire:
It's hard to believe, but just nine games remain in the 2014 MLS regular season. Some teams have 11 games remaining in those nine weeks, but we're really getting down to the nitty gritty last two months and the good news is your FC Dallas is right in the thick of things!
Over the next couple months, we will do a weekly post tracking the playoff race seeing what happened the weekend before and what's up next.
1. Seattle Sounders FC
45 points(+10 GD) - 10 games remaining - Last match: 4-2 win at Portland - Next match: 8/30 vs Rapids - Last 5: W-D-L-W-L
The Sounders bounced back from a disappointing draw at home against San Jose to trounce their Cascadia opponents in Portland with a comprehensive 4-2 win. With the win, they broke a three-way tie at the top of the Western Conference. Seattle has a three point lead and a game in hand on both Real Salt Lake and FCD, but have a fairly tough schedule with six of their last ten against current playoff teams.
2. FC Dallas
42 points(+12 GD) - 9 games remaining - Last match: 2-1 win vs Real Salt Lake - Next match: 8/30 at Chicago - Last 5: W-W-W-W-D
FC Dallas has burst back to the top of the Western Conference having won four of their last five and six of their last seven. FCD hasn't lost since May 31 but face a trick test this weekend traveling to a Chicago side that has been very tough to beat this season with just six losses and 14 draws. A win in Saturday's game in Chicago would be huge for Dallas' hopes of finishing in the top three of a tight race.
3. Real Salt Lake
42 points(+9 GD) - 9 games remaining - Last match: 2-1 loss at FC Dallas - Next match: 8/30 at San Jose - Last 5: L-W-W-W-T
Real Salt Lake had a three-game winning streak halted by FC Dallas last weekend in Frisco, but still bring a solid 42 points to the playoff race. They've got two games left against both Chivas USA and San Jose, so there are definitely winnable games left on the schedule, but their match in San Jose will certainly be pivotal this weekend.
4. LA Galaxy
40 points(+15 GD) - 11 games remaining - Last match: 2-0 win vs Vancovuer - Next match: 8/27 vs DC United - Last 5: W-W-L-D-W
Los Angeles beat a listless Vancouver squad 2-0 at home on Saturday night and they have the inside track on the #1 seed at this point with more games left than anyone else. The big advantage that Los Angeles has is seven of their last 11 games are at the StubHub Center and tonight they have a huge match against DC United that, with a win, could propel them into second place in the Western Conference. FC Dallas has two remaining games left against LA that will prove vital.
5. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
33 points(+2 GD) - 10 games remaining - Last match: 2-0 loss at LA Galaxy - Next match: 8/30 vs Portland - Last 5: L-D-W-D-D
Vancouver has once again been a Jekyll and Hyde team, almost unbeatable at home but woefully poor on the road. Only six points from their last five matches is not enough to keep pace at the top of the west, opening a large gap between fourth and fifth, but they've got the biggest game of the season on Saturday when they'll host Portland.
6. Portland Timbers FC
31 points(-2 GD) - 9 games remaining - Last match: 4-2 loss vs Seattle - Next match: 8/30 at Vancouver - Last 5: L-D-W-L-W
It's looking like the hole that Portland dug early in the season will prove too much for them to pull out of. With Vancouver's two points and game in hand advantage, Portland really has to put all their chips into Saturday's game at Vancouver. According to Sports Club Stats, their playoff odds will go down to just 10% with a loss on Saturday, so it really is make or break right now for a Timbers squad that is also dealing with CONCACAF Champions League.
7. Colorado Rapids
30 points(-2 GD) - 9 games remaining - Last match: 4-3 loss vs LA - Next match: 8/30 at Seattle - Last 5: L-L-L-L-L
That last five matches. Ouch. Technically the Rapids are still in with a decent shout when you look at the point totals, just three points behind Vancouver, but in reality things are pretty bleak for the Rapids. Losses in their last five matches and the season-ending injury to Drew Moor has sent the club into a bit of a tailspin and a trip to Seattle this weekend means there will be no rest for the weary.
Here are the best pictures from FCD's 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake:
The FC Dallas defense had another solid showing on Friday night against Real Salt Lake. They were just minutes away from their second-straight shutout before allowing the late deflected goal to Olmes Garcia, but still held on for another great win.
Defender Zach Loyd, continuing his fantastic play this season, has earned his second MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week award in the last three weeks for his efforts against RSL!
SEGMENT 1: Co-host Steve Davis talks about soccer broadcasters, specifically about a few words and phrases they really should avoid. Among them: the false narrative of "better soccer back in the rough-tackling days."
SEGMENT 2: Steve got some time with United States and Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman, who is recently back from three World Cup starts.
SEGMENT 3: ESPN's Shaka Hislop helps us understand Tim Howard's choice to step away from international soccer for a year.
SEGMENT 4: ESPN's Adrian Healey talks Major League Soccer and Premier League, starting with Mario Balotelli's surprise move to Liverpool.
FC Dallas 01 ECNL forward Hollyn Torres is currently in Orlando, Florida, having been recently called up to the US U-14 Girls Training camp. Torres is one of 36 players called into the camp which runs through Saturday.
"Being called to the National Team means the world to me," said Torres. "It makes me feel like all my hard work and dedication is paying off."
Torres has been with FC Dallas for four years, since she was nine, and says her favorite part about being with FC Dallas is the quality coaching and first class facilities.
"By going to National Camp, I hope to learn and grow as a player," said Torres. "I also hope to represent Texas and my FC Dallas club well."
CHICAGO (August 18, 2014) – U.S. Under-14 Girls’ National Team head coach April Kater has called up 36 players for the second U.S. Under-14 Girls’ National Team training camp of the year which will run from August 23-30 in Orlando, Fla.
All the players invited were born in 2000 or 2001. The U-14 GNT is scheduled for one more training camp this year in November which should also feature 36 players.
U.S. U-14 Girls’ National Team Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (4): Katherine Asman (Concorde Fire; Roswell, Ga.), Mattison Interian (Arsenal; Pasadena, Calif.), Alyssa Minnick (Premier Soccer Club; Baltimore, Md.) Madison Murphy (FC Stars of Massachusetts; South Grafton, Mass.);
DEFENDERS (11): Addison Clark (Minnesota Thunder Academy; Plymouth, Minn.), Isabella Cook (Chicago Magic; Elmhurst, Ill.), Chai Cortez (Surf Hawaii; Wailuku, Hawaii), Sierra Enge (Carlsbad United; Cardiff, Calif.), Naomi Girma (Central Valley Crossfire; San Jose, Calif.), Emily Gray (Penn Fusion; Sewell, N.J.), Karlina Sample (Solar Chelsea; Frisco, Texas), Kailey Smith (West Coast FC; Lake Forest, Calif.), Skylar Smith (So Cal Blues; Coto De Caza, Calif.), Jillian Wachira (PDA; Plainsboro, N.J.), Kennedy Wesley (So Cal Blues; Rossmoor, Calif.);
MIDFIELDERS (10): Croix Bethune (Concorde Fire; Alpharetta, Ga.), Luisa Delgado Heinz (Real So Cal; Manhattan Beach, Calif.), Hannah Gallegos (Rio Rapids SC; Albuquerque, N.M.), Madison Mercado (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.), Alexandra Palangi (Santa Barbara SC; Arrayo Grande, Calif.), Brianna Pinto (CASL; Durham, N.C.), Mackenzie Pluck (FC Bucks; North Wales, Pa.), Jordan Taylor (Ohio Premier; Wadsworth, Ohio), Summer Yates (Pac NW; Pasco, Wash.), Sakura Yoshida (Crossfire United; Redmond, Wash.);
FORWARDS (11): Olufolasade Adamolekun (Lonestar SC; Spicewood, Texas), Erin Hohnstein (Colorado Rush; Broomfield, Colo.), Rebecca Jarrett (World Class F.C.; Washington Township, N.J.), Nikki Lee (De Anza Force; Hillsborough, Calif.), Catiana Lychywek (Solar Chelsea Elite; Plano, Texas), Amelia Paternoster (Gunners; Wall, N.J.), Nicole Payne (Concorde Fire; Birmingham, Ala.), Allison Schlegel (Colorado Storm; Parker, Colo.), Sophia Smith (Real Colorado; Fort Collins, Colo.), Hollyn Torres (FC Dallas Youth Premier; Frisco, Texas), Audrey Weiss (Colorado Rush; Greenwood Village, Colo.)
Hear from Oscar PAreja after FCD's 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake: