The first big step towards the 2015 season takes place today as MLS holds the Chivas USA Dispersal Draft. Through a bit of good fortune, FC Dallas holds the top spot meaning we have first choice at Chivas USA players(minus Erick Torres). MLSsoccer.com has an excellent look at the Chivas USA roster, so be sure to take a look at that as well before today's 3:00PM central time draft held by private conference call.
Let's take a look at the different directions Oscar Pareja, Fernando Clavijo and the FCD technical staff can go with this one.
The best player
There's a train of thought in sports that in any draft you take the best player available regardless of position and there's certainly plenty of merit in that line of thinking. You assemble a squad with the best collection of talent and work the pieces out later because something ALWAYS goes wrong(though Oscar Pareja seems to always turn these into positives).
If you go with the best player theory, then the choice is very likely to be Dan Kennedy. Still just 32 years old, relatively young for a goalkeeper, Kennedy has been the face of Chivas USA for the past half-decade. The all-time leader in appearances for the franchise, the UCSB graduate has missed only eight games in the past four seasons and has averaged over six shutouts a season in that time span.
Yes, FC Dallas already has two starting-level goalkeepers and a strong future prospect in Jesse Gonzalez, but adding someone as talented as Kennedy gives you a lot of options going forward with a long time between now and March 2015 to work everything out.
Oscar Pareja has shown with his quotes and actions that he's not afraid to play young players and it's something he embraces. If FCD wants to add yet another young hotshot to the roster, then Chivas USA has some nice ones to choose from. Midfielder Marco Delgado is still just 19 and has already amassed 37 appearances in MLS including three goals, one of which was scored at Toyota Stadium this year.
There are certainly red flags with Delgado as he has the dreaded "no defined postion" label on him and underwent season-ending knee surgery in September, but he's still a US U-20 mainstay and a hugely talented player.
Another young and interesting prospect is forward Caleb Calvert. The 6-2 California native dominated the US Soccer Development Academy earning a Homegrown contract with Chivas USA. He just turned 18 and has a very bright future if FCD wants to go that route.
The proven commodities
Despite their record, though it wasn't as bad as some may think, Chivas USA certainly has some nice, solid veterans that could help any MLS team. FC Dallas fans will be very familiar with winger Marvin Chavez who had a fantastic run with the team through the 2010 MLS Cup season, and you'd think he could still certainly play a role with the team who utilizes their wingers more than most.
If FC Dallas is looking for a backup to Mauro Diaz, Martin Rivero isn't a bad place to look. The 25-year-old Argentine was brought to MLS in Oscar Pareja's first season in Colorado so there's certainly a familiarity there, and he's been up and down in MLS but did have eight assists in that first season. He's coming off an ACL tear in July, but at 25 there's certainly plenty of talent left in those legs.
FCD could upgrade their defensive depth by adding Bobby Burling, a 30-year-old center back with over 100 MLS games to his name. He likely wouldn't unseat any of FCD's incumbent center backs, but could add some solid, veteran depth to the back line.
The wild cards
There's two offensive names that intrigue me on Chivas USA. Argentine winger Leandro Barrera is the first one. Just 23 years old, Barrera can play anywhere up and down the left side of the field and he brings a speedy spark off the bench that Oscar Pareja would love. He played over 2,000 minutes with Chivas USA this year, joining them from the Argentine First Division and certainly had some bright moments on a team that really struggled for offense. Put him in with this FC Dallas team and you could see him doing very well.
The other interesting name is Tommy McNamara. The name on everyone's lips for rookie of the year through the first month of the season, McNamara started the first six games of his rookie year before tearing his ACL. He was extremely active as a withdrawn forward/attacking midfielder, scored a goal on his MLS debut and was a player everyone was talking about before his injury. Only 23 years old, he's a player that could end up being a steal for someone....and that haircut, yes.
Aaron Griffin and FCDTV bring you the best video of every year, the 2014 All FC Dallas MLS Goals video:
SEGMENT 1: Show hosts Marc Stein and Steve Davis talk about last week's U.S. national team match in London, a 2-1 loss to Colombia, and look ahead to this week's contest against Ireland in Dublin.
SEGMENT 2: A chat with Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl, the dean of American soccer writers. Topics include the increasing tension between Jurgen Klinsmann and Major League Soccer.
SEGMENT 3: ESPN's Ian Darke, the game's preeminent broadcast voice here, talks about the current U.S. roster and about qualifying for the European Championships.
SEGMENT 4: A visit with U.S. midfielder Mix Diskerud, who addresses last week's match, talks about his preferred position on the field and jokes with the hosts about the tradition of scoring after a Soccer Today appearance.
The 2014 MLS season is over for FC Dallas, but some players are still playing in 2014 as we go through the final international window of the year.
Je-Vaughn and Reggae Boyz Advance
Je-Vaughn Watson and Jamaica had a busy week hosting the finals of the 2014 Carribean Cup.
After missing the first of three games, Je-Vaughn went 90 minutes in Jamaica's 2-0 win over Antigua & Barbuda on Friday night. The win set up a crucial match with Haiti on Sunday night in Montego Bay in which the winner would advance to the 2014 Carribean Cup Championship.
Je-Vaughn was once again in the starting lineup as Jamaica defeated Haiti 2-0 to set up a championship match against rivals Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday.
Having finished in the top four, Jamaica has automatically qualified for next year's CONCACAF Gold Cup and the winner of Tuesday's match will earn a spot in the 2016 Copa America Centenario to be held in the United States.
Acosta captains US U-20s in win vs Ireland
WATCH: US U20 1, IRE U20 0
As you can see from the highlights, Kellyn was very active in the match playing in central midfield and had two nice scoring chances.
The US U-20s will wrap up their week in Spain on Tuesday in a friendly against the Canadian U-20 national team.
CONCACAF U-20 World Cup Qualifying starts in February for the US U-20's.
Raul Fernandez did not feature in goal in Peru's 2-1 loss to Paraguay, but he figures to play in Tuesday's return fixture between the two teams in Lima.
The FC Dallas U-18 and U-16 teams played their last competitive fixtures of 2014 before the Winter Showcase over the last couple weekends at the Toyota Soccer Center while the U-15s and U-13s continued their strong starts to the season, here's a recap of recent results:
November 15 vs Andromeda
Andromeda U-18: 0
FC Dallas U-18s bounced back from their loss to Dallas Texans with a big win over Andromeda on Saturday afternoon. Francisco Molina's team have five different goal scorers in the win with Santiago Agudelo, Weston McKinnie and Sadaq Mohamud scoring in the first half while Oscar Romero and Aaron Meyer scored in the second half.
FCD U-18 heads into the Winter Showcase at the end of November with a 6-2-0 record scoring 25 goals and allowing 12.
Andromeda U-16: 1
The FCD U-16s continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 3-1 win over Andromeda. Connor Presley scored just before halftime to equalize the match 1-1 at halftime. Wingers Devin Vega and Toshiki Yasuda found goals in the second half to move the FCD U-16s to 7-0-1 on the season.
Andromeda: U-15: 1
Javier Barajas & Paxton Pomykal scored for the FCD U-15s who are an incredible 6-0-0 with 30 goals scored and just 3 allowed this season. Prior to this match, Andromeda U-15s were 4-0-1 so this was certainly a solid win for the U-15s.
Andromeda U-14: 0
The FCD U-14s scored their biggest win of the season defeating Andromeda 7-0. Bryan Reynolds and Adriel Serrano scored twice while Eric Romero, Dylan Kline and Imanol Almaguer also found goals in the win.
Andromeda U-13: 0
The FCD U-13's scored a 1-0 win to move to 2-2-1 on the season.
November 9 vs Dallas Texans
Dallas Texans U-18: 3
The FCD U-18s suffered a tough defeat to Dallas Texans last week dropping a 3-2 result after leading 2-0 at halftime. Oscar Romero and Antonio Aguilar gave FCD a 2-0 halftime lead, but three goals in a 20-minute span in the second half earned Texans a huge win.
Dallas Texans U-16: 0
The FCD U-16s drew their first game of the season against Texans holding the majority of possession, but unable to find a breakthrough goal. This was their third shutout in a row.
Dallas Texans U-15: 1
Jommar Reyes, Simeon Salazar, Carlos Molina 2, Javier Barajas 3. Javier Barajas scored a hat trick in the win while Carlos Molina added two and Jommar Reyes and Simeon Salazar had the other strikes.
Dallas Texans U-14: 3
Jose Carlos Garcia scored in the U-14 defeat.
Dallas Texans U-13: 1
The FCD U-13's scored a 3-1 win to move to 1-2-1 on the season.
After exiting a playoff series they didn't lose a game in, perhaps FCD's luck is turning around.
Despite having some of the worst odds among any team, FC Dallas won the first overall pick in next week's Chivas USA dispersal draft meaning Oscar Pareja & FCD will have the first pick of Chivas USA players.
This article from MLS has all the details, but whoever FC Dallas picks(if they choose anyone), must be added at their full 2015 contract budget charge, and dispersal draft picks can not be traded, though FCD could trade whoever they pick at a later date.
The Chivas USA Dispersal Draft will be held via private conference call on Wednesday, November 19th and it's important to note that every Chivas USA player is available except for Eriq Zavaleta who was on loan from Seattle Sounders FC, and Erick Torres who, if he returns to MLS, will be allocated at a later date. There is also the interesting case of Eric Avila who has reportedly been sold to Santos Laguna of Liga MX.
Who should FC Dallas go after? There are certainly some interesting options and MLSsoccer.com's Matthew Doyle has his thoughts on the matter here.
Who would you take from Chivas USA to add to the FCD roster?
We've had some time to process things and it's time to come to the sad realization that the 2014 season is over. It was an incredible season, but it has sadly come to an end.
Fear not, however! Planning and roster building for the 2015 season begins almost immediately. Here's a rundown of what to expect over the next six weeks as we head towards 2015:
NCAA College Scouting - Now through December 12
It's the business end of the college soccer season as conference tournaments take place across the country this weekend before the NCAA tournament. Not only will the FCD coaching staff be looking at players they could potentially select in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, but they'll also have an eye on potential future FC Dallas Homegrown signings like Boyd Okwuono at North Carolina and Mikey Ambrose at Maryland. Stay tuned as we'll have plenty of info coming up in the next couple days on how our academy alumni are doing as NCAA soccer hits tournament time.
Chivas USA Dispersal Draft - Wednesday, November 19
Sadly, Chivas USA is no more in MLS and while LAFC will be taking their place in a few years, the task to allocate Chivas USA's players will be settled next Wednesday with a dispersal draft. CLICK HERE to read the full information on the draft. We will know the order on Friday and there is certainly a chance that FCD could add a player through this mechanism. It is important to note that any player added must have his 2015 contract option exercised, so it is doubtful that too many players will be selected, but given the fact that Chivas USA had 11 players age 23 or younger on their roster, there is certainly a chance FCD adds one of Chivas USA's former players.
MLS Cup Final - Sunday, December 7
Yeah, yeah I know it's a little tougher to watch when FCD could easily be in it, but c'mon it's the league's championship game. Will Landon Donovan go out on top? Can New England, New York or Seattle achieve their first championship in league history?
Half-day Trade window - Monday, December 8
Immediately after the season ends, the wheeling and dealing begins. MLS is opening a half-day trade window on Monday, December 8 for teams to make moves before the Expansion Draft. You wouldn't expect much but could see trades made with NYCFC or Orlando City before the Expansion Draft.
MLS Expansion Draft - Wednesday, December 10
This is a big one. With New York City FC & Orlando City FC coming into the league in 2015, that means one of the dreaded expansion drafts. We will discuss the rules in much more detail as we get closer to the date, but teams are allowed to protect 11 players plus their Homegrowns and can lose as many as one player to each team.
That's the FC Dallas radar from now until the end of the year. There is also the MLS Draft Combine and MLS Superdraft on January 15 before preseason 2015 gets going in late January. It'll be here before you know it!
Here are the best photos from Monday's playoff finale against Seattle courtesy of USA Today Sports Images:
Here are your match highlights from tonight's heartbreaking goalless draw in Seattle that ends FCD's season:
SEGMENT 1: Show hosts Marc Stein and Steve Davis talk about Thierry Henry and Landon Donovan, two figures who are moving toward retirement but still dominant in Major League Soccer's playoffs.
SEGMENT 2: ESPN FC's Craig Burley joins Stein and Davis to talk about Premier League matters, including an assessment of Stein's beloved Manchester City.
SEGMENT 3: A chat with TV personality Jimmy Conrad, who discusses the MLS playoff structure, a desire to see Andrea Pirlo in the league and much more.
SEGMENT 4: Mark and Steve talk about the U.S. national team's upcoming matches and Jurgen Klinsmann's possible selections; both hosts hope to see New England's Lee Nguyen as the Americans line up against Colombia on Friday in West London.