The MLS Playoffs start tonight with the Eastern Conference Wild Card match between Chicago and Houston (8 p.m. CT on ESPN2). Each round we will give you the FCDallas.com staff picks & let you the fans vote on who you think will win.
Scott Brown - Chicago 2, Houston 0
Robert Casner - Chicago 2, Houston 1
Mark Norris - Chicago 1, Houston 0
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 U-14 Pre Academy team coached by Francisco Molina claimed the U.S. Club National Premier Leagues Champions Cup in Waukegan, Ill. on July 31. A national tournament open to all of the regional premier league champions, FC Dallas U-14s advanced to the competition by winning the Texas Pre Academy League’s U-14 division with an undefeated record of 16-0-5.
The U-14s opened the tournament with a 2-0 win over South Carolina United Battery on Friday, July 27. Goals were scored by Weston McKennie, who scored 10 goals in the regular season, and leading scorer Christian Ramirez, who tallied 19 goals to lead the U-14s during the regular season.
The next day FC Dallas faced HBC Fusion of New York. Richard Tapia and Bernie ZuaZua scored in that game to give the U-14 side its second straight 2-0 win. The team's final group stage match was a must-win against the Chicago Fire. Ramirez came through in the match, putting away a cross from teammate Eric Davies to give FC Dallas a 1-0 win and a spot in the semifinals.
FCD met DMS of California in the semifinals on the morning of Monday, July 30. After 70 minutes of scoreless regulation time, the sides played two 10 minute overtime periods. The breakthrough came in the second overtime when Ramirez scored his third goal of the tournament off a ZuaZua corner kick to give FC Dallas a late 1-0 lead. Minutes later Delfino Garcia put a shot on goal that the DMS 'keeper deflected, but Tapia pounced on the rebound to put the game away with a 2-0 win.
FC Dallas faced the New York Red Bulls in the championship game on Tuesday, July 31. New York dominated large portions of the match, but the Dallas defense held strong to maintain a scoreless match through regulation. Early in the first overtime period, FC Dallas established possession and strung together a series of passes that ended with Jessi Najera playing a through ball to Tapia. Being chased by two Red Bulls defenders, Tapia didn't hesitate to pull the trigger on a shot that beat the New York goalkeeper to give FCD the 1-0 lead in overtime. After some stellar defending in the dying minutes, FC Dallas won the match with yet another shutout to claim the championship.
After an undefeated season that started in Sptember of 2011, the U-14s won five games in five consecutive days without allowing a goal against and outscored their opponents 8-0 to win the national title.
Christian Ramirez - 3
Richard Tapia - 3
Bernie ZuaZua - 1
Weston McKennie - 1
Match Highlights from FCD's 2-1 road loss to the Chicago Fire.
GOAL: Rookie defender Matt Hedges scores the first goal of his MLS career.
GOAL: Sebastian Grazzini strikes from distance to tie the match for the Fire.
SAVE: Sean Johnson denies Blas Perez's attempt from the spot.
GOAL: Marco Pappa follows up Grazzini's PK shot to give Chicago the lead.
MISS: Daniel Hernandez goes just high on his long-range attempt.