We're excited to show you a new feature coming to FCDallas.com & Toyota Stadium pre-game each week, our Keys to the Match driven by Toyota.
Each week, Scott Brown and I will break down the biggest keys to each match and we started this week with Montreal. We talk about the impact(no pun intended) of Di Vaio's absence, the importance of defensive cohesion and jumping on Montreal early.
A new video element you'll see on FCDallas.com and our YouTube page this year will be quick hit video bites previewing the upcoming match with FCD players.
Our first quick hits segement comes from new team captain Andrew Jacobson looking ahead to tomorrow's big match vs Montreal.
You know the season is here when Drew Epperley's "Know Your Enemy" pieces are back on Friday before matchdays. Today, Drew takes a look at the Montreal Impact who have a new coach in Frank Klopas and a new, but familiar name in Heath Pearce.
ESPNFC's Taylor Twellman & Alexi Lalas, AKA Big Head Red Head, are doing a series of MLS team previews which I highly recommend. Today they're breaking down FC Dallas. You've got to love Alexi's prediction of "I predict FC Dallas will win a playoff game before the Dallas Cowboys."
Thank you for joining us for #DigitalTuesday! Leave your question now and join us at 3PM as FC Dallas Head Coach Oscar Pareja joins us on FCDallas.com.
As you can see, we have a new look to the blog section of the FC Dallas website that we're launching in conjunction with #DigitalTuesday called Red Alert.
Anyone who knew me before I joined FC Dallas, knows that I got my start in the writing world by starting "Big D Soccer" a blog dedicated to FCD and ever since I became a full time contributor to the website I've been wanting to have a dedicated blog on FCDallas.com where the voice can be a little more casual. A place for the hardcore fan.
As happens in just about every line of work, it took a little while to get everything together, but today myself and FCDallas.com Managing Editor Scott Brown are extremely excited to launch Red Alert.
So how is this going to be different than what we have now? Expect a lot more updates from us, but in smaller bits. We're going to have links, analysis, pictures, polls, lots of social interaction and since it's called the Red Alert, you'll never miss a piece of FC Dallas content as I'll post links to every piece of FCDallas.com content on the Red Alert. Think of this as your FCD news stream keeping you updated on everything happening within the club.
I'm excited to see what this will turn into so thanks for reading and be sure to bookmark the Red Alert!
SEGMENT 1: The last Soccer Today of 2013 starts with Stein and Steve reflecting on all the big stories from the footy year that was to cap an eventful 12 months in American soccer especially.
SEGMENT 2: The audience gets a chance to join in as the boys -- as promised -- scroll through the boldest footy predictions for 2014 tweeted in by listeners.
SEGMENT 3: With technical difficulties disrupting plans to catch up with U.S. Soccer men's player of the year Jozy Altidore, Stein and Steve carry on as best they can with a chat about Jozy and his AZ Alkmaar heir Aron Johansson.
SEGMENT 4: ESPN FC's Craig Burley, former Chelsea and Scotland midfielder, dials in at halftime of the Chelsea-Liverpool match at Stamford Bridge to help us assess the Premiership exactly halfway through the 38-game season.
We haven't crowned a 2013 champion yet, but for FC Dallas fans, today is the day that focus turns to next season as we unveil the full 2014 schedule. Here are a few highlights:
Spring into soccer
You're going to have a bunch of opportunities to see FCD at home early in the year. Five of the first seven games in 2014 are at home. In addition, the first two games away from Toyota Stadium are road-trippable affairs at Sporting Kansas City and Houston, so for die-hard FC Dallas fans, catching the first seven games of the year is a realistic proposition.
Saturday nights in Frisco
Whatever plans you have for Saturday nights from March through October, you might want to adjust them. 12 of the 17 home games in 2014 are Saturday night affairs including five of the first seven games. Also returning in 2014 are the popular 8:00PM kickoffs during the summer.
Friday night's alright for soccer
One interesting feature of the 2014 schedule is the appearance of two Friday night kickoffs. FCD has only played two Friday games in the history of Toyota Stadium with one of those coming on the traditional Fourth of July game. One of the two Friday night games this year will be the July 4 game against the Philadelphia Union while on Friday, August 22, Dallas will host Real Salt Lake.
Only twice this year will FCD have the much-maligned three match weeks and both of them fall in an incredibly busy month of May. Dallas will play seven games in all through the month of May with grueling three-match weeks on May 4-10 and May 17-24.
Western Conference showdown
In an effort to enhance the run in to the playoffs, MLS has backloaded the schedules with intra-conference matchups. 13 of the final 14 matches of the season will pit FCD against Western Conference foes including two matches against both Los Angeles and Vancouver in the final two months of the season.
World Cup break
As we did in 2010, Major League Soccer will be shutting down for two weeks during the 2014 FIFA World Cup group stage. FC Dallas will not take the field between Wednesday, June 11's match at Portland and Saturday, June 28's match in Columbus. In addition, FCD will not hit the Toyota Stadium field in MLS action for almost a month between June 7 and July 4, though a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup game or two could hit Frisco during that month.
So who's ready to kick off the season?
Segment 1: Stein and Steve reflect on a wild final night in World Cup qualifying in CONCACAF, which saw mighty Mexico come perilously close to elimination from soccer's grand stage next summer before being rescued by two late goals in Panama from their old friends south of the border.
Segment 2: American star Landon Donovan says he's not sure Mexico, if the roles were reversed, would have tried so hard to win a game in extra time if it meant helping the United States qualify for the World Cup. Is Landon right? Should the Americans have let Panama close out a 2-1 victory that would have eliminated Mexico? The boys discuss.
Segment 3: The one and only Andres Cantor, fresh off calling Costa Rica's 2-1 victory over Mexico for Telemundo, joins the guys to talk about the state of Mexico's chaos-ridden team after its great Hex escape and yet another coaching change headed into next month's two-legged World Cup playoff with New Zealand.
Segment 4: Clint Dempsey is still looking for his first goal as a Seattle Sounder, but the proud Texan was kind enough to sit down and touch on a number of hot topics after a 2-0 defeat to FC Dallas that threatens to knock Seattle out of the playoffs. The highlights of that conversation are all here.
After beating the New England Revolution, 1-0, on Saturday, FC Dallas has climbed two more spots in MLSsoccer.com's Power Rankings to the fifth spot. The club has been ranked as low as 15th in the league's power rankings after the loss to Chivas USA in Week 2, but since FC Dallas has made its run to the top of the league standings the team has moved up 10 spots.
You can see the full MLSsoccer.com Power Rankings here.
Other sites have FC Dallas ranked higher. Sport's Illustrated ranked FCD fourth, while Bleacher Report put the club in second place and Yahoo! Sports and ESPN FC both have FC Dallas ranked as number one.
What do you think? Where should FC Dallas be in the MLS Power Rankings?