FC Dallas looks to go 2-0 on Saturday night when they host Sporting Kansas City at Toyota Stadium. Get ready for kickoff with our Keys to the Match presented by Toyota. Unfortunately, the FINAL Keys to the Match for Scott Brown as he rides off into the sunset.
The season is back! FCD kicks things off on Saturday night against San Jose and we've got you covered with FCDTV's Keys to the Match driven by Toyota
We've finally reached the final preseason game of 2015 as we sit just a week away from the huge season opener at Toyota Stadium against San Jose on March 7th!
There's still one more important matter, however, as FC Dallas looks to take down the reigning NASL Champions in the second-straight year the teams meet up in the final preseason match.
FC Dallas is 2-2-1 in five preseason matches with last Friday's 3-1 win over DC United still fresh in everyone's mind. Here are three things to watch for on Saturday night and be sure to head to FCDallas.com tomorrow night at 7:00PM to catch all the action from San Antonio.
Barrios' first game
One of the really interesting aspects to Saturday's friendly will be a first chance to see new signing Michael Barrios in his first action with FCD. The speedy winger joined the team for his first practices this week and Oscar Pareja has said he expects him to play a part in Saturday's game.
The duo of Michael Barrios and Fabian Castillo would surely be the fastest pair of wingers in the league and we could see that speed unleashed for the first time on Saturday night.
Loyd back in the mix
Zach Loyd and Matt Hedges provided one of the best center back combinations in the league through the second half of the 2014 season, but the pair hasn't had a lot of time to work together in the 2015 preseason as Loyd has had to sit much of it out with a minor injury. Zach was back in training this week and could end up playing a part in Saturday's game. It's certainly something to watch as significant minutes for Loyd would certainly suggest he's 100% to go for next Saturday's season opener.
The battle for Texas
Last season, FC Dallas locked down the hypothetical Texas championship belt defeating the Houston Dynamo in MLS and LHUSOC play while drawing San Antonio in preseason and also defeating them in LHUSOC play. While Dallas didn't get a chance to play Austin Aztex in the preseason tournament, Saturday's game is a chance to win yet another game against Texan opposition. Which is always important. #KingsOfTexas
The season is nearly upon us and Friday night at Toyota Stadium, you'll get your first chance to see FC Dallas live and in person as we face DC United in the penultimate preseason match before things get started in full against San Jose. The match kicks off at 7:30PM and general admission tickets are just $10 and available right here.
Here are a few things to watch for in Friday's preseason match:
At this point, head coach Oscar Pareja is probably very close to set on his opening day lineup and Friday's match will give us a huge clue as to which 11 players will be suiting up on March seventh. In Austin, Pareja played a basically full strength lineup for the first hour of the match and indicated after practice on Thursday that he would have the same strategy on Friday against DC.
Keep an eye out on who starts across the back line as well as who starts in goal. Also, that right midfield position is certainly open, and it will be interesting to see whether Tesho Akindele or Ryan Hollingshead gets the nod on Friday night.
Speaking of Ryan Hollingshead, he's certainly been one of the best performers in preseason so far, earning starts in both preseason matches in Austin while scoring two goals in the 3-1 victory over Columbus.
With the right midfield spot open for battle among players like Hollingshead, Akindele and Coy Craft, the second-year Hollingshead has earned some very important preseason minutes and upped his game big time.
The former PAC-12 Player of the Year is now in his second year as a pro and you should watch him closely on Friday night as his work rate and skill on the bar are among the best on the team. Could he be the breakout player of 2015?
FC Dallas and DC United are meeting for the second time in six days on Friday and while they are both just preseason games, familiarity should certainly bring about a nice competitive game. Sunday's matchup was a physical affair that saw plenty of fouls and midfield play with most of the chances falling to Fabian Castillo and FC Dallas.
If FCD can again limit the DC chances to solo efforts from Fabian Espindola and Chris Rolfe while getting the ball to the feet of Mauro Diaz and Fabian Castillo, Dallas should have plenty of opportunities to get the first home crowd of the season on their feet.
FC Dallas takes another big step towards March 7th this weekend as they compete in the ATX Pro Soccer Challenge. The four-team tournament has three MLS teams plus USL's Austin Aztex and FC Dallas will kick things off at 5:45PM against Columbus Crew SC. Here's a few things to keep your eye on this weekend:
Full squad together
With Matt Hedges back from national team camp, pretty much the full roster for FC Dallas should be in Austin and you will likely see a mostly first team lineup on Friday night. Oscar Pareja said earlier this week that he's looking to get the starters at least 60 minutes and with three weeks under the belt in preseason, it's time to stretch those legs a little bit.
We're all excited to see what Mauro Diaz can do this season and these games will be a fantastic barometer to see how Mauro looks in preseason. The little magician burst out of the gates last year winning MLS Etihad Player of the Month in March and everyone knows if Mauro can stay healthy through a full season, a potential MLS Best XI nomination is on the cards. When Mauro plays, you've got to watch.
Atiba Harris in defense
Last season, Oscar Pareja had a brilliant stroke moving Je-Vaughn Watson to right back with incredible results and he's been experimenting with that again this preseason with Atiba Harris. It's, no doubt, a work in progress, but if Harris, who loves to attack down the right wing and scored the only goal of the preseason so far for FC Dallas, can adapt to the position it could provide huge benefits for FC Dallas.
The champs visit Toyota Stadium twice in 2015, with the first match coming on Saturday, May 9 at 7:30PM, the third Premier Match of the season.
Any time the Galaxy come to town, it's an occasion not to be missed, and with a Saturday night kickoff in the middle of spring, this one is definitely going to be a packed house at Toyota Stadium.
FC Dallas is 3-1-1 in their last five at home against Los Angeles and any time FCD faces the Galaxy, you can bet some late drama is in the cards.
While Landon Donovan has ridden off into the U.S. Soccer sunset and Steven Gerrard doesn't arrive until later in the season, the Galaxy still boast perhaps the most fascinating forward in the league in Robbie Keane as well as Dallas-native Omar Gonzalez; so there's plenty of talent to watch on the other end of the field, but this one is all about FC Dallas.
With this game being the sixth of seven home games in the first 11 matches of the season, FCD has a chance to make a real statement to the rest of the league with this one and you definitely don't want to miss it.
Drama happens when FCD and the Galaxy play (see below). Get the best seat in the house now for the next chapter as single-game tickets are available!
FRISCO - The 2015 MLS SuperDraft is just a couple days away and one of the most exciting things about the draft is you never know what can happen.
Last year, we saw FC Dallas trade from the #5 pick down to the #10 pick and then back up to #6 all in a whirlwind ten-minute span with the club ending up with their target, future Rookie of the Year winner Tesho Akindele, plus some allocation money to boot.
Who knows what will happen this year as FCD currently holds the #15 overall pick, though that could certainly change depending on trades and everything else. Let's take a look at the possible scenarios that could play out on Thursday at 11:30AM.
FC Dallas trades up, snags a top pick
When you look back historically at the draft - especially in the last few years with Homegrown signings taking some of the better players out - you have a pretty good success rate in the first 10 picks. Typically seven or eight of the first 10 picks work out to be solid MLS players. While FC Dallas currently sits outside that threshold, it may not take a whole lot to move up.
With just five Generation adidas players this year (GA players not counting against the salary cap), it's going to take a high draft pick to snag one of those coveted underclassmen. Oscar Pareja had plenty of success in the past in drafting Jamaican forward Deshorn Brown, so maybe another one in UCF forward Romario Williams could be in the cards. If Pareja and Fernando Clavijo really want to go big, NYCFC's #2 overall pick has been rumored to be on the trading block and attacking midfielder Cristian Roldan out of Washington has been described as a special player by many.
"There has to be a bunch of little things that gel together and it’s difficult to define each of them, but when I see players and especially the guys in the draft I look for players who I can smell [success] and see them fitting into the culture of the club first."
That's what Oscar Pareja had to say about his draft strategy. He lets his assistants do much of the legwork to vet potential draft picks and he then sees who fits in the best. You get the feeling that if there's someone he really likes, he's going to do what he needs to get him and I think we can all agree if there's someone that Pareja likes, then he's someone we'll all like.
Dallas stands pat, goes for someone at #15
With the arrival of Pareja just days earlier and a high draft pick, the 2014 draft was one of the more exciting ones for FC Dallas in recent history. It's very possible we won't see the same fireworks in 2015 and FC Dallas may stick with their one pick and go for whichever guy fits in best.
While the success rate for the #15 pick certainly isn't what it is for earlier picks, there have been plenty of good players found at or after #15 with solid MLS'ers Dom Dwyer, Justin Meram and Collen Warner going in the last few picks of the first round since 2010. FC Dallas drafted George John at #14 overall in 2009 and he certainly turned out to be a great player, so there's plenty of reason to be optimistic with #15.
Dallas trades their pick, exits the room quietly
FCD currently has just one pick for Thursday's SuperDraft as the club's second round pick was traded to Houston in exchange for Je-Vaughn Watson in early 2013. So if Oscar and the staff decide there aren't any attainable players that meet their standards, we could see Dallas trade the pick for some allocation money, future picks, another player or international slots.
As mentioned, without a second round pick, that would likely mean Dallas would walk away from Philadelphia without any new players and, given the already young nature of the team, it wouldn't be a huge surprise.
If you were in Oscar or Fernando's shoes what would you do in this situation?
2015 FC Dallas schedule desktop wallpapers:
It's the moment every FC Dallas fan has been waiting for and the moment when the 2015 season starts to come into focus. The 2015 FC Dallas schedule is out and it's definitely got some interesting notes to it so let's break things down:
Home sweet home
Just like last year, FC Dallas opens with five of the first seven at Toyota Stadium. Obviously things can change a lot in an offseason, but five of FCD's first seven are also against teams that missed the playoffs last year, so Oscar Pareja's side will definitely be looking to get out of the blocks quickly.
Early season matchups against Kansas City, now of the Western Conference, and 2014 MLS Cup Playoff foe Seattle Sounders FC will both be home games that fans will certainly circle on the calendar as can't-miss games.
Friday, I'm in love
Perhaps the most noticeable change in the 2015 schedule is the introduction of the weekly Friday night game. Last year FCD had just one Friday night game, but this year there are weekly Friday night games to be broadcast nationally on the Univision family of networks and FC Dallas is a major player in these.
Eight of the first 17 games in 2015 will be played on Friday nights with six of those coming on the road. Personally, I'm looking forward to a little Friday happy hour away game action.
We knew it was coming, but it's still great to see both Kansas City and Houston back on the schedule three times each year. The Texas Derby, presented by Novo Nordisk, will no doubt be spiced up by the return of three games against our rivals to the south each season. While our series with Kansas City may not have quite the same grit to it, our fans are surely looking forward to having more games against a team that is within driving distance.
NYC comes to town
For the second-straight year, the New York Red Bulls will visit Toyota Stadium on Friday, May 15 while new MLS side NYC FC comes to Frisco on Saturday, September 12. Yes, NYCFC will visit late in the season meaning Frank Lampard could be making a stop here...maybe. We'll see.
So which road trips are you making in 2015? We're exactly two months away from First Kick!
EDIT: Listen LIVE to the Expansion Draft at 1:00PM Central Time in the handy YouTube link above
Who's ready for the second draft of the 2014 offseason?!
On Wednesday, 2015 debutants Orlando City SC & NYCFC will go a long way to forming the spines of their teams with the always-dreaded Expansion Draft.
We're going to break it down here on FCDallas.com so hopefully you can understand why FCD might lose a player or two to the new expansion sides on Wednesday.
First, the basics of the draft:
The Expansion Draft will take place on Wednesday, December 10th at 1:00PM Central and there will be ten rounds of selections by OCSC & NYCFC meaning 20 players overall will be drafted onto the new expansion teams.
- Only two players from each team may be drafted
- Teams may protect one extra player when one of their players is drafted
- Teams will receive allocation money from the league for each player picked
Who is eligible to be selected?
OCSC & NYCFC can't just go around all willy-nilly adding whoever they want from other teams, there are selected lists from each team that the expansion teams can choose from.
- Teams are allowed to protect 11 players
- All of FCD's Homegrown players & Walker Zimmerman(Generation adidas) are exempt and also protected
- Get a full list of who is protected and who is available for selection here
Has this happened in the past?
Yes, with all of the recent expansion into MLS, teams like Portland, Vancouver, Montreal and Philadelphia have formed their teams through the Expansion Draft.
- In 2009, FCD did not lose a player in the Philadelphia Union expansion draft. The Union signed names like Sebastien Le Toux & Andrew Jacobson
- In 2010, FCD was hit hard by the Expansion Draft right after their MLS Cup appearance losing Dax McCarty to Portland(who was then traded to DC) and Atiba Harris to Vancouver
- In 2011, FCD did not have a player selected by Montreal
So as you can see, things get tricky when you have two teams selecting instead of just one
Could FC Dallas lose a player or two?
It's always difficult to pick 11 players to protect, but FC Dallas is actually in just about the best position of any team in MLS with 19 players exempt from the draft, second-most only behind Montreal(who has a lot of very young HG players).
- There are three players exposed in this draft who are under contract for 2015 that either had already existing deals or had their player options exercised
- Those players are Stephen Keel, Brian Span and David Texeira
- Others exposed who played significant minutes in 2014 include Raul Fernandez, Andres Escobar and Hendry Thomas though all three did not have their 2015 contract options exercised
- Technical Director Fernando Clavijo told us in a recent interview "I feel very comfortable" about things.
We're back for part two of our 2014 FCDallas.com Editorial Awards!
Click here to read the first half and see who your esteemed panelists are.
Let's get down to business
Best Attacking Player
AG: Fabian Castillo - I don’t have enough fingers on my hands to count how many times he has beaten a defender.
OB: Fabian Castillo – The guy gave my camera shutter a run for it’s money. Even with all the settings correct, Fabian showed up as a blur of speed and energy in photos. His attacking prowess and explosiveness was too good to stop. No defender – or camera – stood a chance.
DR: Blas Perez - What else can you say about Blas? My nomination of Blas for this award is something of a lifetime achievement award for the man known as Super Raton. Through three years at FC Dallas, Blas has basically averaged a goal every other game and in 2014 he led the team in both goals and assists in MLS play. Blas turned provider this year a bit more with a career-high six assists and he finished the regular season strong with five goals in his last six games. He's about as pure a #9-style forward as we've ever seen around here.
RC: Fabian Castillo - What more can be said about the Colombian connection between Castillo and Oscar Pareja? With Pareja back as head coach Castillo shined as a winger tallying 10 goals and four assists in MLS play including a scorching summer run where he scored or assisted in 10 straight games including Lamar Hunt US Open Cup matches. Remember that counter attack goal at San Jose? Yum.
SB: Blas Perez – I was initially leaning towards Fabian for this one too, but Blas’ numbers speak for themselves. The veteran striker put up one more goal and two more assists than Castillo in 200 fewer minutes played. The future may belong to Castillo, but Perez retains the crown for now.
OB: Zach Loyd – Zach was such a thieving jerk this year. Between the scoring opportunities he took away and the balls he stole from the feet of attackers, the guy has a lot of ‘splaining to do. Only evidence left at the scene was blood, sweat and genuine hard work. File a report, FCD opponents, your offense is missing.
RC: Zach Loyd - While Matt Hedges is Team MVP, Zach Loyd is a close second and quite deserving of this award. After beginning the season at his usual right back, Loyd moved to center back without hesitation and filled in admirably alongside Hedges. His athleticism is often some of the best on the field and his speed allows him to run with forwards before poking the ball away. Hedges certainly deserves a USMNT call-up, but doesn’t Zach Loyd?
AG: Zach Loyd – This guy can play any position like no other.
SB: Matt Hedges – Hedges was the one constant on an FC Dallas backline that was constantly rotating in 2014. He’s strong, dependable, clutch – all the adjectives you want out of a center back. Again, expect him to go camping in a couple months.
DR: Matt Hedges - Nevermind best FC Dallas defender, he should be in the final three for MLS Defender of the Year.
RC: Fabian Castillo - See above. Far and away the most improved player in 2014.
SB: Fabian Castillo – This is another one that could go a couple different ways. Victor Ulloa and Moises Hernandez both have strong cases in this category, but I’m gonna fall back on the numbers again. Fabian went from two goals scored in 2013 to 10 (!) in 2014; that’s a pretty considerable jump in production. The scary thing is, you get the sense he’s still capable of more. He may very well be contending for this award next year, too.
DR: Victor Ulloa - My colleagues make some fine arguments, but considering there are many who likely wouldn't have batted much of an eye if Ulloa wasn't brought back in 2014 to now being one of the most important players on the field, I'd say that's a pretty huge improvement. Compared to where he was in that first game against Portland in early 2014, Ulloa is now imposing his will on the games and had perhaps his two best games of the season in the playoff games against Seattle. Bonus points for getting in Dempsey's face at CenturyLink Field puts him over the top.
OB: Zach Loyd – see above.
AG: Chris Seitz – Did you see that playoff game in Seattle?
2015 FC Dallas MVP
RC: Mauro Diaz - We saw what a healthy Mauro Diaz can do when he won Etihad Player of the Month in March. Can you imagine the damage he’ll do if healthy for a full season?
AG: Tesho Akindele – 8 goals his rookie season, I have a good feeling that he is going to bring the heat in 2015.
SB: Mauro Diaz – I know, I know… not exactly out on a limb on this one. Mauro showed us what he’s capable when he was named Player of the Month in March, but that was before he got hurt. If he can manage to stay healthy for the majority of 2015, he’ll probably have a couple more Player of the Month awards coming his way.
DR: Matt Hedges - Because it's still a couple years too early for Coy Craft or Kellyn Acosta, I've got to stick with the incumbent and vote Matty Hedges again in 2015. There's absolutely no reason to think he can't take the next step. A January USMNT camp call-up should lead to a CONCACAF Gold Cup appearance this summer if Hedges plays to the level he's capable of and after that the sky is the limit. Honorable mention to Tesho Akindele for this one.
OB: Mauro Diaz – After half a season in 2013 as David Ferreira’s understudy and a promising 2014, 2015 is the year Mauro Diaz wipes the floor with opposing holding midfielders and defenders of MLS. Fasten your seat belts, ladies and gents, it’s shake ’n bake time.