It's definitely award season in MLS and as we await the official MLS awards(#VoteForTesho), we thought it'd be fun here at FCDallas.com for those of us who bring you content throughout the year to give you each of our picks for FC Dallas awards in 2014. We've got seven awards and we're going to split them into two parts.
Here are your esteemed panelists(Scott & Aaron not featured in the photo):
Olivia Brestal - Graphic Design Coordinator: Olivia is responsible for all those fancy GIFs you see on Twitter. She was also the brains behind those #VoteForTesho graphics and this.
Scott Brown - Managing Editor of Digital Properties: One half of your Toyota Keys to the Match crew, Scott has been keeping his watchful eye over the team this season from high above in the Toyota Stadium press box. And he has a NWO-style Hollywood Hulk Hogan bobblehead at his desk. Respect.
Robert Casner - Marketing Manager: Formerly known as @FCDallasBeatGuy, Robert is one of the puppeteers behind the game presentation, awesome community tours and cool promotions FCD puts on. He loves FC Dallas, Alexis Sanchez and Ole Miss.
Aaron Griffin - Multimedia Manager: The third half of the TKTTM crew, Aaron is the one behind the camera and the brains that run FCDTV. He is the 2014 FCD Front Office Super Classico Goal of the Year winner, so he knows a thing or two about the beautiful game.
Daniel Robertson - Digital Content Coordinator: The other half of the TKTTM crew, Daniel(who loves to speak in third person) is both the self-proclaimed Instagram video king of MLS digital and the worst prognosticator in the history of MLS digital.
Let's do this.
2014 Team MVP
Scott B: Matt Hedges – Pareja has made a lot of great decisions for FC Dallas this year, and giving the armband to Matt is right up there with the best of them. Hedges continues to improve year-after-year. It’s kinda mind-blowing that he’s never received a national team call-up at any level. Don’t be surprised if that changes come January.
Daniel R: Matt Hedges - Through the first half of the season, Fabian Castillo would probably get the nod, but Hedges has simply been ever-present for FCD this year. Above all else, you want to have your defense in order and Hedges only solidified the award with his play in the playoff series against Seattle. January camp, Klinsi. Make it happen.
Robert C: Matt Hedges - Paging Coach Klinsmann! Hedges has improved drastically in each of his first three years and in 2014 he showed how valuable he is to this team. He wins headers, sniffs out passes before they happen, and organizes everyone in front of him. He got the captain’s band in the middle of the season and never looked back. I know what I’m thankful this holiday season….Matty freakin Hedges!
Aaron G: Matt Hedges - Captain and heart of our backline, to shut down Seattle in the playoffs is saying a lot. We are still waiting for the call up Jurgen…
Olivia B: Matt Hedges – My explanation for this choice is going to be as short as the amount of time attackers had on the ball when Hedges was on the scene – and because I don’t have enough time to write out all my reasonings AND call Jurgen Klinsmann.
U-23 Player of the Year
RC: Victor Ulloa - Vic came into preseason without a guaranteed contract and finished the 2014 season locked down in the central midfield position with 26 starts. The Wylie native and quickly-rising fan favorite displayed patience in his ball distribution and a maturity level that will make him a mainstay on the field in 2015.
OB: Fabian Castillo – see below.
SB: Fabian Castillo – This might be the toughest one to pick on a team that’s so stacked with young talent, but this one has to go to Fabi. He checked in at third on MLSsoccer.com’s 24 Under 24 this year, but Castillo was definitely FCD’s best player under 23 in 2014.
DR: Fabian Castillo - Before I explain this one, let me note that in 2014 FCD could've put together a U-23 team that could absolutely compete in MLS and that's pretty ridiculous. I went back and forth on this one as there are three or even four players that deserve serious consideration for this one, but I had to go with Fabi. He took the step forward in 2014 that we were all hoping and expecting. In 31 combined MLS & LHUSOC games, Fabian had 14 goals and 7 assists including his incredible ten-game streak with a goal or an asisst through the summer.
AG: Victor Ulloa - Started from the bottom now he’s here.
RC: Je-Vaughn Watson - Call him the ultimate utility player. Midfield, defense, it doesn’t matter where you put Je-Vaughn he’ll use his physical nature and ridiculous speed to make the position work. At right back, Watson ran with the fastest wingers and then hauled back down the other end to assist the powerful FC Dallas counterattack. He wasn’t always the center of attention on the field, but his efforts on both sides of the ball haven’t gone unnoticed.
SB: Victor Ulloa – The Ballad of Victor Ulloa isn’t quite as unsung as it was just a few weeks ago (Examples here, here and here). After getting his opportunity through injuries and suspensions in the defensive midfield Victor came seemingly out of nowhere (zero starts in 2011-13, 26 starts in 2014) to become arguably the best FC Dallas Homegrown product to date.
AG: Moises Hernandez – More often than not, he was at the right place at the right time.
DR: Chris Seitz - His heroic deeds off the field are well-documented, but in 2014 Seitz proved that he won't simply be known for that selfless act. Chris had his best year as a professional showing FC Dallas has a bevy of legitimate MLS starting-caliber goalkeepers on the roster posting a 10-4-4 record in MLS, playoffs and LHUSOC play with four shutouts. In fact, since the start of 2013, Seitz is 16-7-6 in MLS, playoffs and USOC play. Very, very impressive. Huge honorable mention goes to Je-Vaughn Watson who finished second on the team in minutes played this year.
OB: Victor Ulloa – When he came in for a banged up midfield mid-season, people assumed they’d get the hesitant play of a young homegrown, but what they got was Shutdown Central: Party of 1. Plus anyone who gets in a mini WWE smackdown with Clint Dempsey in the Western Conference Semifinals – and wins – is an unsung hero in my book.
Stay tuned next week for part 2 of our awards featuring best defender, most improved & more!
With the top pick in the Chivas USA Dispersal Draft, FC Dallas selected long-time Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
Stay tuned for much more, but Kennedy has posted 25 shutouts in his last four seasons at Chivas USA and earned an MLS All-Star Game appearance in 2012.
2014 Chivas USA Dispersal Draft results
|1||FC Dallas||Dan Kennedy|
|2||New York City FC||Matthew Dunn|
|4||D.C. United||Thomas McNamara|
|5||New England Revolution||PASS|
|6||Montreal Impact||Donny Toia|
|7||Orlando City SC||PASS|
|8||Colorado Rapids||Caleb Calvert|
|9||San Jose Earthquakes||Kristopher Tyrpak|
|10||Real Salt Lake||PASS|
|14||Toronto FC||Marco Delgado|
|15||Columbus Crew SC||PASS|
|18||New York Red Bulls||PASS|
|19||Seattle Sounders FC||PASS|
|20||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||PASS|
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:
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:
Hear from Matt Hedges, Victor Ulloa & Oscar Pareja on Monday's decisive playoff game in Seattle: