FC Dallas added another major piece to the 2015 puzzle on Wednesday trading allocation money for Toronto FC midfielder Kyle Bekker. The Canadian has 29 appearances in two years in MLS as well as 13 apperances for the Canadian National Team including seven starts. His last appearance for Canada came in a 0-0 draw against Panama in late November.
So what kind of player is FC Dallas getting in Bekker? Well we definitely have some information to break down the 24-year-old's game.
There is certainly a lot of similarities to Victor Ulloa in Bekker's game. They're both two-way midfielders who have a little more defensive tint to their game than offensive, but they do a good job at retaining the ball and getting it to the dangermen. For an FC Dallas midfield that found itself thin as the season wore on last year, Bekker will provide another nice piece of depth that will not only contend for a starting spot on a weekly basis but push a player like Ulloa to be better as well.
Perhaps the best part of Bekker's season to evaluate is an eight-game stretch in early April to early June during which he started every game with Toronto going 4-3-1 in their best eight-game stretch of their beleagured 2014 campaign. In those eight games, Bekker was, according to Squawka, the highest rated player on the TFC roster earning the highest marks in possession as well as showing strongly defensively(see graphic below). It's a small sample size, for sure, but it certainly suggests that the Canadian is no slouch in the center of the park.
He found playing time difficult to find in the second half of the season as Toronto FC nose-dived to the finish winning just two of their last 13 games in a stretch that saw Ryan Nelsen replaced at manager by Greg Vanney. With a new coach and new ideas came the trade of a player that never quite seemed to fit into TFC's plans despite obvious talent.
According to Squawka, Bekker finished the season with a passing accuracy of 83% of which 79% were forward passes which compares to 85% passing accuracy of Victor Ulloa of which 80% were forward passes so those numbers obviously match up well also.
Just 24 years old and with two years of MLS under his belt, Bekker is a very low risk and high upside acquisition for FC Dallas that gives more depth in the midfield and another player that could flourish under the tutilage of head coach Oscar Pareja.
MLS Rookie of the Year Tesho Akindele is now through a week of his first USMNT camp and some great media stories have come in about the FC Dallas forward who still remains ineligible to actually play in a game for the US and has a decision to make about his future.
Jon Arnold of Goal.com is in Carson at USMNT camp and filed this report on Tesho.
He feels like one of the guys off the pitch as well, though one of the biggest surprises came when he realized the intensity that can come with a national team camp.
"I think a lot of the guys, it’s just crazy the switch that gets flipped," he said. "Like, once training starts, guys get super intense and if you make a mistake everybody’s getting on you. But in the locker room, everybody’s joking around and having a good time."
Doug McIntyre of ESPNFC.com is also in California and writes that Tesho is getting a feel for life with the USMNT under Juergen Klinsmann.
"He's doing really well, Tesho," Klinsmann said. "The goal with players like him or Julio Morales (another young dual-national who is also in this camp) or others that came in before is that they may get a feeling for our environment. They may get a feeling for their teammates, how things are run with the U.S. program and then down the road they make their decision. Together with their family, they have to go the direction they feel most comfortable with. I think so far he's having a blast. He's doing fine, he's looking sharp."
We're just days away from the 2015 preseason getting started, but we've still got time for one final draft before we say goodbye to the offseason.
This afternoon at 1:00PM rounds three and four of the MLS SuperDraft take place via conference call and FC Dallas holds the 14th pick in each round.
Last season, FCD's third round Nick Walker, made the team after preseason and appeared on the matchday roster multiple times, so while any players selected in these rounds are relative long shots, there is certainly a chance FCD could find a hidden gem.
For a primer on today's supplemental draft including the 20 best players remaining, check out this article on MLSsoccer.com.
Last year, FC Dallas had a successful week of training in Bradenton and they'll be returning to the IMG Academy for a week in the 2015 preseason.
FC Dallas will be in Bradenton at IMG Academy from Sunday, February 1 to Sunday, February 8 along with DC United and Swedish sides Jonkopings Sodra IF and Malmo FF as part of IMG Academy's Season of Sun, Sand and Soccer.
Stay tuned for full FC Dallas preseason coverage and more announcements of preseason games as we march towards the start of the 2015 season!
The CONCACF U-20s are in full swing down in Jamaica and FC Dallas players have played a big part in the tournament as Mexico and the USA look to qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand. Let's take a look at how both of our FC Dallas professional players have done as well as a quick look at an Academy player making headlines.
Jesse Gonzalez and Mexico U-20s perfect through three games
It's been a fantastic tournament for Jesse Gonzalez and the Mexico U-20s who look set to cruise to one of the two automatic qualifying spots.
Mexico is a perfect 3-0-0 in the tournament with an astounding +13 goal differential. FC Dallas Homegrown goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez has played every minute of all three games in goal for Mexico allowing just one goal for El Tri.
The Mexican U-20s won their first match against Cuba by an astounding 9-1 scoreline, following that up with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Canada. In their third match of the tournament, Mexico impressively dispatched of Honduras by a 3-0 score to solidify their spot at the top of the group.
Judging by the highlights, Gonzalez hasn't had a ton of work in his two shutouts, though stiff tests await in El Salvador and a potential U-20 Championship game. Mexico can clinch the top spot in the group and a place in the 2015 U-20 World Cup with a win over El Salvador on Monday.
Up and down for Kellyn Acosta & USA U-20s
Team captain Kellyn Acosta and the US Soccer U-20s have had an up and down tournament so far in Jamaica going 1-1-1 and finding themselves in third place in the group with two matches left.
In their first match against Guatemala, the United States led 1-0 late in the match before FCD Academy player Andy Ruiz scored surely the goal of his life on a 20-yard volley to send the game to a 1-1 tie.
The next match was a crucial game against a very good Panama side that the United States surprisingly dropped 1-0 leaving them in a tough position near the bottom of the group.
USA bounced back with a huge 8-0 win over lowly Aruba that shot the US back up to third in the group standings. Kellyn Acosta started and played the first two matches for the US U-20s as captain.
The United States certainly has their work cut out for them in the next week with games against hosts Jamaica on Sunday and Trinidad & Tobago on Wednesday. The US needs to finish at least third to qualify for the one-game knockout round with the winner advancing to the U-20 World Cup.
FCD Academy's Ruiz leads surprising Guatemala U-20s
RUIZ Golazo vs US
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the CONCACAF U-20s has been Guatemala and FCD Academy midfielder Andy Ruiz scored the goal everyone was talking about in the 1-1 draw against the United States.
Guatemala has followed that up with wins over Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica giving them a great shot to either win the group or finishing second.
Ruiz has played every minute of the three matches scoring the goal against the United States.
Guatemala has games against Aruba and group-leading Panama left with two wins securing them the top spot in the group and a berth in the 2015 U-20 World Cup.
By Demetrio Teniente
Our second Marquee Matchup of 2015 is Saturday March 28 vs. Seattle Sounders FC and do we really need to tell you why this match is going to be awesome?
Now, we know you haven't forgotten how FC Dallas and Seattle squared off five times last year, including an epic showdown in the Western Confernce semifinals where, thanks to the newly instituted away goals tie-breaker, Seattle advanced past FC Dallas to become the first Supporters' Shield winner to advance past the first round since 2011.
And we also know that revenge is sweet.
Kudos to Seattle for their accomplishments, but they spoiled FC Dallas' return to postseason play after a three-year hiatus, so Dallas will be looking for retribution when these two teams square off on March 28.
Also, the Sounders coming to town brings the opportunity to see two Texas products in former FC Dallas forward Kenny Cooper and USMNT super star Clint Dempsey as they battle against our guys in what is always a closely-fought duel.
Cooper logged a total of five seasons with FCD and is ranked seventh among active players with 72 career goals as well as second on the all-time FC Dallas scoring charts. Dempsey is the current captain of the U.S. National Team and is a seven-year veteran of the English Premier League. Last season he made 26 appearances for Sounders FC in his first full season back in MLS after signing mid-2013.
It will also be your only chance to catch Sounders FC at Toyota Stadium. With memories of last season's playoffs resonating on the pitch, there should be no shortage of excitement heading into this matchup.
Twitter is so great. Yesterday, #FiveWordsToRuinADate was trending throughout the day so we had some fun with it and asked our loyal #DTID followers to give us their best #FiveWordsToRuinADate FC Dallas style...here were some of the best responses:
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!
US Soccer U-20 Men's National Team head coach Tab Ramos has named his squad for the CONCACAF U-20 Championship which begins on Friday in Jamaica and, as expected, FC Dallas Homegrown midfielder Kellyn Acosta was one of the 20 players named for the tournament which serves as qualifying for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
Acosta, who was also named as the captain, is one of two players who were also a part of the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup team and is expected to start at central midfield for Tab Ramos' side. Kellyn is not the only player with FC Dallas ties on the roster as former FC Dallas Academy midfielder and Dallas native Emerson Hyndman of Fulham FC was also named to the squad setting up what could be an all-Dallas central midfield duo.
The U-20s get the tournament started on Friday, January 9th and will play Guatemala, Panama, Aruba, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago between the 9th and 22nd with all games broadcast live on Fox Sports 2.
Acosta joins Mexican goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez as the two FC Dallas Homegrowns playing in the tournament.
Full release from US Soccer:
CHICAGO (Jan. 5, 2015) – U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos has named the 20-player roster for the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship running Jan. 9-24 in Jamaica. All five of the USA’s matches will be broadcast on Fox Sports 2. Fans can also follow the action on twitter at @ussoccer_ynt.
The USA has been drawn into Group A along with Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Aruba, Panama and Guatemala. The U.S. opens against Guatemala on Jan. 9, followed by Panama (Jan. 11), Aruba (Jan. 14), Jamaica (Jan. 18) and Trinidad & Tobago (Jan. 21).
"Selecting the final 20 players was extremely difficult,” said Ramos. “This is a group that has a lot of depth. It's a group that has gotten good results throughout the last 12 to 14 months, regardless of the players we've had in. A lot of players have made a good case for being on the team, but in the end, unfortunately, you can only take so many (players). I am very happy with the group we've selected.
“Overall, this is a group made up mostly with professional players, and that's a strength. These are players who are completely dedicated to the sport; players who 100 percent of the time prepare to do well, to get better, and be on the National Team.”
- Tab Ramos Q&A: U-20 MNT Ready for World Cup Qualifying
Four countries will directly qualify from this tournament for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand. The USA is looking to qualify for its 14th trip to a FIFA World Youth Championship or FIFA U-20 World Cup.
The U.S. roster includes two members of the USA’s 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup team in midfielder Kellyn Acosta and goalkeeper Zack Steffen. Ramos has named Acosta the team captain for the qualifying tournament. Acosta was also a member of the USA’s 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup team, which advanced out of qualifying in Jamaica. Steffen posted a 3-0-1 record for the U-20s in 2014, earning a pair of shutouts during the USA’s championship run at the 2014 National Training Center Invitational in Carson, California – a 4-0 win against Bermuda and a scoreless draw against Australia.
Six players on the USA roster represent clubs in Major League Soccer: defenders Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls) and Tyler Turner (Orlando City SC), midfielders Acosta (FC Dallas) and Romain Gall (Columbus Crew), and forwards Bradford Jamieson IV (LA Galaxy) and Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes). Gall was the U-20 MNT’s leading goal scorer in 2014 with four tallies in international competition.
Four U-20 MNT players are teammates on Liga MX side Club Tijuana: forwards Paul Arriola and Amando Moreno, midfielder Fernando Arce and defender John Requejo.
U.S. U-20 MNT Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Ethan Horvath (Molde FK), Zack Steffen (SC Freiburg)
DEFENDERS (6): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur), Conor Donovan (N.C. State), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls), Shaquell Moore (Unattached), John Requejo (Club Tijuana), Tyler Turner (Orlando City)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Fernando Arce (Club Tijuana), Russell Canouse (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim), Junior Flores (Borussia Dortmund), Romain Gall (Columbus Crew), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham)
FORWARDS (5): Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Bradford Jamieson IV (LA Galaxy), Amando Moreno (Club Tijuana), Ben Spencer (Molde FK), Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes)
The U-20s went 6-1-2 in international competition and 12-2-2 overall in 2014.
The USA was the runner-up to Mexico at the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship and advanced to the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey, where the U.S. earned a draw against eventually World Cup winner France.
This year marks the 25th occasion in which the U.S. U-20 MNT is competing in the CONCACAF Youth Tournament or Championship. The USA has earned second place in the qualification tournament six times (1980, 1982, 1986, 1992, 2009, 2013), but has yet to win a CONCACAF U-20 Championship title.
Qualifying Format Change: The CONCACAF U-20 Championship format has changed for 2015 and is now comprises two groups of six teams. Previous tournaments featured four groups of three teams. Under the new setup, the first-place teams in Group A and Group B will automatically qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup and advance to face each other in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship Final. The second- and third-place teams in each group (four teams) will be reseeded based on group-stage results to form a playoff group. In this playoff stage, the top seed will play the No. 4 seed and the second seed will face the No. 3 seed. The two winners from these respective games will also qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Eyes on New Zealand 2015: The U.S. has qualified for 13 FIFA World Youth Championships/FIFA U-20 World Cups and has its sights set on No. 14 in 2015. The 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand will be held from May 30-June 20 in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Wellington and Whangarei. The final draw will be held on Feb. 10. The USA’s best World Cup finish was a fourth-place performance at the 1989 FIFA World Youth Championship.
It's almost time for the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championships as the North American soccer scene starts to awake from the holiday slumber and FC Dallas Homegrowns will once again play a big part in the tournament which serves as qualifiying for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
The Mexico roster was released just a few days ago and for the second-straight cycle, an FC Dallas Homegrown goalkeeper will be between the pipes for El Tri.
Jesse Gonzalez has been called up for the Mexico U-20s as one of two goalkeepers for a Mexico team that will face Cuba, Canada, Honduras, El Salvador and Haiti from January 10th through 22nd with the top team from each group advancing to the U20 World Cup and the next four teams playing in playoff matches to also earn spots in the tournament.
The Unites States U-20 CONCACAF Championship team is set to be announced on Monday with Kellyn Acosta expected to be one of the midfield captains for Tab Ramos' squad.