SEGMENT 1: Stein and Steve, reunited in studio after a week apart, preview Saturday’s MLS Cup final in Kansas City pitting Sporting KC against Real Salt Lake, with lots of talk about the job Jason Kreis has done at RSL as well as a look at the scheduling options for the final.
SEGMENT 2: Soccer Today favorite Gabriel Marcotti from ESPN FC and The Times of London returns to the show to preview next week’s other big event on the calendar … Friday’s draw for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
SEGMENT 3: Coach of the Year in Major League Soccer? And more importantly: Most Valuable Player? The boys run through the options in both categories after Dallas native Dillon Powers was named MLS Rookie of the Year in the wake of his fine debut season in Colorado.
SEGMENT 4: Hunter Jumper, another top-notch Dallas product who starred at Greenhill School while also playing in the vaunted Solar program, joins the guys to share the story of a harrowing car crash Tuesday on an icy mountain in Virginia that left the Chicago Fire defender feeling grateful to be alive thanks to a true Thanksgiving Miracle that kept him safe from harm.
For most college students, today begins the week before finals that we all know and love as "Dead Week," and FCD is here to help get you through the week of studying!
Look out for the mobile FCD Tour with free FCD swag, Deja Blue water and Dr Pepper as well as a special 2014 college student season ticket deal
Here's the schedule for the week:
Monday, Dec. 2, 11AM-1PM – Texas Wesleyan University; outside of the Brown-Lupton Campus Center
Tuesday, Dec. 3, 12-2PM – TCU; inside of the Brown-Lupton University Union
Wednesday, Dec. 4, 1-3PM – Collin College Preston Ridge Campus; in the Quad area
Thursday, Dec. 5, 12-2PM – SMU; by the flagpole on campus
This weekend brings the annual Bobby Rhine Invitational back to the Toyota Soccer Center. The U-11 through U-16 tournament brings nearly 50 teams to Frisco with the U-13 through U-16 divisions serving as a qualifier to Dr Pepper Dallas Cup.
With the tournament coming over the weekend of Thanksgiving, we want to encourage everyone to bring new or gently used soccer gear whether it's cleats, shorts, socks, jerseys or even school supplies.
The donations will be going to a special cause as our U-14 Academy team will once again be headed to Bolivia next year for the prestigious Tahuichi invitational. While in Bolivia, the kids will be visiting the Menuts Del Mon Orphanage and donating all the gear collected at the Bobby Rhine Invitational.
The collection box will be set up by the concession stand near field 10 so bring your soccer gear donations to the Bobby Rhine Invitation at the Toyota Soccer Center this weekend!
MLS is one game away from crowning a champion as Sporting KC hosts Real Salt Lake in MLS Cup 2013 and we want you to join us for our second annual MLS Cup watching party at The Allen Wickers Pub & Grill on Saturday, December 7.
Kickoff is set for 3:00PM and we'll have great prizes to give away at halftime including a Mauro Diaz-signed scarf, George John-signed FC Dallas tee, Allen Wickers gift cards and plenty more! We will also be hosting a soccer ball drive to support the FC Dallas Foundation Gear Up Project presented by Albertsons Market.
It's the last MLS game until our March 8 season-opener against Montreal so bring a new or used soccer ball and come out to Allen Wickers on Saturday, December 7 and help us crown a 2013 MLS Cup champion!
SEGMENT 1: The World Cup field of 32 is set. With Steve and Landry in the studio, Stein connects by phone from California to make the claim that Planet Futbol would have missed Cristiano Ronaldo much more than Zlatan Ilbrahimovic next summer if Portgual had failed to win their World Cup playoff against Sweden.
SEGMENT 2: Mexico, in the end, booked its trip to Brazil with ease, coming away from its two-legged playoff series with New Zealand with a 9-3 aggregate victory after its worst qualification campaign in memory. ESPN's Monica Gonzalez, former captain of Mexico's women's national team, returns to the show to take the pulse of her countrymen after some long-awaited success for El Tri.
SEGMENT 3: Stein returns via phone to help Steve put a bow on the U.S. men's national team 2013 campaign and discuss the potential impact, real or imagined, of LeBron James' potential partnership with David Beckham in an ownership group in charge of a Major League Soccer expansion franchise in Miami.
SEGMENT 4: In the heart of the the MLS playoffs, Sports Illustrated's Brian Straus drops by to help Steve assess Sporting KC's Final Four ousting of Houston in the East ... and to look ahead at the second leg of Real Salt Lake's West duel with Portland.
The 2014 FC Dallas schedule is out and have we got the ticket plan for you, just in time for the holidays!
With our FC Dallas Holiday Premier Pack, you get tickets to four of our biggest matches of the season. You'll have a seat to our opening day match on March 8 against the Montreal Impact, a battle against Clint Dempsey and the Sounders on Saturday, April 12, our perennialy sold out July 4 extravaganza vs. Philadelphia and the only visit of the LA Galaxy to Toyota Stadium on Sunday, October 12.
This is called the Premier Pack for a reason, however, and we're not stopping there. We're going to let you pick two more additional matches of your choice.
Perhaps you'd like to see Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls come to town plus a huge conference matchup against Oscar Pareja and the Colorado Rapids. Or maybe you'd like to go for a Cascadia double with Caleb Porter's Portland Timbers and the Vancouver Whitecaps. It's up to you!
That's right, tickets to the six biggest games of the season and it's all starting at just $96!
Skip the fruit cake this year and treat your family and friends to an FC Dallas Holiday Premier Pack because the season will be here before you know it!
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?
The MLS Cup Playoffs Conference Finals will finish this weekend, with Sporting Kansas City hosting the Houston Dynamo Saturday night on the NBC Sports Network and Real Salt Lake visiting the Portland Timbers on ESPN Sunday night. RSL enters the second leg with a two-goal advantage after their 4-2 win at Rio Tinto Stadium two weeks ago, while Kansas City and the Dynamo played to a 0-0 draw in Houston.
FC Dallas players Matt Hedges and Eric Hassli, along with the FCDallas.com editorial staff, made their Conference Finals predictions two weeks ago, but it's still anybody's guess which two teams will wind up playing for the MLS Cup.
Let us know in the comments what your predictions are and who you think will lift the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy.
POR vs. RSL
LEG 1: RSL 4-2 POR
LEG 2: 11/24 @ 8pm - ESPN
SKC vs. HOU
LEG 1: HOU 0-0 SKC
LEG 2: 11/23 @ 6:30pm - NBCSN
Raul Fernandez has outlasted all 35 MLSsoccer.com Save of the Week winners with his week 19 stop against Gyasi Zardes and Los Angeles. Through your votes Raul has earned a spot in the Save of the Yeek championship round! He's up against some stiff competition so we need every one of your votes to get Raul the MLSsoccer.com Save of the Year!
Last night in Stockholm, Cristiano Ronaldo captivated the soccer world with a heart-stopping hat trick, single-handedly punching Portugal's ticket to World Cup 2014 in Brazil in a 3-2 win over Sweden. While Frisco, Texas is about as far from a UEFA World Cup Qualifier as you can get, one member of the FC Dallas staff shared the field with Ronaldo long before the Portugese attacker was considered the best player in the world.
"I was doing pre-season with the Columbus Crew. I had just been traded from San Jose and I was with them for three months in pre-season," said under-18 head coach Luchi Gonzalez. "We were in Portugal for two weeks and played some exhibitions, one of which was against Sporting Lisbon in their training facility. I remember there was some hype about it, a young Portugese player who as the next big thing, Cristiano Ronaldo."
Ronaldo spent most of his formative years at the Portugese giants from Lisbon who have developed some of the biggest stars in world soccer.
"I see him warming up on their side. He’s 18 and I’m 22 and he’s got the orange [Nike] Vapors and you could tell he was very technical," said 33-year-old Gonzalez, who played for three different MLS clubs in his career. "We played the game, I don’t remember the exact score, it might have been 1-1."
Ronaldo's meteoric rise to stardom had began just months earlier as Ronaldo debuted with the Sporting first team in late 2002. In early August 2003, Ronaldo made his debut for Portugal and just over a week later would be sold to Manchester United for a reported 15 million Euro.
"I remember him taking people on the wing. I think [Columbus Crew defender] Duncan [Oughton] cracked him a few times, because he was a handful, but you could tell there was something there that was special. He did a lot of the stepovers then. He just had a change of speed, a good cross, it was clear that he was a different level and he was young and fearless. Literally a month later, I read that he got sold to Manchester United and I saw his debut and sure enough it was him and he was a beast. Still a skinny frame and nowhere near the machine he is now, but it was pretty cool."
The rest is history.