FRISCO — FC Dallas have officially made their first moves after a disappointing season, declining the options on four players: Ruben Luna, Bryan Leyva, Matías Jara and Bruno Guarda.
Certainly the names that will raise the most eyebrows on that list will be 20-year-olds Leyva and Luna. The pair become the first-ever Homegrown players to be cut from the squad and, for head coach Schellas Hyndman, the fact that neither was able to make an impact despite all the injuries to players in front of them meant it was time for the club to part ways.
“[Injuries] gave those players another opportunity to play and we didn’t feel that they were playing well enough to keep them,” Hyndman said. “We’ve got to make some changes. We don’t want the same thing next year to only count on, ‘Hey we’re recovered now.’ Also we want to work hard trying to find people that really have a desire and determination to be here.”
After leading the MLS Reserve League last year in goals, Luna looked poised for a breakout 2012, but an injury in preseason and a dip in confidence through the year meant he logged just 208 minutes and one goal with FCD this season while a mid-season loan to the San Antonio Scorpions proved inconsequential.
Leyva has always been an enigma in Dallas, producing moments of incredible skill in practices, but never quite gaining the fitness or discipline to make an impact for Hyndman in MLS matches. The cuts of both bring to light the fact that perhaps FCD were too liberal in signing their academy players in the past rather than sending them to the college game for more professional and personal development.
“Maybe there could’ve been other things done, but what we want to do is make the team better next year,” Hyndman said. “We thank them for everything they’ve done, they’ve worked hard for us.
“A term I learned a long time ago in coaching is, ‘Many are called, few are chosen,’ and right now, we have to be a little bit more selective on who we keep and who we bring in.”
With a roster still containing five Homegrowns and academy players impressing at major universities across the NCAA, the competition will only get stiffer for Homegrown contracts as time goes on.
“It’s got to make them nervous, sure," Hyndman said of the remaining Homegrowns.