"In Search of Gold"
With the Gold Cup on our home soil, MLS teams spent the past few weeks out scouting the various CONCACAF national teams for talent. FC Dallas was no different and in an effort to keep our fans informed, this is a brief outline of our search for a golden nugget (or two).
READ: FC Dallas scoping Gold Cup for possible transfer targets
June 5th – Opening Games at Cowboy Stadium, Arlington, TX
The entire coaching staff was present as Costa Rica took on Cuba and Mexico played El Salvador.
June 6th – Home Depot Center, Carson City, CA
I drew the straw that took me to LA for the Jamaica-Grenada game, followed by the Honduras vs. Guatemala match. After the game, it was straight to LAX and a 1:00 a.m. flight back to Dallas.
June 7th – Ford Field, Detroit, MI
With scant time to pass the travel torch, FC Dallas assistant coach John Ellinger was on his flight to catch the matches between Panama and Guadeloupe and the U.S. vs. Canada in the Motor City.
A day off!
June 9th – Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
This time it was FC Dallas assistant coach Marco Ferruzzi's turn to jet set to Charlotte, N.C. for the games featuring Jamaica against Guatemala and a nightcap of Grenada and Honduras.
June 10th – FIU Stadium, Miami, FL
The swelling temperatures and traffic didn’t stop me from making it to the games that saw Jamaica play Guatemala and Grenada take on Honduras.
June 11th – Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
A drive from Miami to Tampa is not exactly on my bucket list, but it is what it is…a long trip. I sat with Paul Mariner, Toronto FC’s Director of Player Development, as we struggled to find shade for the Canada vs. Guadeloupe match and the US vs. Panama contest. Of course we used our collective charm to persuade a friendly usher to let us change seats and sit in a relatively cooler part of the stadium.
June 12th - Travel Day
It was an early morning flight back to Dallas to make our game against Sporting KC. In hindsight, I might have been better off to continue to Chicago, where El Salvador and Cuba tangled and Mexico played Costa Rica. Thank goodness for DVR’s.
June 13th and 14th - Game Footage
The staff took different team assignments and watched the games on TV. By this stage we had seen every side, and these two days were spent evaluating potential recruitment talent for the signing windows.
June 17th - Travel Day
Off to New Jersey for the first of two quarterfinal doubleheaders.
June 18th – New Meadowlands Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
The Costa Rica-Honduras game went to OT and then PKs with Honduras advancing, while Mexico ended Guatemala's dreams. Thank goodness a friend was driving, as we traveled halfway to Washington, D.C. before spending the night at another friend’s home.
June 19th – RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.
It was an early start, as we drove in to DC to have lunch with Edward Seaga, the former prime minister of Jamaica. I had the pleasure of meeting the Rt. Hon. Mr. Seaga on a recent visit to Jamaica and it was great to sit down with him and discuss the upcoming match. Unfortunately for Jamaica, they could not stop the U.S. and lost 0-2. The second game saw Panama prevail on PKs after the teams played to a 1-1 tie after two OTs.
June 20th - Travel Day (again)
An exceptionally early flight (or so it seemed) back to Dallas was the start of a long day of playing catch-up in the office.
June 21st - Day Off
A day off...for the team at least.
June 22nd – Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX
A quick hello to Dominick Kinnear on the way in and then it was all attention on the U.S.-Panama rematch. This time it was a reversal of the earlier Gold Cup match-up, as the U.S. emerged with a 1-0 victory. A crowd of over 70,000 witnessed the second game as Mexico outlasted Honduras 2-0 after extra time.
2011 Gold Cup Reflections:
A lot of talent on display and I believe there are a few nuggets out there for MLS teams. Don’t be surprised if you see a few of these players in MLS shirts in the near future.
All the fans get full marks for supporting their teams. Without them the colorful atmosphere would be so dull.
Every American sports fan should attend a match between two CONCACAF nations that doesn’t include the U.S. The passion, electricity, energy and enthusiasm all these fans bring is something to behold.
As always, a big thanks to American Airlines - if you're going to be crisscrossing the country it always helps for a reliable airline to have your back!
And of course, the Gold Cup final - we had something else on our minds at the time (a 4-0 FC Dallas win over the Portland Timbers), but the team and staff managed to catch the waning moments of the game in the player's lounge after the match. A disappointing result for the U.S. but the atmosphere certainly looked on par from what we witnessed in person over the last few weeks.