I'm back on the grid! I don't know how involved you were with the College Cup, but this past weekend I was sent by MLS to cover the NCAA Championships in Hoover, Alabama. It was an amazing experience checking out the College Cup for the first time and something I'll remember for the rest of my life. I probably had close to 15 bylines over the last weekend, so suffice to say there wasn't much time for FC Dallas in there, but I'm back now and let's get to the news.
You've obviously seen the news about Peter Luccin, but here it is again
Peter came in at the end of the season to be seen by the FC Dallas coaching staff,” said FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman. “We were in the final two weeks of training, so he was being measured against a group of players who were very fit. He really impressed us. He can cover a lot of space in central midfield and he seldom loses the ball. His resume is quite outstanding, having played quite a few years in the first divisions in France and Spain. He is going to be a very good addition to our team.”
MLSsoccer.com has been doing fantastic season reviews and they posted the FC Dallas one yesterday. First up is my look back at the best moments, worst moments, best players and biggest needs heading into 2013.
If Shea is healthy and in form, FC Dallas will once again be a MLS Cup contender. If he's neither of those things, they could regress to also-rans yet again. With an already loaded lineup, a return to 2011 form for the blonde Texan could make FCD a terror for every MLS defense. However, Shea will be almost six months removed from an MLS appearance when he returns from offseason foot surgery in mid-February, and it could be several games into the campaign before he’s back to full fitness.
The read Matt Doyle, the Armchair Analyst, look at the team strengths and weaknesses.
FC Dallas were 6-4-7 with Ferreira in the lineup in 2012. Not great, but prorate that for the entire season, and it’d be enough to pip Vancouver for the fifth playoff spot in the Western Conference. And it wasn’t any placebo effect, either: In terms of chances created from the run of play per 90 minutes, Ferreira was second in the league to LA’sLandon Donovan. Despite turning 33 and spending more than a year rehabbing two significant injuries, he was still probably the best pure No. 10 MLS had on offer.
And finally the OPTA spotlight which I know will get Fennsk all in a tizzy.
Nobody is going to accuse FC Dallas of channelling their inner Barca after finishing the 2012 season ahead of only Toronto FC in completed passes (9,429), the only two teams in MLS with fewer than 10,000.
That the top four passers in terms of successful volume – Zach Loyd (769), Jair Benitez (853), Daniel Hernandez (749) and Andrew Jacobsen (666) – are defenders or defensive-minded midfielders speaks to FCD's lack of extended possession high up the field.
Now some quick plugs for my College Cup content which, while not directly FCD related, could be very soon. Both Schellas and Marco Ferruzzi were in Alabama for the tournament and it wouldn't shock me at all to see a player from the College Cup taken at #7. After all, Matt Hedges was College Cup last year.
My Stock Report looks at players who helped themselves and hurt themselves.
A four-year starter out of the development machine that is Scott-Gallagher in St. Louis, Soffner wasn’t tested a whole bunch here at the College Cup. But when he was, he was spectacular, making two blinding late-game stops against Creighton in the semis then commanding his area like a veteran against Georgetown. The guy looks the part of a pro both on and off the field. The MLS stage won’t be too big for the College Cup Defensive MVP, and he should at least find his way into a preseason camp.
I talked to Marco Ferruzzi in my story about MLS scouting at the College Cup
“Some of these guys we’ve been tracking them since freshman year and now they’re completing their four years,” said FC Dallas assistant coach Marco Ferruzzi, just before Maryland and Georgetown kicked off. “You get to see them at the biggest event in their college career and you want to see how they respond and step up in these moments.”
If FCD really wants to make a splash in the tournament, they could trade up to get Indiana forward Eriq Zavaleta.Should he sign a GA deal, which I expect to happen, he will very likely go in the top three of the draft.
“It’s rare you’ll find a team at this point of the season without someone who can put the ball in the back of the net,” Indiana head coach Todd Yeagley told reporters on Saturday. “And Eriq’s been that player for us this year.”
More to come later on what FCD learned from the College Cup
And finally, we know two more teams that are coming to Dallas Cup
After a 13 year absence from the Dallas Cup, Club América Sub-20 Squad joins Fulham FC (England), Fluminense (Brazil); Coritiba FC (Brazil), Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany); Aalborg BK (Denmark) and Tigres UANL (Mexico) in the Gordon Jago Super Group with more announcements to come.