How Much Time Will International Players Miss This Season?

HOUSTON - MAY 28: Forward Fabian Castillo #15 of FC Dallas is checked on by Brek Shea #20 after he comes up hobbling in the first half against the Houston Dynamo at Robertson Stadium on May 28, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Something on my FCD mind lately has been the need for another offensive wing midfielder. As we discussed previously, Dallas has Brek Shea, Fabian Castillo, Andrew Wiedeman, Carlos Rodriguez, Bryan Leyva and Ricardo Villar as potential wingers, but only two of those players, Shea and Castillo, has proven as a difference maker in MLS. However, I went back to look at the stats fearing that Shea and Rodriguez(as well as Blas) would miss significant chunks of the season only to find out it's really not too bad.

Let's look at how much time Shea and Rodriguez could potentially miss due to international call ups

First up is the Olympic Qualifying tournament that will take place, for the United States, in Nashville and (potentially) Kansas City. Should the United States make it to the semifinals, Brek Shea and Carlos Rodriguez would miss March 25 at Sporting KC and March 30 at DC United. It will be unfortunate to lose the duo for those two games, but probably doesn't perpetuate a need to bring a new player in.

Up next is World Cup Qualifying and MLS has done a fantastic job of not scheduling games during the WCQ dates. Of the 6 games the United States & Panama will play in the preliminary qualifying round, zero of them will conflict with currently scheduled FC Dallas games. While there is the worry of Shea, Loyd, Rodriguez and Perez coming back to FCD tired after two international games is there, the way things are currently scheduled, they won't miss any games due to World Cup Qualifying.

The Olympic soccer tournament is the one big problem which could cause Shea & Rodriguez to miss major time with the tournament starting on July 25. Should the United States get eliminated at the group stage, the final game will be August 1, if they go to the quaterfinals August 4, semifinals would mean Shea staying in England through August 11.

Assuming he leaves a week early to join the Olympic team, Shea would miss July 18 at San Jose, July 21 vs Portland, July 28 vs Los Angeles, August 5 vs Portland and the US Open Cup final on August 8(knock on wood). Of course the US could make the final, but I would anticipate the team going no farther than the quarterfinals, though should the advance to the semis the USA would stay in England through the bronze medal game.

The luxury of this situation is that by the middle of July, FC Dallas will know the dynamics of the team much better and if they will need to bring in another winger during the summer transfer window. The most unfortunate thing about it, however, is these four league games are all against Western Conference opponents. While you always cheer for your internationals to do as well as possible with their club teams, I think Schellas wouldn't mind a USA v Panama Olympic qualifying semifinal as only one of those teams would advance to London.

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