FC Dallas returns to the training field this morning for the first time since departing for Orlando and they have just five training sessions left until opening day. George John is back in Dallas and should be scheduled to join the team in training tomorrow for the first time this year.
A quick public service announcement: tickets for this one are selling very well and if the game doesn't sell out it's going to come very close. Most of the good seats have already sold out, but if you need tickets follow this link and enter the code "FCD" It will get you $15 sideline tickets which is about half the price you're going to pay if you buy them at the gate.
If you're going to the game on Sunday, you'll notice some stadium changes that Doug Quinn talks about a Q&A posted on the FC Dallas website. The story is chocked full of FCD info, way more than I can post here.
In all, FC Dallas has spent over $1,500,000 improving the game-day experience for our fans this offseason. In specific regard to the stage area, we have expanded the Budweiser Beer Garden from last season to create a home for our fans age 21 and up looking for a unique soccer-supporter atmosphere. We have added 225 field-level bleacher seats that include in-seat drink service and are located just a few feet behind MLS legend Kevin Hartman and more importantly, opposing goalkeepers.
MLSSoccer.com is running through their series of season previews and Adam Crouch has the FC Dallas edition. It's definitely a great read and has the David Ferreira saga as the top storyline to follow. He also has a depth chart for the team which is a nice refresher on where things stand.
1. How healthy (and dangerous) is David Ferreira? Ferreira has come alive in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic in Orlando. After going the full 90 vs. Swedish side BK Häcken, the Colombian played the first half of a 4-0 thumping of Orlando City, scoring a PK goal and assisting on another. But the physicality of the first half took its toll on Ferreira, who is now sporting a bruised Achilles tendon. MLS play won’t be any different.
As I mentioned earlier, George John is back and Todd Date writes for 3rd Degree that his return is a boost to the squad.
It’s no big secret that anyone who has watched this team over the last few seasons knows that the pairing of John and Ugo Ihemelu, who was named Dallas’ captain earlier this week, is not only a rock-solid tandem in the middle of the park, but is also a Dynamic Duo that has to be considered one of the best center back combinations in all of Major League Soccer.
He also speculates on whether Schellas Hyndman will make a trade this week. It's certainly something we've discussed on here in the past and I think it's incredibly naieve to think teams aren't doing whatever they can to pry George John away from Dallas. Should Dallas make a trade, they'd need a proven 5-7 goal a year scorer and a wide midfield option.
Hyndman has never been afraid to pull the trigger when he feels like it’s necessary. Remember the trade of Heath Pearce to Chivas USA last February? That was necessitated by completely different reasons, but Schellas has never been afraid to make a deal if he feels like it would improve his club. Just listening to his tone last week, it sounds like he could finally be at that point.
Steve Davis previews the Western Conference for SI.com...if you don't like what he has to say, come to Big D Soccer Pub Night and argue with him!
• Bottom line: Like other challengers to the Galaxy throne, FCD's first 11 looks pretty good -- but quality depth looks a little thin past the salty starters. So much depends on Ferreira's ability to regain the mental edge. His touch and vision are already back, but how quickly will be willing to face the tackles and the clumsy clatterings that are headed his way?
Jeremiah Oshan looks at the MLS MVP candidates and goes homer call with Fredy Montero.
BREK SHEA was just about everyone's MVP pick midway through last season, but an almost unbelievable work load finally caught up with him as he faded badly down the stretch. His schedule is looking far more open this year as FC Dallas won't have CONCACAF Champions League and his national team duty will probably be more confined to the Olympics.
Simon Borg's grades are in from the Walt Disney World Cup and he gave FCD a B+
David Ferreira continues to be the story this preseason. After 90 surprising minutes against BK Häcken, there was the setback of missing the final two matches of the tournament due to a sore Achilles.
They became the FC Dallas of old with Ferreira in the lineup, but the new guys ain’t too shabby. Hernán Pertúz is a rock in the back, Blas Pérez is FCD’s best forward of the Schellas Hyndman era and Carlos Rodríguez adds quality on the left.
But the most intriguing aspect of the tournament for FCD is Brek Shea’s move to forward against Houston. It should have longer legs than the left back experiment of last year.
Kyle McCarthy's Monday MLS Breakdown takes a look at some of the offseason changes within the league and how they will affect 2012. More rivalries! Just not the one that matters to you.
The move to an imbalanced schedule provided the controversial platform for this overarching goal. MLS executives have harped upon the importance of rivalries (this cultural shift seems, on the whole, a bit too contrived and a bit too profit-based to pass muster as an organic movement) and wanted to increase their frequency this season. The board of governors complied by reaching an agreement last year to retain the 34-game schedule and tweak how those matches were distributed.
A sad story as former FCD defender Anthony Wallace has torn his Achilles and will likely miss the entire 2012 season. Really bummed for a great dude and a guy who was just returning from another injury
And finally, FC Dallas Academy has had a bunch of players called up to youth national teams. And the sky is blue.
Dont miss Big D Soccer Pub Night at Mad Tavern on Monday, March 12 starting at 7:30. Beer--Soccer--Prizes (Click for more details)