FRISCO, TX - JUNE 23: Brek Shea #20 of the FC Dallas reacts after missing a shot on goal during the first half of a soccer game against Chivas USA at FC Dallas Stadium on June 23, 2012 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)
Was hoping to get this started earlier in the week, but the jersey sponsor and a long day at work this afternoon has prevented me from getting this stuff out. First up is our FC Dallas mid-season awards. Just three from us, though if you have others feel free to include them in the comments!
Alfredo Cuvi(ArchLobster) - Blas Perez
It has to be Blas Perez. We can go over what we've already acknowledged about him leading in assists and goals, or you can use the eyeball test to see how well he holds up play and his runs off the ball. Either way it isn't particularly close regarding the midseason MVP. Without Blas we would...Well, let's not go there shall we? A world without Blas is not a world I wish to imagine. It must be a dark, cold place where no one loves you.
Drew Epperley - Zach Loyd
MVP: Zach Loyd. Aside from one game he was the most consistent player for FCD.
Daniel Robertson - Blas Perez
Where would Dallas be without this guy? One of seven players in the league with at least five goals and three assists, leading the team in both categories. Simply put, he's the target forward that Schellas Hyndman has been searching for since arriving in Dallas and it's going to be fascinating to see how he works with Shea, Jackson and Ferreira. You really couldn't have asked for anything more out of the guy and hopefully he's here for another few years to come.
Steve Fenn (fennsk1) - Blas Perez
In the 4 games Blas missed, FC Dallas lost twice and tied twice (.5 ppg). His 13 matches included all 3 of Dallas' wins, 3 more ties, and 7 losses (.93 ppg). That's a tiny sample size, but based on what I've seen in the matches he missed I don't think it's a coincidence.
13 matches: 5 goals, 3 assists, 30 shots (14 on goal). His Castrol Index score of 688 is 22nd in MLS, and 13% better than the 2nd best FCD player according to the Index (Brek).
Biggest Positive Surprise
Daniel Robertson - Matt Hedges
This one is kind of a slam dunk. He was thrust into the lineup through some tough circumstances and has stepped up to the plate big time. A George John starter kit, Hedges looks to be developing into an integral part of the FCD back line for years to come and has shown he is already a player in this league. I think many teams are going to be wondering just how he fell all the way to #11 in the SuperDraft.
Also, an honorable mention goes to Ricardo Villar who carried this team offensively through the first 5 games of the season. It's really a shame that he picked up his injury because the Brazilian looked to be in his best form for Dallas at the time.
Alfredo Cuvi - Matt Hedges
What a stud this guy has turned out to be! He reminds me of Loyd bursting onto the scene by necessity against Columbus back in 2010. Back then, Loyd looked raw and a bit tentative, but his fitness and man-marking were quite good and he made a spectacular save off the line to save a goal.
Much like that, Hedges has come into the team by necessity and has contributed, of all things, goals. It was plenty nice to see him do pretty darn well at centerback, but seeing him be a threat on set pieces is a huge bonus. Great pick defensively and with Ugo locked in for a while, things are looking good at CB for the future.
Drew Epperley - Matt Hedges
Hedges. The rookie has been every bit as good as we'd hope he'd be.
Steve Fenn - Matt Hedges
His rookie mistakes have been rare, his aerial game is just beastly, and his development will make a George John trade pretty easy to stomach (especially when/if my choice for biggest disappointment clears up).
3rd on the team in the Castrol Index at 554, despite only playing 587 minutes.
Drew Epperley - Emotional Intelligence
lack of emotional intelligence, in other words too many red cards.
Daniel Robertson - Fabian Castillo
Much like we just talked about Matt Hedges seizing his opportunity, I've been disappointed by Fabian Castillo not being able to put it together to become a major offensive player. Only 1 goal and 1 assist in 11 starts is not enough, though I will cut him some slack on the assist numbers as he's put tons of good stuff into the area that wasn't finished.
The part that frustrates me the most with Fabian is how much he tends to drift out of games waiting to get the ball rather than demanding it from his teammates. Hopefully the return of David Ferreira brings the best out of Castillo.
Alfredo Cuvi - Brek Shea
For reasons that are largely out of his control, Shea has been fairly ineffective this season so far. A lot of that has to do with relying on a third string CAM with both Villar and Ferreira out, some of it has to with his crosses finding no one (Perez and Castiilo suspended or hurt at various points), and some of it has to do with injuries. He managed to get himself suspended because of that bone-headed move to kick the ball at the linesman in Columbus, a move which doesn't help his standing. That was a hefty suspension, but we can forgive one of those a year perhaps, especially from our best players.
While I do not think Shea will continue on this form, he does need to find a way to take it to the next level when the people around him are faltering. On the dribble and up close to the net, I have blind faith that he is capable.
He does need to improve that first touch though...
Steve Fenn - Ugo Ihemelu's concussion
Injuries in general would be an easy choice, but I'd like to highlight the least dramatic and most concerning injury of the season. According Schellas in Todd Date's piece on 3rd degree, the captain's concussion wasn't the result of one collision, but "number of repetitions on head balls that kind of shook up his brain." That is chilling, and you have to be concerned for Ihemelu beyond his contributions to our favorite club.
He's certainly missed on the pitch, too, ranking 4th on the team in the Castrol Index for the 900 minutes he was able to play (significantly outpacing George John and Hernan Pertuz). If he's unable to regularly head the ball going forward, his concussions might necessitate a position change or (I hate to mention the possibility) retirement. After all, what's the use of a central defender who can't head the ball?