Jul 7, 2012; Frisco, TX, USA; FC Dallas mascot Tex Hooper before the game against the San Jose Earthquakes at FC Dallas Stadium. FC Dallas tie the Earthquakes 0-0. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE
I never got a chance to talk much about Kellyn Acosta last week with the Julian de Guzman trade so I wanted to take a minute and drop some quick knowledge about the guy FCD added last week.
Acosta is a kid I've been watching for a couple years now at Development Academy & Dallas Cup games and pretty much everyone I've talked to has said the kid is as good as it gets at his age level. One colleague recently asked Maryland coach Sacho Cirovski where he would have Acosta play as the youngster has played at many different positions and the legendary coach said "Wherever the * he wants to."
I was always skeptical that Acosta would go to college as his game seems more polished than many of the younger players you see and at 5-10 150 while still just 16 years old(he turns 17 in a couple weeks), he's got a body that will be MLS sized by the time he is fully developed.
The thing that strikes you about Kellyn and the reason there is so much buzz around the kid in youth soccer circles is his ceiling. Whereas Victor Ulloa is hugely talented and could end up being a decent midfielder in another year or two, you don't see his potential level as high as Acosta's. Kellyn was the captain of the U16s but was brought up to start for the U18s in the playoffs where they allowed 0 goals in 3 games.
The scouting report from my games I've seen of Kellyn is a technically gifted player, good first touch, solid in tight areas and a good sense of where his teammates are to pass to. Acosta is not the type to play a defense-splitting ball, choosing to play the easier pass most of the time, but to his credit he rarely turns the ball over.
A big part of Acosta's development will be figuring out exactly what position for him to play. He has the potential to be a Shalrie Joseph type longer, lanky defensive midfielder that is technical enough to still get forward into the attack and I'd hope Dallas keeps him mostly at defensive midfield.
The thing about Acosta that I also see is he's a boom or bust type player. I think there are one or two more slam-dunk professional prospects in the Dallas system that have yet to be signed, but there is no doubt about it that Acosta has the highest potential of any player in the system and it's great that FCD has him locked up. Now the task becomes getting him more than 10 MLS reserve games every year.
Let's talk Finals Week after the break
Tonight Acosta and FCD U18s start the end to a journey that really began almost two years ago. With Jon Top and Daniel Garcia choosing to stay with their club rather than joining the U20 national team for the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland, FC Dallas heads down to Houston for Development Academy Finals Week with all their bullets available.
Dallas is in a group with Chivas USA, Baltimore Bays & Solar Chelsea with the group winner heading to the championship game a week from tonight. For a full preview of Finals Week, check out JR Eskilson's article for Top Drawer Soccer.
Scott Brown of FCDallas.com has a more FCD centric preview that you should catch also.
Results are not the be all, end all of what Dallas is doing with their academy, but it would certainly be very cool to see FCD solidify their claim to having the top youth program in the country by avenging last year's championship game loss with a title this season. Be sure to follow @FCDallasYouth for updates on the games all week.