After a blogging overload with MLS Cup, I needed a Thanksgiving break, but we're back. Over the next month, we're going to be taking a look at an overview of each player and their performance for FC Dallas this season. We start alphabetically with Eric Alexander.
Eric Alexander, drafted in the third round out of Indiana, was one of the biggest surprises for FC Dallas this season. The two way midfielder wasted no time in making an impression on Schellas Hyndman with solid performances in the pre-season earning him playing time in the season opener against Houston.
After a couple of substitute appearances, Alexander made his full team debut in the 4-2 FCD Open Cup loss at DC United. He would be pulled at halftime, however, and not be seen on the field again for well over a month. Alexander would struggle to find playing time throughout the first half of the season, but an injury to Dax McCarty in the home game against Salt Lake on July 17 opened the door for the young American to make an impression.
In his first league start, Eric would play 79 solid minutes at Colorado in a 1-1 draw but it was his second league start at DC United in which the Hoosier would stake his claim for a permanent starting spot. Alexander produced a man of the match performance, scoring the game winning goal and adding an assist in a 3-1 Dallas victory.
The DC United game was the beginning of a 10-game starting streak for Alexander in which we would tally two assists and two goals. Dallas would go undefeated in those ten games with five wins and five draws. Overall FC Dallas would go 5-1-6 in the 12 games Alexander appeared in this season with the rookie logging 2 goals and 3 assists on the season. In fact, Alexander's performances have been so impressive this season, he's made Dax McCarty expendable, something that would have sounded crazy last season.
Read on for his best moment of the season, what he needs to work on and an overall season grade
Moment of the season
While the DC United game was no doubt Alexander's best game performance, Eric produced arguably the most exciting moment of the regular season with his slalom, slicing through the defense goal to give FC Dallas the lead against New York.
Week 25 Goal of the Week Nominee: Eric Alexander (via mls)
What to work on
Alexander is pretty clearly being groomed for Daniel Hernandez' spot as the defensive midfielder. He has the work rate, size and passing range to fill the role excellently for years, however Alexander needs to develop a mean streak. Nothing against playing smart clean soccer, but if David Ferreira is being consistently cracked by the opposing team, it's up to Alexander to dish out a little prison justice. It's tough to find much more to criticize about the way the rookie has played.
When coming up with a season grade, you have to take into account the expectations coming into the season as well as his overall play and it's going to be tough to top Alexander in those regards. When you can get 12 high quality starts out of a 3rd round draft pick, you're absolutely thrilled. There's almost no way FCD would have finished as far up the table as they did without the guy from Portage, Michigan
Up Next: Eric Avila