Big game tonight as the United States faces off against Panama down in Panama City at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez, familiar to FC Dallas fans from that debacle against Tauro FC last year. Tonight's game won't be any normal friendly, however, as the Panama squad includes two of FCD's big off-season signings in Blas Perez and Carlos Rodriguez. We could potentially have four FCD players on the field at one time tonight, the game kicks off at 730PM on Galavision and ESPN3.com...there will be the regulars at both Allen Wickers and Trinity Hall if you feel like watching the game with others.
The projected starting lineup for Panama includes both Dallas players.
Panamá: Luis Mejía, Eduardo Dasent, Rolando Algandona, Eric Vásquez, Carlos Rodríguez, Gabriel Gómez, Juan De Gracia, Alberto Quintero, Amir Waithe, Blas Pérez y Luis Rentería. Entrenador: Julio César Dely Valdés (Panamá).
Brent Latham has a great article for MLSSoccer.com talking about the Panamanian invasion to MLS. He caught up with Carlos Rodriguez as well...
"Blas Pérez is a real reference of Panamanian soccer, it’s going to be great to play with him in Dallas," Rodriguez told MLSsoccer.com after practice on Tuesday. "They say we’ll do preseason there when we arrive, and it will be great to get started in a league like MLS, with all the history and weight that it carries."
One man that will surely figure for the US at some point tonight is Brek Shea...he was honored by US Soccer as the young player of the year.
"This was a fun year for me - a lot of chances with the National Team, FC Dallas and getting to train with Arsenal, Hopefully in 2012 I get a chance to go to the Olympics and be a part of World Cup Qualifying. I'm honored to be part of this award. A lot of great players have won it."
We announced the Dallas Cup Super Group earlier and the story of Richard Sanchez is one we will definitely be following throughout the tournament. We know he would play for FC Dallas, but could he man the nets for Mexico U20 in the tournament? He's been called up to the U18 national team and blogged about it for FCDallas.com.
"We really love Richard Sanchez," said FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman. "What a great story, winning the U17 World Cup with Mexico and signing with FC Dallas last season. It was a really good year for him and his family. He’s a player Mexico obviously has a lot of interest in. Getting called into the Mexican U-18 National Team camp is a natural progression for him."
Adam Crouch writes that Scott Gordon is trying to find a roster spot on his second time around.
"Scott brings very, very good athleticism," Hyndman said. "He’s got good size, a great engine and a great vertical leap. He was an all-state player in high school doing football, track and soccer. That just tells you, in the state of Florida, that he’s pretty special."
Todd Date has been killing it lately with content on 3rd degree and he writes that due to injury, Daniel Cruz may not be long for this team.
Unfortunately for Cruz, he now appears to have a knee issue of his own, which could put him on thin ice with this club going forward. "We don’t know [when Cruz will return]," Hyndman said. "He’s talking about a knee and he probably needs to get surgery. At the end of the year, we talked about [how] he had to come in here and have a really good preseason. It looks like there’s going to be no preseason for him."
He was able to catch up with Schellas on a bunch of random, but interesting topics.
We hope that Ruben will [break out this year] because he plays at a position where we really need but it wouldn’t surprise me if it turns out to be Victor. He’s just a solid player. The thing that hurts Victor is he’s coming along extremely well but what kind of hurts Victor sometimes is he just makes bonehead decisions and you don’t want your center midfielder to be giving the ball away or trying to dribble out of trouble. But he’s hard, he’s aggressive, his body’s turning into a man. I think the green light might be good for him.
English goalkeeper Richard Wright has been training with FC Dallas this week. While his signing is hardly imminent, it's a name to track for the future as Wright could be the next in line once Kevin Hartman decides to hang up the boots.
"We felt like this year we wanted to really raise our goalkeeping situation," Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com. "Last year we carried four goalkeepers, but we weren’t sure who that fourth goalkeeper would be. Instead of signing someone, we have the opportunity to look at a few keepers and see if there’s someone we might want to sign in the summer window or maybe someone we might want to have on our radar for next year."
Ridge Mahoney of Soccer America talked to Brek Shea about a number of topics including Arsenal and CONCACAF away games. Definitely worth reading.
"I definitely enjoyed training with them," he said. "Everyone on the staff and the players were really nice and accepting of me. It taught me a lot. At that level, the expectations are so much higher, but at the same time you’re playing with players that are at the greatest level.
"They help you become a better player because they’re playing faster than we do over here and they know where to be when you’re in trouble, so they give you an option. It definitely helps you to learn that and play better."
John was the star of the show, however, looking calm in possession, strong in the tackle, quick to anticipate danger and generally assured on his first appearance in a claret and blue shirt.
The 24-year-old, whose most-recent action had been in an MLS Play-Off defeat by Thierry Henry's New York Red Bulls in October, is now looking forward to being given the chance to impress in Sam Allardyce's first team.