FC Dallas has made their first cuts of the off season. Today the team declined the option of four player contracts including two home grown players.
The four casualties were strikers Ruben Luna and Matias Jara and midfielders Bryan Leyva and Bruno Guarda.
Yes folks, Luna and Levya, two players considered the future of this club are now gone from the team. Guarda and Jara weren't shockers at all as neither one really contributed much in 2012.
Sending a message
Declining the option on Levya and Luna sends a clear message to the younger players and future Home Growns to look out. Just because you grow up in the FCD system doesn't mean you are 100% protected for life to be on the team. You still have to work at it and fight for a position.
Both players still have a long future a head of them as long as they get in the right situation. Going forward Dallas just wasn't going to be the right situation for either player.
I'd also imagine that going forward we'll see more HGPs like London Woodberry, a guy that is more seasoned due to college play rather than a 16 year old that is fresh out of the academy.
The management had been a tad grumpy about both players development this season. We saw flashes from both players and at times it seemed that each turned the corner and were destined to play and contribute full time. But with young players there are still growing pains and Luna and Leyva were not immune to that.
I had heard some reports that when the club sent Luna to San Antonio on loan earlier this year that within a couple days of being there he was calling to come home. If you are a young player in this league and your club loans you out, it is for your own good. Luna didn't seem to get the message and the club basically told him to grow up. There may be more to that story than what I've been told but either way you look at it the club tried but the player didn't do enough.
At the end of the day Luna only played in 26 games over three season, starting four times and scored just four goals. Leyva saw limited action in his three years with the club, starting six games (all in 2012). For players that were in the system for three seasons, that isn't a ton of games.
What it all means
This is just the start folks. I've been hinting at some future posts surrounding around the 2013 roster and how it will be built and this in a way kicks it off.
These four players were on my initial cut list for the season, brining my projected open spots for 2013 to six. For those curious about the other spots - I see either Daniel Hernandez retiring or James Marcelin being cut as one and then it comes down to an option being picked up or not on someone like Scott Sealy or the team cutting Ricardo Villar.
This list could grow to as many as eight or 10 when it is all said and done. You have to remember the club is also in contract discussions this winter with Kevin Hartman, George John and Julian de Guzman.
For what it is worth, the club does have options on the following players: Chris Seitz, Jackson Goncalves, Carlos Rodriguez, Sealy, Marcelin, Fabian Castillo and Hernan Pertuz. I wouldn't expect anything crazy to happen with guys like Castillo or Pertuz.
Next step for these players
That sound you hear is the sigh of relief from many FCD fans. I know most of you were ready to see him leave after last season but now Guarda is no longer apart of this club.
Does this mean a MLS club can still get him? You bet.
Same goes for Luna and Leyva. More than likely all of these players will go in the Re-Entry Draft that will be held later this year (Edit: Luna and Leyva are too young for the Re-Entry draft. They must be at least 23, looks like it is the Waiver Draft for them instead). If I am another team looking for a cheap option to come off the bench, I'd go with either Luna or Leyva. Each still has potential and could do well in another environment.