Howdy folks! The 2013 MLS season is barreling head on at us at full speed. FC Dallas players reported Sunday for the start of preseason training and all teams are now beginning their training routines in preparation for March and the long road ahead to the MLS Cup.
Sunday started out with news that Ugo Ihemelu was at the facility but did not practice with the team. Oh yeah and this:
The bombshell from practice is Ugo Ihemelu's semi dreads are gone. Barely recognize the guy...he didn't practice.— Daniel Robertson (@DRobertsonFCD) January 22, 2013
Their also came news that Brek Shea was actually at the first day of practice but was held out of major drills.
Brek Shea is at FC Dallas training. I see him with my own two eyes. I did not expect that.— Daniel Robertson (@DRobertsonFCD) January 21, 2013
This sighting has become the next odd twist in the the confusing mess that has been the links to his move to Stoke. The latest "news" about what's going on is that the transfer has been rejected by MLS and may be put off until next summer.
It appears the deal to bring the FC Dallas midfielder to England has hit a snag over his valuation, despite the two clubs agreeing a fee in the region of £2 million.
It's amazing how different the numbers that we've been hearing have been. $3.5 million? $4 million? Now £2 million! It's always tough to sift through all of the outside chatter and speculation on moves such as this. For now it doesn't seem that Shea will be heading across the pond until at least this summer. Of course with the way these things go don't be surprised if he leaves tomorrow.
Last night, after the first training session of preseason, FC Dallas head coach Schellas
Hyndman said that holding midfielder James Marcelin would be released on Tuesday. The
Dallas gaffer wasn’t pressed for any details as to why the Haitian-born player wouldn’t be
retained on Monday but Hyndman was asked about it after a Tuesday morning practice and
here’s what he had to say on that very subject.
I have to think that the reason Schellas wasn't pressed for any details is because this is the least surprising FC Dallas news in the past 2 months. Marcelin was a low risk, fill in guy and he served his purpose during an injury heavy year for the Hoops. There's no way the team could justify using an international spot on him this year.
Todd also noted on Tuesday that there has been a notable absence at training camp for the first few days.
For a second straight day, Ricardo Villar was nowhere to be found as FC Dallas took the
practice field for a morning session on Tuesday. There is already some speculation about
whether or not the veteran midfielder figures into FCD’s plans for 2013 and beyond.
This is a little surprising to me because while Villar hasn't necessarily been an All-Star for FCD he had some great moments last season before his injury. I'm hoping, as Todd noted, that Clavijo has something up his sleeve in the way of a signing. As always with trade rumors and roster moves: stay tuned!
One interesting thing worth tracking is the Copa CentroAmericana and how it could affect Blas Perez's availability for the summer. In a tournament where five of seven teams qualify for the Gold Cup, Panama finds themselves in the fifth place game against Guatemala on Friday. Blas would likely miss five games this summer if Panama qualifies for the Gold Cup...I hate to root against them but...ya know.
FC Dallas drafted midfielders Cameron Brown, TJ Nelson and Cam Wilder as well as goalkeeper Kyle Zobeck in the 2013 MLS Supplemental Draft, held today via conference call.
The four players will now join FC Dallas for preseason training camp, which opened Monday at FC Dallas Stadium.
I am certainly no college expert that can give you a little insight into who these players are and if they have a real chance to make the team. Lucky for all of us we have Daniel for those kind of things. Check out his breakdown here on BigDSoccer.com for a little more knowledge on the newest Hoops.
To get your own first look at this year's FC Dallas squad make sure you get out to Frisco this Friday for Friends and Family Night. There will be an open practice, a meet and great with players, food and beverage discounts, and a 30 minute U-15 Academy scrimmage. I know I'll be there and I hope to see you guys out at the stadium!
With the looming addition of a second MLS franchise in New York there has been a lot of discussion about the growth of MLS soccer and how well it has been competing in the incredibly crowded US sports market.
Seth Vertelney over at Goal.com has written a cool piece about how he believes that MLS can improve their TV audience. And the way he believes you can grow the game the most might really surprise you.
EPL and Champions League matches have generally fared well on U.S. television. Major League Soccer doesn't need to make soccer fans out of football or basketball or hockey die-hards right now. It needs to convince Manchester United fans to also follow D.C. United.
A great point and problem that doesn't have an easy answer.
I leave you guys with a feel-good story from England's League Cup tournament from ESPNFC.com.
Bradford became the first fourth-tier club to reach the League Cup final for 51 years as they stunned Barclays Premier League strugglers Aston Villa with a 4-3 aggregate victory.
As if things weren't tough enough this year for Aston Villa.... Congratulations though to Bradford on being this year's "giant killers". It's going to be really cool to see a (very) lower tier team possibly playing in a European competition next year.
As always thanks so much for reading! Let us know what you think about all the happenings for FCD and all across the footy world in the comments section below.