For months now we have been speculating and discussing FC Dallas and the USL PRO set up. This week we've seen two more MLS clubs add their own USL PRO teams to the mixer for 2015.
Unfortunately as we all know the club will not be utilizing a full Reserve team in the third division like several MLS clubs are going to be doing in 2015. Instead, the club is taking the affiliate route for at least one season. As it stands today, FC Dallas is one of three teams (if you want you can add Chivas in there as number four) that do not have an affiliate or a plan to field a full reserve team in the third division.
As the end of the season draws near, the speculation is continuing to grow as to who the affiliate might actually be. In a recent chat with fans, club president Dan Hunt stated that the team was close to finalizing a deal.
We are finalizing our deal with an affiliate now. We have found an organization that is philosophically similar to us here at FC Dallas. Their leadership team is outstanding and we are very excited about what they will help us do here. Stay tuned.
The USL PRO is expanding quite a bit in 2015 with teams in Colorado Springs, Austin and Tulsa joining the mix. I single those three out for a reason since they are geographically the closest teams to be joining next year without a current affiliate. But let's not forget the team in Arizona, which is still without a MLS affiliate at the moment as well.
Colorado Springs is certainly the wildcard of the bunch. While geographically it is not as close as Austin or Tulsa, there could be a chance their organization is what FCD is looking for in a partner. We have to remember that Oscar Pareja may have a big say in who the club partners with and given his time in the state of Colorado in the two years he coached the Rapids he might be up for this idea.
Arizona gets a mention purely on the fact that the club has some ties to the team already. This past season Jonathan Top enjoyed a fairly decent loan spell with the desert club. Former FCD defender Michael Dellorusso coaches the team as well. Dellorusso knows what the FCD front office is looking for in terms of philosophy and leadership.
But the two closest teams geographically are Tulsa and Austin. Both make sense for that reason alone that any player loaned to the USL could be brought back up a bit quicker than if they were in Colorado or Arizona.
No matter who the team will be that FCD is aligning with in 2015, you still get a strong sense that FCD dropped the ball in a big way with not making any sort of announcement on this subject sooner. That and not fielding a USL PRO team all together is a massive disappointment to many of us here. All we can hope for is that the front office is using the next year to truly get all of their ducks in a row in terms of coaching staff, leadership and all the other odds and ends that need to happen for this to work.