Currently, we're in the middle of a two-week Copa America break. FC Dallas are sitting high and pretty in the Western Conference standings and don't have another game for a week so this may be the perfect time to conjure this up before the games start coming up thick and fast again.
With there not being much to cover that hasn't already been, it's a time to get creative and do something out of the ordinary as this week comes to an end. So that's why the topic here will be trying to create a lineup of eleven players that either a) were born in Dallas or b) started their careers somewhere in Dallas. It also has to be entirely made up of players that are still active in the game today and not already retired. Let's do this.
Jesse Gonzalez (Age: 21 / Criteria met: Started his career in Dallas)
Our very own Mexican prodigy takes his place in goal having played for DAL youth club C.D. Independiente and graduating through the FCD academy without too much competition, despite not quite having as much game time as he'd have liked this year. There just aren't too many goalkeepers out there that fit either of the criteria, which probably says something about the city of Dallas' abilities to produce good pro keepers, but Jesse is a big talent and certainly deserves to be in this team on merit too.
London Woodberry (Age: 25 / Criteria met: Born AND started his career in Dallas)
The central defender will take his place in the team as a right-back having been born in McKinney and having started out in FCD's academy at an early age. With very few right fullbacks to choose from that suit the criteria available, Woodberry makes the cut with the simple fact that he's playing in MLS right now and getting ample amounts of playing time with New England Revolution in the last couple of years.
Drew Moor (Age: 32 / Criteria met: Born in Dallas)
The former FCD defender and captain, who's now plying his trade in Toronto FC, is in the team having been born in Dallas and having started his career at the Episcopal School of Dallas before later on playing for FCD having been drafted into the team in 2005. Not many Dallas-produced defenders have the resume that Moor has in his pro career so he easily takes a spot here.
Omar Gonzalez (Age: 29 / Criteria met: Born AND started his career in Dallas)
Definitely the best active defender that was produced in Big D. Gonzalez was born in the city and played for the Dallas Texans at youth level before going on to achieve big things in his career. He's amassed thirty-one caps for the USMNT and won three MLS Cups with LA Galaxy before moving on to Pachuca this year. Certainly a very accomplished player in his own right and deservedly makes it here.
Greg Garza (Age: 24 / Criteria met: Born AND started his career in Dallas)
The Grapevine-born versatile defender has been fairly successful in his career so far with enjoyed success at Club Tijuana and nine caps earned for the USMNT. Originally started his journey with the Dallas Texans, he is naturally a left-back and takes that position in the team here.
Kellyn Acosta (Age: 20 / Criteria met: Born AND started his career in Dallas)
One of the biggest talents to ever come through the FCD academy, Acosta was born in Plano and finds a place in the XI as expected. At just 20, he's got a very long career hopefully ahead of him and with the quality and versatility he's displayed in the first team over the last three years, it's scary to imagine just how far he can go in his career going forward.
Victor Ulloa (Age: 24 / Criteria met: Started his career in Dallas)
Another one of the midfielders in the current first team that made it through the club's academy, Ulloa was actually originally released in 2013 before returning under new manager Oscar Pareja the following year and has established himself as one of the team's most consistent players ever since.
Emerson Hyndman (Age: 20 / Criteria met: Born AND started his career in Dallas)
Hyndman may be getting interest from the likes of Milan and Dortmund now, but the talented midfielder's roots go right back to Dallas where he started his career with the Dallas Texans and later in the FCD academy but left to go to English club Fulham in 2011 before he made his first team debut. Also born in the city, Hyndman has won two caps for the USMNT and may win plenty more depending on the next career move he makes and how successful he is with it.
Lee Nguyen (Age: 29 / Criteria met: Born AND started his career in Dallas)
Nguyen was actually born in Richardson and played for Plano East Senior High School before moving on to the Dallas Texans later on and eventually going to Europe shortly afterwards. He didn't have much success there before moving to his native Vietnam and later on New England Revolution where he's made a name for himself as one of the best attacking midfielders in MLS ever since, earning nine USMNT caps since 2007 in the process.
Brek Shea (Age: 26 / Criteria met: Started his career in Dallas)
Shea was born in College Station, but began his career and made a name for himself up north here in Dallas. He initially started out with the Dallas Texans before moving to Florida and later returning to play for the FCD first team, where he was a big success in an attacking role. He even made his USMNT debut while at the club and has earned thirty-four caps since 2010 and although he plays nowadays as a left-back with Orlando City, following a short European stint in England, he takes his place in the position where he mostly played at FCD on the left wing.
Clint Dempsey (Age: 33 / Criteria met: Started his career in Dallas)
And last but not least, the most recognized name ever produced in Dallas. Dempsey spent his formative years with the Dallas Texans where he spent three years and from there on, he's gone on to make history. Fifty goals in a twelve year USMNT career and five straight multi-goal seasons in England and MLS with Fulham, Tottenham, and Seattle Sounders and a status earned as one of the biggest names in American soccer history makes him the most coveted player in the lineup and one heck of a focal point in the attack.
So there you have it, the starting XI of players who either were born in and/or started their career paths in Dallas here is:
London Woodberry - Drew Moor - Omar Gonzalez - Greg Garza
Kellyn Acosta - Victor Ulloa
Lee Nguyen - Emerson Hyndman - Brek Shea
4-2-3-1 is the formation, just as the template that Pareja uses for the current FCD team. The lineup altogether combines for 218 USMNT caps, which is a huge number that not many cities in the country can match in terms of produced players. There's also three MLS Cups, one Liga MX Apertura title, two Eredivisie titles, and three CONCACAF Gold Cup triumphs accumulated altogether there. Quite a trophy laden, successful team of players.
It's a lineup that truly befits and deserves the title of being called the Dallas Dream Team. And who knows, maybe we could even see some of them emerge as future targets and eventually players for the FC Dallas first team. Certainly not a bad bunch to look at if Pareja and Fernando Clavijo are in the market looking for someone.