blog

FC Dallas

24 June 9:41 pm

I just went 2/9 on my weekend picks. This was after going 2/6 midweek.

It’s not because I’m bad at picking games (though lord knows, I’m not good), but it’s because the parity in MLS is just that hard to get a handle on these days. This is a league where players like Branko Boskovic and Chris Rolfe come off the bench, where Danny Koevermans goes from misfiring back to deadeye, and where a nine-point week is enough to vault you back into the playoff race.

Turns out the Galaxy aren’t dead yet

Sorry, I know this is going to annoy a lot of you. It’s always fun to try to shovel dirt on the champs – doubly so when it’s a high-profile team.

But it turns out that was premature. LA just rattled off three straight wins, including two by shutout. It’s too early to say they’ve returned to their 2011 form, but it’s also clearly too late to take back all the nasty stuff we’ve said about them over the past couple of months.

One thing to bear in mind: David Beckham said it came down to being happy and loose in the locker room, and that it’s cleared up only in the past couple of weeks. So whatever it was that was eating away at LA’s commitment went away when Robbie Keane did. Will it return now that he has?

“Emergency Defender” proving a rock in Philly

Last week John Hackworth said that youngster Amobi Okugo would be playing in central defense for the time being as an emergency measure. If his first two games there are any indication, he may never get a chance to move back to the midfield.

Okugo is simply excellent when the game is being played in front of him, showing good anticipation and understanding of both when and how to play outlets to the midfield. He’s also big and strong enough (6-foot, 170 pounds) to bully around in the box when it comes down to that.

Most importantly, though, he’s just a better player when he doesn’t have to have 360 degree awareness. This isn’t unusual – d-mids tend to mature later than other players precisely because it’s such a complex position.

But Philly already have two veterans (Brian Carroll and Gabriel Gomez) for that spot, and are paper-thin in defense. And the US… well, we know all about the plethora of defensive-minded central midfielders available to Jurgen Klinsmann.

There are, however, precious few young central defenders who’ve impressed on a game-to-game basis. Okugo’s off to a good start in that regard. Let’s hope he stays there, and we see a bit of him in the red, white and blue this January.

Why not build more Gordons?

Alan Gordon didn’t just become a good soccer player overnight. He’s always had a great passing eye, a good understanding of where to be in build-up play and a willingness to stick his nose in. Even if he’s not a 90-minute player, he’s still valuable. The past two months – and past two games especially – have been proof enough of that.

The thing is, though, that Gordon (and his teammate Steven Lenhart) were built by years of practice and occasional game time. Each of them took several years to get up to speed, and now the Quakes are reaping the rewards of both LA’s and Columbus’ hard work.

Which begs the question: Why don’t more teams take on young guys like Gordon and Lenhart then groom them for that specific role? While combing through MLS rosters, the only ones I’ve seen who are really, truly doing that are Columbus (with Tom Heinemann and Aaron Schoenfeld), Houston (Cam Weaver and Colin Rolfe) and New England (Blake Brettschneider).

None of these guys are truly ready right now – though Brettschneider is close, and Heinemann would have gotten there this season if not for his injury – but in two years, all of these guys can be looked at as Gordon or Lenhart-types.

Or, if you want to go with the original model: Brian Ching-types.

So yeah, putting a guy like that – a true center forward – out there may not be what Vicente del Bosque would do. But no MLS team is going to have Xavi, Iniesta, Silva, Fabregas and Busquets to call on. If you’re not Spain, chances are you’ll need a target.

I’d want my team already hard at work making one.

12 June 4:16 pm

2012 hasn't been particularly kind of FC Dallas on the field, but it seems the return of El Capitán, the cannon awarded to the winner of the Dallas-Houston rivalry, could go a long way toward increasing morale.

At least that's the message I'm getting from the club's most recent video offering, an immensely enjoyable dub over featuring many of the squad ahead of Saturday's match on ESPN2.

Although there is some debate around MLS Digital HQ about FC Dallas' dance moves – the feelings range from envy to embarrassment – I've got to give Schellas Hyndman's side credit ... they really embraced the concept.

My favorite moment from FC Dallas' ode to El Capitán? The scene from 1:35 until 1:59 with David Ferreira waltzing in from left to right to start things off and Jair Benítez flashing a megawatt smile throughout.

29 May 5:03 pm

Schellas Hyndman is not a man worth messing with. Fortunately for MLS fans, comprehensive video backing that assertion up pops up from time to time.

The latest proof that pushing Hyndman too far is a terrible, no good, very bad idea comes from this video of the FC Dallas manager dropping a grown man to his knees with barely a touch. Hyndman was taking part in a radio interview that turned from soccer to, apparently, submission moves, prompting the black belt to demonstrate on one of his interviewers.

In case you were unaware of the former SMU head coach’s martial arts prowess, read this story from 2008 detailing Hyndman’s upbringing and eventual status as a master of self-defense. It’s fascinating stuff.

And in case you need further proof, here is a well-worn video that cements Hyndman as MLS’ toughest head coach (you can skip ahead to the 16-second mark).

29 May 3:16 pm

Total Points – Dwayne De Rosario (89)

With Thierry Henry missing several weeks due to a hamstring injury, DeRo has taken over as the No. 1 player in Fantasy Soccer: Manager.  He’s had a weeks of 10, 15 and 20 points, and his most recent point output was the most by a single player thus far in 2012.  DeRo has 20+ more points than the next closest midfielder, making him a legitimate threat every week and a player you can build your team around.

Percentage Owned – Jay DeMerit (35.3)

DeMerit has been the most widely selected player in FS: M the entire season. Thirty-five percent of all managers currently have him on their roster. The second-closest player is Kenny Cooper (28 percent). At one point, DeMerit had the highest score of any defender, but lately he’s been slipping. D.C. United players Daniel Woolard and Brandon McDonald, Aurélien Colin, and even teammate Lee Young-Pyo have since leapfrogged DeMerit, so only time will tell if it’s his worldwide fame or his actual production that makes him the most “popular” player in MLS.

Crosses & Key Passes – Graham Zusi (33) & (34)

Zusi has calmed down slightly after a fast start, but his 33 crosses are still seven better than the next closest player. Three successful crosses equals one bonus point, so Zusi could’ve potentially gained an additional 11 points for his efforts thus far. He also leads the league in Key Passes (34) and has seven more than the next closest player in this category as well. Zusi should continue to be one of the most coveted midfielders due to his time on the ball and SKC’s all-out attack style offense.

Big Chances Fluffed – Dominic Oduro (7)

One of the fastest – if not the fastest – players in MLS has been a huge bust in 2012. In the four games in which Oduro has scored, he’s tallied six or more points each time. However, in every other game this season (eight games) he’s managed just two points or less. In his last seven games he’s put up one point or less on six different occasions. Oduro is getting great looks, but he’s missing every single one of them. He leads all players in BCFs and has been deducted seven points total because of it. At this point, he’s more of a risk than anything.

CBI’s – A.J. Soares (123)

My initial pick for Defender of the Year is not having a sophomore slump by any means. His 123 CBIs (clearances, blocks and interceptions combined) leads all players and he’ll likely widen the gap with two games coming up in Week 13. Only three other players have more than 100 CBIs and none of them will be under more pressure than Soares should the rest of the season. He’s an absolute ball shark, but has never really been a threat on set pieces. One can only hope that his recent goal will encourage Jay Heaps to push him up more often.

Recoveries – Osvaldo Alonso (136)

Disregarding goalkeepers, there’s a tight battle for the title of “the best second-ball winner” in MLS. Alonso currently leads Dax McCarty (133) by only three recoveries, but that’s pretty much his only competition. Kyle Beckerman has the third most with 100, and it looks as if his absence due to national team duty will only widen the margin. Alonso has gained 19 bonus points already from recoveries so expect him to keep this all season long.

Transfers In – Nick DeLeon (3,800+)

When David Estrada (3,500+ transfers) started cooling down, DeLeon became all the talk. The D.C. United rookie is currently the most added player with over 3,800 transfers. His value started at $5.5m and quickly made its way to $6.8m. Now that he’s back from injury don’t expect him to return to his previous form. When DeLeon was clicking, DeRo and Salihi were in a slump. Now that they’re back in form, expect DeLeon to take a back seat. He’s still valuable, but not as much as he was back in April.

Dream Team – Kenny Cooper (4)

No one has made the “Dream Team” more times this season than Kenny Cooper, but you have to credit Thierry Henry with helping him reach this point. Coop-dog has scored six or more points on nine different occasions in 2012, making him one of the most consistent forwards in MLS. He continued to put up numbers even when Henry was out, so look for him to only get better now that he’s returned.

25 May 7:55 pm

You have an iPhone. You use it all the time. You sing songs to it. You need it. You love it. Maybe a little too much.

Maybe you sleep with it under your pillow. Maybe you grouse to it about your boss. Maybe you tell it about that one time in college when you... well, that's between you and Siri. Because Siri understands.

Siri also understands updates. She loves 'em. And we love 'em, too.

So here's the MLS iOS app update, which was just approved in the store.

CLICK ME!

Key new features:

  • Condensed games for MLS live subscribers
  • Enhanced highlight ui
  • New live ui
  • Bug fixes

Oh, and Android users? Your update is coming. Be patient.

 

Sent from my flip phone.

24 May 12:29 pm

Los atacantes latinos en la MLS sacaron las garras este miércoles, anotando tremendos golazos en la Fecha 12 de la temporada regular (mira los goles aquí). Sin embargo, la controversia también estuvo presente, y Marco Pappa estuvo en el centro de ella.

El volante guatemalteco anotó el gol del triunfo por 2-1 del Fire ante FC Dallas luego de que el portero Kevin Hartman tapara un penal de Sebastián Grazzini al minuto 63. El chapín fue quien llegó de primero al rebote para poner el balón al fondo de la red.

¿La critica?

Los jugadores de Dallas se quejaron del posicionamiento de Pappa al momento de que Grazzini cobra el penal, argumentando que el centroamericano se adelantó prematuramente, tomando ventaja sobre los defensas texanos.

¿Debió el árbitro Hilario Grajeda invalidar la acción?  

Ustedes son los jueces…

27 April 6:21 pm

Otra semana pasa y nos alistamos para otra jornada de la MLS.

FC Dallas y Real Salt Lake ya comenzaron la Fecha 8 con un partido que terminó en un frustrante empate para ambos clubes.

Ahora viene el plato fuerte, y como hemos tomado de costumbre, ofrecemos nuestros pronósticos para esta fecha.

Aquí en Tiro Libre no somos adivinos, pero si muy competitivos. Así que veremos quien de estos panelistas tiene razón en su manera de ver el juego y analizar los equipos.

Como siempre, ustedes nos pueden acompañar en esta causa y dar sus propias predicciones por Twitter.

Aquí vamos:

Semana 8

Partido

Kristel Valencia
Editora

Edgar Acero
Editor Asociado

Simon Borg
Senior Editor

Carlos Rodriguez
Editor de Video

MTL v POR
(Sab, 2 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

NY v NE
(Sab, 3:30 ET)

PHI v SJ
(Sab, 7 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

DC v HOU
(Sab, 7:30 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

CLB v VAN
(Sab, 7:30 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

EMPATE

CHI v SEA
(Sab, 8:30 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

COL v CHV
(Sab, 9 ET)

EMPATE

RSL v TOR
(Sab, 9 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

LA v DAL
(Sab, 10:30 ET)

Correcto/Total

 

4/9

 

 

4/9

 

 

3/9

 

 

4/9

 

26 April 10:59 am

Après Cruz Azul (1969 à 1971 ; 1996-1997) et Pachuca (2007-2008), Monterrey est devenu le troisième club de l’histoire à conserver son titre de champion de la Concacaf.

Vainqueurs 2-0 à l’aller, les Rayados ont soupiré de soulagement tôt dans la rencontre quand leur gardien Orozco s'en tira avec un carton jaune pour une faute de main en dehors de son rectangle. Orozco fut le héros de la première mi-temps, animée par un duo Quintero – Peralta très en verve. Il ne put toutefois rien sur une puissante frappe de Ludueña juste avant le repos. La seconde période reprit au même rythme, jusqu’à ce qu’un but de Peralta ne rétablisse l’égalité parfaite.

Les pensionnaires de Torréon ont alors levé le pied, laissant leur adversaire revenir dans le match. À moins de 10 minutes de la fin, Cardozo s’infiltra dans la défense pour marquer le but scellant le destin de cette finale (2-1 - résumé vidéo).

Il y avait aussi de l’action hier soir en MLS, où l’opposition de styles prévue s’est confirmée : Dallas a ouvert la marque sur un coup de pied arrêté (penalty converti par Shea) face à Salt Lake qui a égalisé sur une action longuement construite parachevée par le débutant Bonfigli (1-1 - résumé vidéo).

25 April 11:17 am

Battu 2-0 lors du match aller à Monterrey, Santos Laguna réussira-t-il un nouvel exploit devant ses supporters en finale de la Ligue des champions ? Les changements à l’attaque modifieront-ils la dynamique de ce duel ? Le tenant du titre sera privé de l’auteur des deux buts du match aller, Humbert Suazo, suspendu pour abus de cartons jaunes. De son côté la formation de Torréon peut à nouveau compter sur son buteur Oribe Peralta.

Un match de MLS est aussi au programme de la soirée : Dallas accueille Salt Lake. Les Texans sont surtout efficaces sur phases arrêtées alors que les pensionnaires de l’Utah marquent davantage sur attaques posées : qui remportera ce duel de styles ? Avec deux des équipes les plus prolifiques dans le dernier quart d’heure, on est aussi en droit d’imaginer une fin de match spectaculaire.

Enfin, comment ne pas évoquer les déclarations d’Aron Winter, faisant preuve d’une belle assurance en affirmant qu’il comptait voir son équipe participer à la phase finale de la saison, malgré les six défaites concédées par le Toronto FC depuis le début du championnat. Selon vous, fait-il preuve de réalisme ou d’optimisme démesuré ?

LIGUE DES CHAMPIONS
20h00 : Santos Laguna (Mex) - Monterrey (Mex) (aller 0-2)

MLS
20h30 : Dallas - Salt Lake

Toutes les heures HE (heure de New York et Montréal)
Horaire télé des matchs de Ligue des champions et de  MLS

20 April 4:43 pm

Vaya semana para hacer pronósticos…

Nos enmudecimos la jornada anterior pero regresamos en esta fecha para desafiar al futuro y predecir lo que ocurrirá en los partidos de la Jornada 7 de la temporada regular.

El Gringo Simon Borg tuvo algo de suerte en la Jornada 5 y nos ganó a todos, mientras que Kristel y yo tenemos que desempatar esta semana. Carlos por su parte... pobre Carlos.

En fin, los verdaderos expertos son ustedes, los aficionados, así que como siempre esperamos que también nos den sus predicciones en los comentarios abajo o por Twitter en @Futbol_MLS.

Deséenme suerte, y los dejo con esto:

ESCUCHA: El Matador Luis Hernández opina sobre la suspensión a Rafa Márquez  

Semana 7

Partido

Kristel Valencia
Editora

Edgar Acero
Editor Asociado

Simon Borg
Editor Senior

Carlos Rodriguez
Editor de Video

TOR v CHI
(Sab, 3:30 ET)

EMPATE

CLB v HOU
(Sab 7:30 ET)

EMPATE

COL v LA
(Sab, 9 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

VAN v DAL
(Sab, 10 ET)

EMPATE

CHV v PHI
(Sab, 10:30 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

EMPATE

SJ v RSL
(Sab, 10:30 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

POR v SKC
(Sab, 10:30 ET)

EMPATE

DC v NY
(Dom, 6 ET)

EMPATE

EMPATE

Correcto/Total

 

2/8

 

 

2/8

 

 

1/8

 

 

5/8