[HOMEGROWN WATCH] Only eight months after signing with FC Dallas from its academy program, Ruben Luna is its first striker off the bench. He came close to scoring his first goal but was denied brilliantly by San Jose goalie Jon Busch late in FCD's 2-0 loss to the Earthquakes on Saturday.
Luna, who turned 19 in January, was born in Ciudad Victoria, Mexico, and attended North Mesquite High School in Texas. He was one of the first players to enter the FC Dallas Juniors program and was the Under-15/16 Development Academy Player of the Year in 2009-10.
After making four appearances off the bench during the regular season and one during FCD's run to MLS Cup 2010, Luna is hoping for a breakout season in 2011.
He was invited for the first time to the Mexican under-20 national team in January but is not part of the group that is in Guatemala for the Concacaf Under-20 Championship.
U.S. UNDER-20 UPDATE. Defenders Moises Hernandez (FC Dallas) and Sacir Hot (New York) are the MLS homegrown representatives on the U.S. under-20 national team that begins its bid to qualify for the 2011 Under-20 World Cup in Colombia on Tuesday when it faces Suriname in Concacaf qualifying in Guatemala City.
Hernandez, a left back, was promoted from FC Dallas Juniors to the first team at the same time Luna was last summer. Hernandez's father hails from Guatemala, and Hernandez will have relatives on hand to support him at the U-20 tournament at Mateo Flores Stadium.
Hot, a center back born to Albanian parents, played two seasons for Boston College and trialed at Borussia Moenchengladbach in Germany before signing with the Red Bulls.
Neither is expected to start in Tuesday's opener. The backline should consist of Zarek Valentin (Chivas USA), Gabe Agbossoumonde (Djurgarden), Perry Kitchen (D.C. United) and Korey Veeder (Columbus Crew).
MORGAN HELD BACK. Russell Teibert, who started the first two games for Vancouver, is one of three homegrown players representing Canada at the Concacaf Under-20 Championship, which began Monday with a 2-1 win over Guadeloupe in Guatemala.
Toronto FC's Doneil Henry and Matt Stinson are also in Guatemala, but a third TFC academy product, Ashtone Morgan, remained with the club due to the red-card suspension of Belgian Mikael Yourassowsky. Morgan came on against Portland after Yourassowsky's red card.
FUTURE PROSPECTS. Marcus Salandy-Defour, one the top high school juniors in the D.C. United academy program, scored in United's 4-1 win over New England in MLS Reserve League action. Suli Dainkeh, a high school sophomore, also started while St. John's-bound Cody Albrecht came on after the break for D.C.
Mitchell Taintor, a junior from Willimantic, Conn., started for the Revs on defense, while Yannick Kalaba, who will play at Southern New Hampshire, came on at halftime, and Dominik Machado, another high school junior, came on late in the game.
CHIRGADZE GONE. In last week's Homegrown Watch, we reported that Chivas USA's Cesar Zamora was the first homegrown player to be cut by an MLS club. But earlier in the month, the New York Red Bulls' Giorgio Chirgadze had that dubious distinction.
Chirgadze immigrated to Brooklyn from Georgia in 2003 and signed with the Red Bulls as their first homegrown signing in 2009. He attended two years of high school and then got his GED. He'd take public transportation to get from Brooklyn to Red Bull practices in New Jersey. A hip injury sidelined the 20-year-old midfielder for all of the 2010 season.
2011 HOMEGROWN PLAYERS
GP-G PLAYER TEAM
2-0 Nizar Khalfan (Vancouver)
2-0 Ruben Luna (FC Dallas)
2-0 Andy Najar (D.C. United)
2-0 Russell Teibert (Vancouver)
1-1 Juan Agudelo (New York)
1-0 Tristan Bowen (Chivas USA)
1-0 Keith Makubuya (Toronto FC)
1-0 Ashtone Morgan (Toronto FC)