Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
MLS Preview: Shea transfer is just one piece of Dallas puzzle
by Ridge Mahoney, February 21st, 2013 6:25PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Confidential

MOST READ
TAGS:  fc dallas, mls

MOST COMMENTED

By Ridge Mahoney

The transfer of midfielder Brek Shea to Premier League club Stoke City dominated the offseason headlines for FC Dallas yet is only one of myriad changes implemented in the wake of a sixth-place finish.

Playmaker David Ferreira, who still led the team with nine assists despite playing only one-half of the 34 games because of lingering injuries, struggled as did many of his teammates. The cost of missing the playoffs was steep. Swept out were veteran goalie Kevin Hartman, Designated Player Julian de Guzman, midfielder Ricardo Villar, and highly touted Ruben Luna and Bruno Guarda as Coach Schellas Hyndman re-tooled after a 9-13-12 season that trailed fifth-place Vancouver by four points.

Off the field, instability reigned after the season ended. Former captain Daniel Hernandez was hired as an assistant coach, only to depart shortly thereafter. CEO and president Doug Quinn took a leave of absence in November in the wake of being arrested for domestic abuse. He formally resigned earlier this week.

To help out Blas Perez (a team-high nine goals) and also provide backup when he’s playing for Panama, Hyndman and technical director Fernando Clavijo swung trades to bring Kenny Cooper back to Dallas and snagEric Hassli from Toronto. Cooper finished second in scoring with 18 goals for New York but never shook the stigma of Thierry Henry being the main reason for his prowess.

Shea’s departure opens up a slot at left mid that can be filled by Jair Benitez, Fabian Castillo or Jackson, and when Hassli gets healthy, he’ll add the aerial presence – from a different position – that Shea sometimes provided. Hyndman has sent out FCD mainly in a 4-4-2 formation during preseason with varying combinations and alignments in midfield.

The team’s fortunes are heavily dependent on Ferreira, and Hyndman is tinkering with methods that maximize his influence. In a 1-0 preseason win over Portland on Wednesday, Hyndman moved Ferreira to the left side and deployed central midfielders Andrew Jacobson and Bobby Warshaw in support of the playmaker and dual forwards Cooper and Perez.

An Achilles’ injury and broken foot suffered during preseason last year sidelined Ferreira until July and he looked gun-shy when he did return. FCD can’t afford a rerun of that production in 2013.

KEY PLAYER MOVES. The return of Cooper to Dallas serves several purposes: he’s a huge threat in the box, he grew up in Dallas and has a long history with Hyndman, and hopes another strong MLS season will get him back on the U.S. national team. Hassli showed in his first season (10 goals for Vancouver in 2011) that he’s a powerful force who gets on the end of crosses and final balls, and he arrives with something to prove. Keeper Raul Fernandez shared time in the nets during preseason with incumbent Chris Seitz. Ex-DynamoJe-Vaughn Watson gives Hyndman a stabilizing presence in the center of midfield, and MLS newcomer Michel, a Brazilian who has played in Greece and Belgium, adds experience to the back line: he’s an alternative at left back and can also play in the middle.

WHY BE OPTIMISTIC? Another subject of transfer rumors, defender George John, is staying put for now and alongside Matt Hedges can neutralize a lot of the opposing attacks that yielded goals-against last season. With more options around him, Ferreira can exploit the spaces to goal for goal himself as well as provide incisive service. Not many teams feature as much pace as that supplied by Jackson, Benitez, and Castillo.

WHY BE PESSIMISTIC? The departure of Hartman, who wasn’t great last year yet still played solidly, leaves a very big hole in goal. Quinn’s departure has nothing to do with soccer but is a public-relations disaster as well as an organizational nightmare. Defender Ugo Ihemelu isn’t doing well with post-concussion problems, which makes the SuperDraft selection of Walker Zimmerman with the No. 7 pick all the more necessary.

WHY WATCH THIS TEAM? FCD would consistently rank near the top if MLS clubs were ranked by EQ (entertainment quotient). A healthy Ferreira unhinges defenses with slashing runs and explosive dribbles, and both Jackson and Benitez are blessed with the speed and boldness to blow past opponents. John is a commanding presence in the box and could find more opportunities on set plays with other big targets to draw attention.

MLS PREVIEW SERIES:
Eastern Conference: New England | Philadelphia  | Toronto FC
Western Conference: Chivas USA | Colorado | Portland



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Confidential
Soccer America's Copa Centenario Best XI    
They went undefeated except against each other, so it's natural that players from champion Chile and ...
Is Klinsmann worthy of a remarkably long tenure?    
Next month marks the fifth anniversary of Jurgen Klinsmann's tenure as USA head coach.
If the song remains the same, how can it be rewritten?    
Thumped by Argentina in a Copa America Centenario semifinal, the U.S. will nonetheless take positives from ...
Stepping on toes? That's not the solution to improving U.S. soccer    
Do you wonder what kind of advice Jurgen Klinsmann was giving his players during their loss ...
USA reaps benefits of South American opposition    
Reaching a Copa America Centenario semifinal against Argentina to be played on Tuesday is being hailed ...
USA has reason to celebrate but suspensions sure take edge off big win    
First, the good news from Thursday night in Seattle. The USA's 2-1 victory over Ecuador, which ...
Centenario group phase serves up plenty of spectacle, drama, and controversy    
When big teams like Brazil and Uruguay fell prone to lapses, other nations took advantage to ...
Guzan seizes chance for No. 1 shirt    
Seven straight games including all three at the Centenario have featured Brad Guzan in goal; he ...
Berliner John Brooks takes charge of USA's defense    
Just three years ago, John Brooks, born and raised in Berlin but the son of a ...
USA's 'musts' for Paraguay game if it isn't 'must-win'    
The Copa America Centenario results to date are mirror images of what occurred in March, when ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives