FC Dallas academy finally begins to pay dividends

[HOMEGROWN WATCH] No MLS club has signed more players to Homegrown contracts than FC Dallas, but the progress of their young signings to the first team has been slow. For the first time on Saturday, two Homegrown players started for FC Dallas in the same game as defenders Moises Hernandez and Kellyn Acosta went the distance in the 3-2 win over Montreal.

For Hernandez, the start was his first and came more than three years after he signed at the age of 18 with Dallas from its academy program. After a season of grooming on loan to Guatemala's Comunicaciones, Hernandez returned this winter and won a starting job in the middle of the backline for new coach Oscar Pareja, who was the FC Dallas academy director when he signed in 2010 along with Ruben Luna and Victor Ulloa.

Highly regarded players like Luna and Bryan Leyva are no longer with Dallas, and Richard Sanchez, who won the U-17 World Cup with Mexico in 2011, has yet to make his MLS debut. The first player to win a regular starting job was Acosta, who made his MLS debut just 10 days after his 18th birthday last summer and has kept the right back job. Acosta's 13 appearances were four more than the rest of the other Homegrown players had combined for Dallas in 2013.

Two Homegrown rookies, both out of the ACC, made their MLS debuts and looked impressive as late subs. Sean Okoli from Wake Forest served the ball into the area that led to Chad Barrett's winning goal for Seattle against Sporting Kansas City in stoppage time, and Jordan Allen from Virginia looked right home on the field with Real Salt Lake, a 1-0 winner at the LA Galaxy.

-- In the Seattle-Sporting Kansas City game, Kevin Ellis made just his second start for the defending MLS champions since signing out of Barton County Community College in 2011.

Homegrown Players, Week 1:
Jordan Allen (sub: 2 minutes), RSL (rookie, Univ. of Virginia)
Kellyn Acosta (90 minutes), DAL (2nd season)
Bill Hamid (90 minutes), DC (5th season)
*Moises Hernandez (90 minutes), DAL (2nd season)
Wil Trapp (90 minutes), CLB (2nd season)
Scott Caldwell (90 minutes), NE (2nd season)
Kevin Ellis (90 minutes), SKC (2nd season)
Diego Fagundez (90 minutes), NE (4th season)
Sean Okoli
(sub: 5 minutes), SEA (rookie, Wake Forest Univ.)
Russell Teibert (90 minutes), VAN (4th season)
DeAndre Yedlin (90 minutes), SEA (2nd season)
Gyasi Zardes (68 minutes), LA Galaxy (2nd season)
*Played on loan to Comunicaciones in 2013.
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