The DFE got the great opportunity to host the the Sirois Brothers from 1310 the Ticket on Saturday! They came to our house, the Frisco Londoner, and experienced our pre match tailgate that was sponsored by Lakewood Brewery! They came to the Snake Pit, section 103 with us at FC Dallas stadium, and embraced the awesome of what supporting a team is all about!
We were very lucky to have them out with us! Looking forward to hosting our 2 new members again soon!
Here is their segment they did on the USA, FC Dallas, and their DFE experience. It’s 11 minutes long, but if you want to hear just their take on the DFE jump to the 3:30 min. mark. Enjoy!
NEW YORK – Over the years, I’ve written this kind of MLS season-kickoff essay often. Part preview, part pep rally, each one expressed a sense of pride in the state of the league, the progress of the game, and the development of a cool, uniquely North American soccer culture.
More often than not, these thoughts came under immediate fire. Seemingly from all directions. Longtime American soccer observers accused me of being naive. Europhiles questioned if I had ever seen a game at Highbury or San Siro or the Camp Nou. Latin American aficionados sent me YouTube clips of Boca Juniors-River Plate or Club America-Chivas and suggested I watch them before I ever dare write again. And one guy insisted I was a “moron” because I continued to use “the American word (soccer) instead of the real English word: FOOTBALL.” Yes, he used all caps.
The reaction, as enlightening as it was from a journalistic perspective, jabbed at the fan in me. It made me feel as if all my fellow soccer fans in the United States and Canada actually disliked their own league, our league, the only viable top-flight league many of us had ever known. Or even had the chance to know.
My initial counter-reaction was to get defensive. I didn’t understand why we all weren’t trying to help this young league we’d all craved for so long. Why weren’t we together? Why did they feel the need to diminish something that they should care deeply about: the development of the game and the establishment of a league of our own that can stand next to any other league in the world?
Today, when I look back on those essays, I have to agree with the critics. I was naive. I was half-blinded by hopefulness for a league I’ve been involved with – as a player, a fan, and a journalist – since its inception in 1996.
But not anymore. My eyes are wide open. And as MLS enters its 18th season – opening weekend is March 2-3 – hopefulness has given way to reality. And the reality is: MLS, our league, has become one of the strongest soccer leagues in the world.
Now, before you scoff at that with some snarky tweet or some comment about how I have no idea how good Manchester United and Barcelona and Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain are, let me explain.
To me, the quality of a modern league goes beyond the transfer value of its top 20 players and the record of its top two or three clubs. And so I have no problem saying the following:
MLS is the most competitive major league in the world. In its 17 seasons, MLS has hadnine different clubs win the championship. That’s the same number of title-winners Spain has seen since La Liga was established in 1929, and four more than the Premier League has seen since its founding in 1992.
MLS is stable and growing. The many financial difficulties seen in European and South American leagues are well documented, from Portsmouth and Rangers to Valencia and plucky little Real Oviedo. Meanwhile, the value of MLS clubs has continued to rise; the total number of clubs in the league has nearly doubled since 2005; and most MLS clubs now play in their own soccer-specific stadium. Plus, MLS now boasts the seventh-highest average attendance in the world, among soccer leagues.
The quality of play MLS is vastly underrated. There’s a reason foreign scouts keep a keen eye on MLS: They know the level of play is better than people think. Beyond the obvious Henrys and Keanes and Nestas, there is world-class talent in such players as Graham Zusi, Boniek Garcia, Dwayne De Rosario, Kyle Beckerman, and Mauro Rosales, not to mention newcomers like Diego Valeri, Daigo Kobayashi, and Diego Calderon. And that doesn’t take into account recent exports like Geoff Cameron, Roger Espinoza, Brek Shea, Kei Kamara, and Andy Najar, who didn’t miss a beat when they moved abroad.
MLS will develop the long-sought “American Messi” soon. No, the academy system is not perfect. It’s not turning out world-class geniuses like the Barcelona or Ajax academy do. But give it time. It’s still in its infancy. Plus, MLS’s Homegrown initiative hasn’t done too badly, bringing up the likes of D.C.’s Bill Hamid and Andy Najar, Toronto’s Ashtone Morgan, New England’s Diego Fagundez, and Philadelphia’s Zach Pfeffer.
The world is embracing MLS’s innovations. Many critics have complained about MLS’s decidedly un-European playoff structure and lack of a single table. But the truth is, the European leagues are embracing playoffs. Sometime after MLS’s inception, nearly every top European league has instituted a playoff of some kind, from the promotion playoffs in England, Germany, the Netherlands, Turkey, etc., to the Greek playoff system for their second Champions League spot. Then there is the debate over the so-called international schedule. Well, a few weeks ago, Bayern Munich President Karl-Heinz Rummenigge suggested that Europe would do well to consider a spring-to-fall schedule, rather than the traditional fall-to-spring one.
North America has a true supporter culture. Go to a match in Seattle or Portland or Salt Lake or Kansas City or Montreal or Philadelphia, and you’ll join in a soccer experience every bit as vibrant as matches around the world. A growing legion of supporters who chant, raise their scarves, and create tifo is embracing a bold, creative, accepting, and uniquely North American soccer culturalism. It’s not only about supporting our clubs and our players (full disclosure: I’m a Chivas USA fan), but also about supporting the soccer community, as a whole. This can be seen in the nearly universal congratulations extended to Robbie Rogers after he announced he is gay (with nearly universal disappointment at his decision to step away from the game) or by helping the community’s many cultural endeavors: Rise & Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story, Howler Magazine,XI Quarterly, and Branden Steineckert’s anthem “Believe RSL,” to name a few.
Now all of this is not to say that MLS is perfect. Far from it. But from what I can tell, no one knows this more than the people in the MLS front office.
But all of that is irrelevant. Because ultimately, soccer is about love, as cheesy as that sounds. You either love your club or you don’t. Sure, you may rail against this or that on Twitter, and you may give “constructive criticism” when you’re in the stands. That’s part of being a supporter. That’s part of your love. But it goes even further. Being a soccer supporter today is a mindset, reminiscent of the alternative rock and hip-hop communities of the late ’80s, that says you care about something that is rarely on the front pages, and that you’re okay with that.
Because this is 2013. This is the year that we US and Canadian soccer supporters accept who we are and what we love, proudly. No more half-blind hopefulness. No more defensiveness. Just soccer.
MLS rosters hold at up to 30 players. Players 1 to 20 are on the senior roster and have to fit in the salary cap. (MLS teams may carry only 18 players on this senior roster if they wish.)
FCD has 8 international slots in 2010 with 8 possibly filled.
33, Colombian F/M (8/9/79) Green card
(I1) 32 Panamanian striker (3-13-81)
Kenny Cooper Jr
US F Trade from NYRB.
(I2) 31, F. Not at DP.
25 US CB. (3/20/87) re-signed.
25, US Nats M/D (7-18-87)
27, US DM (9-25-85)
(I3) Peruvian GK, 27
(I4) 20, Colombian M/F (6-01-92)
22 UD D (4-1-90)
(I5) 24, versatile
33, Colombian LB, (1/11/79) Green card
(I6) 31 left side player, D/M Brazilian.
(I7) Jamaican MF.
25, US GK (3-12-87)
29 US D (4/11/83). 2012 re-entry draft
24, US M/D (11-21-88)
(I8) 33, French D-mid. Knee injury is a problem.
US M. Coming off ACL injury.
(I9?) Claivjo made a quick trip to Brazil, is he bringing back a player? Please say Chico.
29, US D (4/3/83) Health in question…
Players occupying roster spots 1-24 will earn at least $42,000 in 2011.
Off-Budget Roster (10)
Roster Spots 21 to 30. Generation adidas, developmental players, and home grown. Players 24 and under that don’t count on the salary cap. MLS teams can have a maximum of 10 off-budget players.
(HG1) 20 US MF (3-4-92)
(HG) 20 US D (3-5-92) on loan, not on FCD roster
(HG2) 19 US F (1-26-93)
(HG3) 18 Mexican GK, US Citizen (2-28-94)
(HG4) D/M (7-25-95)
(HG5) Signed Home Grown deal Dec 2012
(HG6) Signed Home Grown deal Dec 2012
FCD’s 1st rd pick, Generation adidas
GK from Valpo.
Former US U18, MF Kentucky.
Former US U17. D/M SMU
FCD’s 2nd rd pick. Finishing school?
Players occupying roster spots 25-30 will earn at least $32,600 in 2011.
Anyone connected, rumored, tried out, waived, training invited, or signed short term.
30, French d-mid. Spring camp for 1 week.
Japanese forward, in spring camp.
First rookie cut. Local kid w/ knee troubles.
Signed winter. In camp for 2 weeks before being cut.
Sold to Stoke Jan 2013 $4mil
Waived Jan 2013.
Waived Jan 2013.
Julian de Guzman
Canadian D-mid. Not returning.
U18s. Academy player.
Loan deal not extended, returned to Colombia.
Contract expired, no new deal.
Retired end of 2012 to be a coach… 3 weeks later was out.
Released 11/19/12. Panamanian D.
Home grown player, 2013 option declined.
Home grown player, 2013 option declined.
2013 option declined.
2013 option declined. Green card.
2013 option declined.
The FC Dallas 4-4-2 is still a work in progress, as is the roster, frankly. For now this is how we see things laying out.
Depth chart for a diamond 4-4-2.
Striker A Blas Perez
Striker B Kenny Cooper
Attacking Mid David Ferreira
Right Mid Jackson
Holding Mid Andrew Jacobson
Peter Luccin (Injured)
Left Back Jair Benitez
Right Back Zach Loyd
Goalkeeper Raul Fernandez
Some notes and thoughts:
I’m still putting players at one spot and one spot only. In the real season it won’t work that way.
I listed Eric Hassli as 2nd behind Cooper and Perez, but really 2 of the 3 will be starting any given game depending on health, callus, etc.
We really need to see where Je-Vaughn Watson ends up playing in the FCD system before we judge his spot. He’s typical a more central player and has played both attacking and holding mid. Since Ramon is hurt I put Watson at attacking mid for now as it’s his more natural position.
Ryan Hollingshead as of now isn’t really in the mix and won’t be till we see him in camp. So I took him off the chart till he shows up and makes the roster. Ugo Ihemelu is also not on the chart.
Given how many central type mids we see and no pure flank players, I think the diamond 4 will look like it did at SMU, with the width out of the back and the “wide mids” more central. Recall Hyndman saying Ihemelu would play wide if he comes back… just like he did in the SH diamond 4 at SMU.
Raul Fernandez and Chris Seitz are still in a battle for the starting keeper spot. I listed Fernandez first cause he’s the new splashy signing.
After a tough to watch friendly between the United States and Canada on Tuesday night in Houston, the quick takeaway after an arduous 90 minutes was that maybe the United States and Canada shouldn’t play each other anymore. They should certainly take a break, at least. Nothing good happens when the two get together, and by nothing good, I of course mean goals.
It went further than that though. Perhaps because of National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s strange compulsion to start players out of position or because Canada entered a meaningless friendly with a young team bent on constricting the space in midfield and smothering the American attack, nothing seriously approaching a goal happened. The Canadians threatened a time or two through DC United star Dwayne DeRosario, and the American offense picked up a bit of life when Benny Feilhaber entered the game. Still, for the most part, the two sides merely knocked the ball around without giving any indication that they meant to use it for its intended purpose.
Klinsmann said afterwards that he was pleased with the progress made by his team over the last three weeks. There was no evidence of that progress in the finished product on Tuesday night, though a handful of players managed to give something of a noteworthy performance. Josh Gatt in particular entered in the second half and provided an immediate spark, if only because he appeared to be the only player on the field willing to take a risk.
The whole episode was an exercise in conservatism, from the lineup Klinsmann put out to start to the way those players went about their task. The only thing more conservative than the US approach and play on Tuesday night was Canada’s plan to sit behind the ball, close down potential passing lanes in midfield with extra bodies, and hope to find their way into the American net via a counterattack or set piece.
The game was a classic example of the limbo in which the United States remains mired when it comes to dictating a game. Good enough that the lesser lights of CONCACAF (like Canada) will bunker and attempt to frustrate a more talented American team, but not yet adept enough at breaking down a crowded defense to make the opponent pay for the tactic.
Granted, a January friendly featuring second and third-choice players isn’t the best example, but we’ve seen this kind of thing before. Against a committed defense, there’s an inability to work in concert to open up space when the opponent’s sole good is to limit it. That looms large with the Hexagonal round of World Cup Qualifying starting next week.
So far, Klinsmann has yet to prove that he can get his team to play effectively when faced with an ultra-defensive opponent. Nor has he shown a desire to start players who might be suited to the task, which is difficult to understand. The latter is more worrisome, because the issue transcends individual player selection. No matter the makeup of his roster (A, B, other), Klinsmann has the potential to set out a team with one or more players occupying strange new sections of the field.
Tuesday’s game in Houston had an eerie similarity to the last time the two nations played, a dreary scoreless draw in Toronto in June of 2012. Two games make a pattern, and the pattern is not appealing. We’ll set aside not scheduling Canada anytime soon. Klinsmann’s apparent lack of tactical flexibility (or unwillingness to exercise any) doesn’t breed confidence ahead of a trip to San Pedro Sula, no matter the ability to call up his best and brightest from Europe.
It would be easy to conclude from Tuesday’s stalemate in Houston that the United States lacks depth in its talent pool. It would be easy to wonder if Klinsmann was being honest in his assessment of the MLS batch of players when he called it “deeper” than he expected. It would be natural to consider why it took more than a year and a half for Klinsmann to form that assessment, or if he spent too much time indoctrinating this particular group of players into his system of fitness first. The performance of the team he selected from that “surprisingly deep” MLS talent pool and then worked with for three weeks leading up to a meaningful friendly shouldn’t mean much, and yet it’s hard to put out of mind completely.
Luckily for Klinsmann, he’s unlikely to need too many of the players who couldn’t unlock Canada’s defense on Tuesday. Even if he did, the different makeup of the rest of the squad makes it difficult to know how they’d perform. The problem might not be certain individuals (the aforementioned depth), but the way that particular team worked, or didn’t work, together.
Never mind that they had three weeks of training under Jurgen Klinsmann’s direction. In Honduras, Klinsmann won’t have the chance to make multiple changes at halftime to try to fix a very obvious problem. Get it right from the start, or the trip could very well end up pointless.
The timing of a scoreless draw with Canada was unfortunate, because it dented confidence in Klinsmann just as the next, and most intense, round of qualifying begins. Everyone involved will want to shake it off. For the players, that shouldn’t be too difficult. Will it be the same for Jurgen Klinsmann?
The Brek Shea transfer saga took another turn Monday night, as FC Dallas released a statement confirming the 22-year-old was traveling to Europe, but didn’t specify where he was going.
We have received interest from a number of European clubs regarding Brek Shea,” the statement read. “Brek is traveling there this evening and, as a result, he will not be in attendance at training tomorrow. Currently, there is no deal in place with any club and we have no further details at this time.”
Shea had been subject of a bid from Premier League side Stoke last week, but with MLS reportedly killing the deal after FCD and Stoke agreed upon a fee, it appeared that Shea would stay in MLS for the time being.
With the new development, it would appear that either Stoke has come back with an improved offer, or there is a mystery team that has swooped in. There will surely be more to come on this story in the coming days.
It seems that the good ole US of A has miraculously pulled another result out of nothing. And although we’ve drawn with the number 9 team in the world, this match showed us more than we’d like to see in terms of problems. I most likely will never be the coach of the national team, but I’m going to take a crack at our most glaring issues and how to fix them. I’ll mostly talk about guys that were in the squad against Russia, but I’ll mention a few others as well. If you don’t like profanity, I don’t know what to tell you. Grab a beer and get comfy.
We start at the head of the snake. Jürgen Klinsmann. Anyone who watched the Russia match would be hard pressed to say that Klinsy sent out a team that he thought could pull an upset. If anything he came into this match expecting a loss. In my eyes this is unacceptable. You are the national team coach of the United States of America!! You can’t go into a match scared!! We have the talent to beat any team on any day if used properly. Klinsmann has got to first figure out who is best XI are, and he needs to figure out a base formation that he can then work off of depending on game situations. The Russia game saw the US line up in what was either a very defensive 4-5-1 or an ineffective 4-1-4-1, that saw Jones and Bradley going forward into attack. I understand that it’s just a friendly and he can experiment, but we’ve run a different system almost every game. Players are successful when they know their role on the pitch and it’s not changing from game to game. I could go on for longer but this is making my blood pressure spike. Long story short, Jürgen needs to come in to games headstrong and confident in his team; he also needs to look at the national pool and pick a formation that he can then plug in his best XI.
Tim Howard has saved our ass more than America saved the French during WWII. Plain and simple. No matter what happens at club level, when he pulls on that US shirt the man is a monster. It is hard to find many negatives in Timmy’s game, which is a major plus for the national team. But, what the hell do we do if he gets hurt?! Rimando, Johnson, Guzan. Those are the first three that come to mind, in no particular order. I can’t honestly say that I am comfortable with the health of our net at the international level with those men between the pipes. While Tim is a legend, we need to find a number two ASAP.
Jesus Christ. I don’t know dude. It’s bad. Like really bad. This one has to be split into two categories, center backs and full backs.
This one is easier so I’ll take it on first. We’ve tried out a lot of players at left back, while Cherundolo has had a monopoly on the right for quite some time. If Cherundolo makes it to Brazil as our starting right back I will be shocked. He’s 33 right now, and still a year and half out from the World Cup. Nobody wants a 35 year old full back starting for their country at the World Cup!! I think that Timmy Chandler needs to take over the reins on the right side and bring Dolo as a vet on the bench. Chandler is only 22 and has been playing at the top level in Germany for years! He’s athletic, he gets forward when needed, and he’s not 35 freaking years old. Left back, this one has been an issue for a while. I like Fabian Johnson. He’s naturally right footed, but his weak foot is good enough that it isn’t too much of an issue when it comes to crossing on the run. Left back is going to be a rough one until someone makes a huge break through.
Clarence Goodson is a worse center back than me, and I’m 5’7” with a bad knee. He deserves no more call ups, plain and simple. So who should be our CBs? Boca is the brains of the back 4. It’s shockingly evident, especially when he’s not in the game (see Goodson, Clarence). Carlos suffers from the same problem that Cherundolo does though, as he is also 33. Time is definitely not on his side, but he keeps himself fit so it may not be much of an issue. Boca’s brains make up for what he lacks in pace and leaping ability. Now who the hell can we plug in next to him? Not Clarence Goodson, what a piece of shit that guy is. I think it’s high time that we start seeing a lot more of George John, Omar Gonzales, Matt Hedges, and the somehow forgotten Jay DeMerit. GJ, Omar, and Hedges are all quality center backs, but Gonzales is the only one to have been capped (2 times). Think about all the guys they’ve plugged in, and George John has zero (that’s the same as none) caps. The next few games should involve these three guys. Now for the other man that I mentioned. Jay fucking DeMerit. What more do you want me to say about the guy?! Determination, grit, athleticism, brains, and a bad ass mullet (R.I.P.), he’s got what you want in a center back. And should Boca be hurt, I can think of no better replacement than someone that has played the position at the highest level and been successful. Time may not be on his side, but I think he could easily make it to Brazil and play a major part. I’ve left out any comments on Geoff Cameron because, let’s face it, he used to play for Houston and they don’t count as actual people.
Michael Bradley all day long. No matter what, he is in the starting XI. The guy is the engine to the US squad when used correctly. He plays smart passes, he scores, and he covers every blade of grass between the boxes. Jermaine Jones needs to just go away. He’s a liability. Every time he ventures forward he ends up on the ground, and then takes 20 minutes to get back up, and if he’s playing defense everyone expects him to be carded. No more of him please. Danny Williams has done pretty well in my eyes. He sits just in front of the back four and slows down attacks good enough that I think he keeps his place. Sacha Kljestan, what a dick! If anyone can explain what he adds to the team I’d love to hear it, because I don’t see a damn thing (aside from looking like Euro trash). Mo Edu I think still has something to add to the team. For me he is best as a holding mid, someone to bring on when you need to close out a game. We have a lot of depth in the middle of the park, Jürgen just needs to figure out how to plug them in, and three defensive midfielders on at the same time isn’t the way to go moving forward.
Jozy Altidore had a good game today. There I said it. If you disagree with me then you are just letting your left over hatred from his last game float over to this one. Jozy was the lone striker today, don’t let Herculez Gomez’s name on the team sheet fool you, Jozy was alone. Aside from that, he had zero service. NONE! Was his second half worse than his first? Yes, but he worked harder in this game than I’ve ever seen him do previously. He tried very hard to find the game by dropping deep or floating wide, even coming back into our defensive third and earning a free kick then sprinting back into the attacking third. He didn’t score and I account that to lack of service. Hard to score if you aren’t given the ball in opportunistic positions. I don’t think that it is time to give up on Jozy yet, I think Klinsy needs to give him someone to work with. Insert Herculez Gomez and Terrance Boyd. Herc was simply used wrong today. He’s not a winger, never will be. He’s best up top causing problems for center backs with his constant movement and work rate. The movement of Gomez creates space for his strike partner, if Klinsmann would give him one. Terrance Boyd is as green as green can be. But he’s got something, something that we haven’t seen in a while. He’s big, he’s fast, he holds the ball up fairly well and I love that he is comfortable with his back to the goal. We’ve lacked that in attack for a long time. Jury is still out, but he could be damn good. Agudelo is another young guy that I think is still trying to settle and find his style. I thought he’d start to grow in New York being able to play with Henry, and then they brought in 50 strikers and traded him to (shithole) Chivas. Agudelo still has a lot to show and is still very young. Of these four, Herc is the old man at 30. The next oldest? Jozy Altidore at 23. If you give this group time and opportunity we will have something special.
As for the young guns we saw today, Gatt and Diskerud, they had a decent first game. Josh Gatt has been someone that I’ve been raving about for months. He’s fast, he can cross, he knows when to come inside, and he is extremely confident on the ball. Keep your eye on this one, could be the future on the right wing. Mix Diskerud played competently when he came on. Let’s not get all crazy just because he scored on his debut. We need to see him for more than 20-30 minutes to really get a feel for this guy. If you want more Josh Gatt goodness by the way, go on YouTube and put on your party hat.
Now going forward we need to see what happens when Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan return to the squad together. No matter how good we are with one, we are better with both! The Hexagonal match ups will show whether or not Klinsmann will address our problems and if he is willing to continue to cap young, exciting players.
Thanks for the read and if you like laughing you should follow me on twitter @jtmccune !!