FC Dallas Archive

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Canadians need to applaud Akindele for his rookie-of-the-year award

Since he has only turned down a Canadian national team invite — and has yet to turn down the Canadian program entirely, it’s OK to applaud Tesho Akindele’s major MLS […]

Since he has only turned down a Canadian national team invite — and has yet to turn down the Canadian program entirely, it’s OK to applaud Tesho Akindele’s major MLS award win as a victory for soccer in this country.

Akindele, who was born in Calgary, but grew up in the United States, was named the MLS Rookie of the Year on Monday. Akindele scored seven goals and added three assists during the MLS regular season for FC Dallas, and scored a playoff goal against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Between Akindele and the Columbus Crew’s Ethan Finlay, that’s 18 MLS regular-season goals out of players who, ahem, could be playing for Canada. National team coach Benito Floro has been tracking both players, but Akindele made headlines by turning down the invite to join the Canadian squad for its most recent friendly against Panama.

In the most recent issue of Plastic Pitch(CLICK HERE), Akindele told Martin MacMahon that he was gutted by Canada’s 8-1 loss to Honduras that eliminated his birth nation from the 2014 World Cup qualifying process. At that time, Akindele was keen on playing for Canada.
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2

Canada-Panama sort-of preview: Talking about the players who aren’t there

A Canadian men’s national team press conference just wouldn’t be a men’s national team press conference if there weren’t questions about players who aren’t with the program.

A Canadian men’s national team press conference just wouldn’t be a men’s national team press conference if there weren’t questions about players who aren’t with the program.

So, in keeping with what’s become a Canadian soccer tradition, we start off our coverage of Benito Floro’s conference call with updates on forwards Ethan Finlay, Lucas Cavallini and Tesho Akindele, none of whom are with the national team ahead of its friendly on Tuesday in Panama.

Floro said he is tracking the progress of Finlay, the Columbus Crew forward who scored 11 times this season. Finlay was born in the United States, but his dad is Canadian. Floro said he would need to see what Finlay can do in a camp, but he has been paying attention to the player.

As for Akindele, the Calgary-born FC Dallas rookie who turned down an invitation to join Canada for the Panama game, Floro was diplomatic: “He has a tough decision to make (between the American and Canadian programs). And, playing in MLS puts him closer to the U.S. national team.” But Floro was clear that Akindele still has time to make that decision.
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4

Dear MLS, please kill the No. 4 vs No. 5 playoff game dead

MLSlogoplayoffsFor a guy who writes about soccer as much as I do, loves the game as much as I do, I surprise myself about how many times I wonder if there are too many matches being played.

The world would be a better place without the League Cup (we get to see who the big clubs put on the bench today!), meaningless friendlies, North American summer tours by European clubs… They are like the cheapest of Scotch; too much exposure to these things, and you might get so turned off that you forsake the good stuff, too.

And, if Major League Soccer cared about the integrity of its playoff system, it would do the world a favour and jettison the No. 4 vs. No. 5 conference playoff games.

Wednesday’s match, which saw FC Dallas end the Whitecaps season with a 2-1 win, was another example of why the No. 4 vs. No. 5 playoff game is a massive issue. The announced attendance was 10,279. Almost Chivas bad. But, as anyone in Sports Marketing 101 would tell you, what do you expect when a team is expected to sell playoff tickets for a game that happens on a midweek evening, just three days after the regular season ends?
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0

PLASTIC PITCH 3 is available now! “The Walking Reds” on the cover!

PPFALL2014COVERThe third issue of PLASTIC PITCH, our national soccer magazine, is out as of right now.

How to get PLASTIC PITCH? If you’re a subscriber, just update the Plastic Pitch app in your Android or IOS device. If not, you can get the App and magazine through iTunes, Apple Newsstand, Google Play and Amazon.

Halloween is coming up, so we decided on a Halloween cover. “The Walking Reds” cover combines soccer and zombies. Why? Because soccer and zombies were meant to be together. And it looks cool.

What will you find inside?
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Fleming: U-17 squad going to World Cup “found its form and character in Panama”

Sean Fleming

Sean Fleming

Coach Sean Fleming made a couple of significant additions to the core of his U-17 national squad, but warned that anyone who wasn’t with the team when it played at the CONCACAF Championships in Panama will need to do a heck of a job.

On Thursday, the Canadian Soccer Association released a list of 24 players who will represent Canada at this October’s U-17 World Cup. Of the 24, 21 are on the proper roster, while three are alternates. While FIFA has been notified which three players are alternates, who can only play in order to replace an injured member of the main roster, Fleming wouldn’t reveal which three were on the outside of the bubble.

Fleming will take the Canadian squad for a pre-World Cup camp in the United Arab Emirates, which begins October 5. Canada will begin the tournament in Dubai on Oct. 19, with a match against Austria. Canada will also face Iran and Argentina.

And it will be interesting to see if FC Dallas fullback Eric Davies and Vancouver Whitecaps Residency midfielder Kianz Gonzales-Froese (who also spent time with FC Edmonton) can make it into the roster. Gonzales-Froese missed the CONCACAF Championships in Panama due to injury. The midfielder competed for his native Cuba — he was born in Havana, raised in Winnipeg — in the previous U-17 championship cycle, but is legal to play for Canada in the UAE.

But Fleming warned that the Whitecaps’ Cuban-Canadian won’t have it easy. He’ll have to win a job. After all, the squad that went to Panama achieved its goal of making it to the World Cup.

“The squad found its form and character in Panama,” Fleming said.
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0

Crew’s Oduro named MLS Player of the Week

Dominic Oduro

Dominic Oduro

With an assist and a goal, Columbus Crew forward Dominic Oduro was named MLS Player of the Week.

Oduro got the most votes out of the membership of the North American Soccer Reporters. His performance Sunday helped the Crew keep its playoff hopes alive, as the men in yellow got a 4-2 decision over FC Dallas.

Oduro set up Jairo Arrieta’s opener and then, later in the first half, finished his chance with a shot that went just inside the post. Oduro’s goal was the Crew’s third marker of the game, and would eventually go on to be the game winner.
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Martins named MLS Player of the Week for helping propel Sounders into first

Obafemi Martins

Obafemi Martins

Seattle Sounders’ forward Obafemi Martins was named the MLS Player of the Week for his one-goal, one-assist effort in Friday’s 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake.

Martins got the most first-place votes from the membership of the North American Soccer Reporters.

He scored the opener in the third minute and then got the second assist on Lamar Neagle’s insurance goal. The win allowed Seattle to seize top spot in the MLS Western Conference, and first-place overall in the league. If MLS regular-season play ended today, Seattle would now be guaranteed home field advantage all the way to the Dec. 7 MLS Cup, if the Sounders make it that far. (Good thing the Seahawks are on the road that weekend)
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2

Rennie’s lineup changes backfire as Whitecaps lose to FC Dallas

Daigo Kobayashi

Daigo Kobayashi

The Vancouver Whitecaps started strong but fell apart in the late going Saturday evening, falling 3-1 to FC Dallas in Frisco, Tex.

Daigo Kobayashi gave the visitors hope with a fourth-minute strike, as he banged home a Kenny Miller ball across goal from the right side with his right foot, but there wasn’t much to celebrate from there.

“We got a great start to the game,” head coach Martin Rennie said on the post-match radio broadcast. “It was a great goal. We certainly would have liked to have not been losing a goal so quickly. It was a great goal and tonight Dallas scored three unbelievable goals, at least that’s how I view it having just watched the game…we saw how cruel the game can be.”

Vancouver didn’t hold their lead long, as Dallas midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson equalized just four minutes later, smashing a right footed effort just under the crossbar past Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted’s near post.
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Donovan’s hat trick earns him MLS Player of the Week nod

Landon Donovan

Landon Donovan

When one of the poster boys of U.S. soccer scores a hat trick, the player-of-the-week vote loses most of its intrigue.

As soon as Landon Donovan scored his third goal of the match Sunday night against FC Dallas, the Player of the Week vote was a done deal. And even though Dallas rallied to get a 3-3 draw, there about as much surprise Monday when Donovan was named Player of the Week as there would be to a Conservative winning an Alberta election. Donovan was the top vote-getter from the membership of the North American Soccer Reporters.

Donovan scored right before halftime, running onto a through ball, heading it over Dallas keeper Chris Seitz and then finishing the chance before being crushed from behind by defender Matt Hedges.
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2

The Americans are coming… to play for Canada’s U-17 team

Matt Greer

Matt Greer

Canadian U-17 national-team coach Sean Fleming will begin working Friday with 24 players who hope to stick with the squad when it leaves for the United Arab Emirates in October.

Canada qualified for the U-17 World Cup earlier this year. But Fleming has added five new faces to the roster for this pre-World Cup camp, which runs Aug. 2-12 in Sunrise, Fla. Two of them are surprising, to say the least.

Sticking out like sore thumbs on the roster are FC Dallas academy defender Eric Davies and Philadelphia Union Academy forward Matt Greer. Both play for American clubs. Neither were part of the Canadian team at CONCACAF qualifying.

But, here, they are, on the pre-U-17 World Cup roster.

Greer is an American national merit scholar and is committed to Dartmouth. He goes to Unionville High School, located in Kennett Square, Penn. He scored for the Union Academy in the Generation Adidas tournament semifinal against Chivas USA last year. He also plays for the elite Penn Fusion side. According to his Penn Fusion bio page, he lives in Chadds Ford, Penn. He spent three years in the U.S. National Training Centre — which suggests that he was at least on the radar of the U.S. national program.

UPDATE: Greer responded to a query from The 11 via e-mail: “My family has had a history in Canada. Both sides of my family had lived in Manitoba for a couple generations including both of my parents who grew up there. I still have lots of family up there, so Canada seemed like the right decision. All my paperwork is also complete to my knowledge including my Canadian passport.”
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