We’re still 6 months away from Dallas Cup XXXII, but the first Super Group team has been announced and it’s a doozie.
English Premier League giants Arsenal will bring their two time defending U18 Academy champions to Dallas for the prestigious youth tournament.
Liam Brady, Arsenal’s Academy Director said of the tournament on the Dallas Cup website–
The Dallas Cup gives our boys great competition against clubs from all over the world by which we can measure ourselves, and of course it is an opportunity to come to the United States and sample the culture which in itself is an education for the young players. Traveling and representing the Club is an important part of a player’s development, and appearing at a prestigious tournament like this will be a great test for our young players. We’re very thankful for the invitation to participate and look forward to the challenge next April. We know Arsenal has a huge following in the United States and we hope many fans will come to see our young talent.
This is great news for Dallas Cup junkies as it usually takes the first ball to drop for big teams around the world to commit to Dallas Cup in any given year and with Arsenal on board(no doubt influenced by tournament sponsors Nike), expect some other big teams to commit very soon.
FC Dallas practiced at 10AM on Field 5 this morning in preparation for their showdown in Salt Lake City on Saturday night with home field advantage in their likely playoff series on the line. It felt great to get back out to the practice field today for the first time in a couple of weeks. The schedule(and my sports radar) has been pretty cramped lately, but I hope the metroplex doesn’t completely ignore the amazing run FCD is on with all the Rangers hoopla going on.
The bulk of practice after I got there on an extremely windy but beautiful day was spent playing in a full 11v11 game of mostly starters against reserves.
-Everyone but Kevin Hartman is back and fully training. Kyle Davies has a knock and trained on the side for the most part, but George John, Ugo Ihemelu and Daniel Hernandez were all back. Hernandez looked great today in his second day of training back with the team. He put in a few nice tackles and scored one of his trademark 30 yard piledriver free kicks. Whether Schellas wants to risk starting him in Salt Lake is a question mark, but make no mistake Hernandez will be ready to go for the playoffs. Ugo and John played together at center back today in the scrimmage and it’s looking like they start this weekend. Lots more on that in the quotes from Schellas…In Kevin Hartman’s case I’ve been told he feels great and it’s just the goal kicks that are still hurting.
-For me, the player who stood out most in the scrimmage was Marvin Chavez. It’s truly amazing what a run of clean health and starting appearances has done to a player that looked on the way out 3 months ago. With his confidence at 100%, the happy-go-lucky Honduran is playing the best soccer of his FC Dallas career. He’s linking up with David Ferreira better than anyone on the team at the moment and had a sweet cross today to set up Jackson for a goal. As I’ve said before, he’s the secret weapon that teams aren’t accounting for who brings out the best in Ferreira.
–There’s an interesting late-season battle developing at the right mid position. Atiba Harris missed practice yesterday with a bit of a knock and the good play of Jackson has forced Schellas into a tough decision now that Hernandez is returning. Perhaps it won’t be a problem this weekend as Daniel will likely come off the bench allowing both Jackson and Atiba to start in Salt Lake, but don’t be surprised to see Jackson usurp Atiba’s position out on the right. The Brazilian scored a great goal today from a very tight angle off a low Marvin Chavez cross that went a bit beyond the goal but was fired home.
-Everyone else is looking very sharp. You can tell the young guys are beginning to hit that rookie wall, but other than that the players who need to be playing well right now are playing well. Ferreira is carrying himself with a swagger around the field, Milton and Jeff both looked extremely on today and the reserve defense is probably better than half the starting defenses in the league.
Read on for the possible date of the FCD playoff game and really good stuff from Schellas and Ugo