San Jose Earthquakes v FC Dallas

Paging attackers. Any attackers, please report to FC Dallas


Having a transfer saga resolved may be something of a relief around FC Dallas Stadium, where manager Schellas Hyndman can now move forward with just a little more knowledge of what his team might look like in 2013.

But there’s a pretty big hole to fill now … and not much time to do so.

The depth at wide spots in midfield already looked threadbare. In fact, past the two featured attackers, uh, who in the world will score goals for the club this year?

The news from late Monday night that Brek Shea has been sold to Stoke City leaves FC Dallas’ offense with striker Blas Perez and playmaker David Ferreira and a lot of role players. That is not a good place to be.

(MORE: What the move means for Shea and Stoke City)

While FC Dallas is left to ponder a transfer price that still looks low at around $4 million – a year ago Shea probably could have been sold for nearly twice that – they will also need to scare up some depth. Pronto.

Fabian Castillo is good enough to bother teams with his speed at one flank. And presumably Jackson, the utility knife around Dallas, has just been locked into a flank midfielder role. (That seemed his best spot all along.) And then there’s … uh … Nope,  nevermind. That’s it.

That is hardly enough. Not when Ferreira never quite looked like the same game-changer when he finally came back from that year-long injury in 2012. Not when Blas Perez is the only man on FCD’s roster who even approached double-digit goals last year. He’s 31 and coming off a year where he missed 15 starts due to injury.

This also makes the club’s selection of Ryan Hollingshead in last week’s draft look a little more curious. The Pac-12 Player of the Year was certainly talented enough to be taken at that spot, but he has already told the league that he doesn’t plan to play professional soccer.

Snatching first-round talent in the second round would be worth the gamble for some teams – but today FC Dallas certainly doesn’t look like one of them.

Hyndman (pictured), technical director Fernando Clavijo and FC Dallas have their work cut out here. They have cash from Shea’s transfer, even if the value does appear low. There is a leadership void around the ground as the team sorts out a mess with its president, Doug Quinn, who remains on indefinite leave. That may be an unpleasant distraction, but Quinn was only peripherally involved with personnel matters anyway, so that can’t become an obstacle.

The choice to jettison goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, who was still at his  heroic, shot-stopping best in 2012, already looked half-baked, which means that the personnel choices around FC Dallas will fairly be called increasingly into question.

FC Dallas made it to MLS Cup in 2010. In 2011, the wandered into the playoffs but left quickly. Last year, no playoffs (although a devastating pile-up of injury had a lot to do with that.)

Bottom line: this thing needs to begin moving in the right direction. The clock is ticking ever louder.

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
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Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.