The standings show FC Dallas well in control of the Western Conference race at the moment, and last night’s 2-2 draw in Vancouver looks like an adequate result at first glance. The Texans are unbeaten in their last seven, and they have collected 20 of a possible 27 points to begin 2013.
There are exactly 18 other clubs that would take that right now. Believe it.
But there is plenty of reason to fret today for Red Stripe faithful. Yes, you have our permission to fret.
Two players quite key to the operation around FC Dallas Stadium went off injured last night. First went Andrew Jacobson (pictured), who has combined so well with Brazilian midfielder Michel in the dual holding roles. Then went George John, who captains my personal All-Underrated Team of 2013.
If you don’t think George is important to the cause, consider this little bit, stunning and telling all at once: This is the second time that George has gone off at halftime, and the club fumbled away two goal leads each time. (That includes a match in Toronto and last night’s draw at BC Place.) As much as Blas Perez’s scoring and David Ferreira’s playmaking does for FC Dallas, there is a surely case to be made that John is the most important man for Schellas Hyndman’s team.
All of this underscores an important, larger point for the West leaders: this was always their Achilles heel. While Dallas was surely deep at striker and goalkeeper, they were always thin across the midfield and at center back.
I spoke to Ugo Ihemelu two weeks ago, and the veteran center back is nowhere near getting past those unfortunate concussion-related issues, so there’s no veteran cover there. In the midfield, don’t forget that Peter Luccin, signed by the club in the off-season specifically for central mid duties, is out for the year with a knee injury.
The one silver lining: Dallas is idle for the coming weekend before getting Portland in mid-week on May 8.
SANDY, Utah (AP) Real Salt Lake has re-signed forward Joao Plata to a multi-year contract and he will continue to hold a designated-player spot.
The 24-year-old was acquired from Toronto FC before the 2013 season and he has 30 goals and 30 assists in regular-season play with RSL.
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Plata ranks No. 3 on the team’s all-time assists list and No. 5 in goals. He has 33 goals and 35 assists during his MLS career.
Real Salt Lake begins the season Saturday when it hosts Toronto FC.
Mario Gotze’s last few seasons have not fulfilled the expectations thrust about the World Cup-winning attacker.
Gotze, 24, scored the 113rd minute goal that lifted Germany past Argentina in the 2014 World Cup, but has endured successive disappointing seasons between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
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With just two goals this season, Gotze has played just 24 minutes since BVB came back from winter break. On Monday, the club revealed why: a metabolism disorder that will keep him out for an indefinite period of time. From Sky Sports:
“We are glad to know the reasons for Mario’s complaints and we are convinced that after recovering he will give us extra quality with his exceptional abilities,” said Dortmund’s director of sport Michael Zorc.
“Mario gets the full backing and maximum support from all of us at Borussia Dortmund on his way back.”
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Gotze at his best, and here’s hoping this problem is both curable and the reason for his struggles.
Liverpool has named Peter Moore as the successor to chief executive office Ian Ayre.
Ayre, 53, is off to 1860 Munich this summer, and has stepped down early to allow Moore to take over.
[ MORE: Liverpool flops vs LCFC ]
A Liverpool-born executive, Moore was the chief operating officer at EA Sports and has also worked with Microsoft and SEGA.
The move “completes a transitional phase” which saw several new names join the fray. From The Liverpool Echo:
The appointment completes a transition plan by FSG which included appointing Michael Edwards as sporting director while Billy Hogan was promoted to the role of managing director and chief commercial officer.
The United States U-20 men are on the precipice of the U-20 World Cup after beating Mexico 1-0 on Monday, scooping their first win against El Tri in 31 years.
Brooks Lennon continues to look the part for the U.S. ahead of his loan season from Liverpool to Real Salt Lake.
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The youngster sent in this free kick that Erik Palmer-Brown, himself a loan man at Porto from Sporting KC this year, headed into the Mexico goal courtesy of a back post defender who opted for his right leg over a decent clearing attempt.
The U.S. took that lead into halftime.
Things got chippy as the second half unfolded, with referee Melvin Matamoros turning a blind eye to a few clattering tackles.
Tab Ramos subbed NYCFC prospect Jonathan Lewis into the match, and he sprung a counterattack that should have put the match to bed. But Lewis’ through ball missed FC Dallas’ Coy Craft and the latter took too much time, frittering away the chance.