Questions: Longevity? Incept dates? - Roy Batty
With roughly a week to go until FCD cuts down rosters numerous questions still exist about the 2010 FCD roster. A couple of them are beginning to be answered but there are still quite a few large ones that leave this roster in limbo. As always you can find my current squad and the team make up thoughts on the Roster Dance. Ok, on to the questions.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement
This is by far the biggest question mark out there for FCD. Reading between the lines, I'm more convinced than ever that HSG is in a holding pattern with the talks having gone sour. Hyndman had to fly to Dallas and back for an emergency meeting, I can only assume the labor strife was the issue. I'm not a expert on the situation by any means and you can certainly read about it many other places. Here is an excelent piece of why the league won't budge on free agency.
What this has to do with the make up of FCD is simple. It seems quite clear that FCD isn't going to sign anyone until labor is resolved. Word on the street is that FCD staffers have been told to prepare to possibly be out of a job. Chaos and uncertainty abounds.
Most MLS teams are looking to get better. Short of the failed Aziz Ansah bit, FCD hasn't even brought in any legit trialists to look over let alone tried to sign anyone. All the trialists to this point are ex-SMU players that Hyndman is giving a reward tryout to for being great guys in his college days. How many teams can you recall that have gone on to success by standing pat? Very few if any.
So until this all gets sorted, FCD won't be adding anyone it appears. All answer will have to come from within.
The question still stands, who is going to back up and/or challenge Jeff Cunningham? FCD needs someone to play that high striker spot if Jeff is injured, makes the World Cup team, or even just doesn't produce. FCD needs to add a player there and Hyndman knows it. He's been quoted on the subject a couple times.
One of the key indicators of problem #1 (HSG not signing anyone) is the Attiba Harris as striker experiment. With Cunningham in US camp, Harris has started up top for three or four games now. He's managed to score a goal or two and it seems to not be a horrible idea in the worst case scenario. But if Harris is the best FCD can field this year it may not be a great season. Not unless he takes a big step forward.
Harris' continued run out up top also tells us a great deal about the other options. Clearly Generation adidas players Peri Marosevic and Andrew Wiedeman aren't ready to do the heave lifting yet of getting bit time MLS minutes. Draft pick Jason Yeisley had a knee injury but is now healthy and Marosevic has a nagging foot problem keeping him out, but everyone else is healthy. The continued use of Ruben Luna, a FCD Juniors player, and Duke Hashimoto, a nominal holding mid, as strikers in these evaluation games raises flags. Misho Fahim, who had shown the most of any trialist as a striker, hasn't been getting time there over the last week. It seems unlikely at this point he's the guy either.
Harris' continued play up top also leads us to questions three...
On the right side, Harris continues to play striker and Marvin Chavez has been getting the bulk of the starts at right mid. The freedom to try Harris up top seems to indicate Chavez has won, or is winning, the right mid job. There is another month to go in spring training yet, but Chavez seems to have a firm grasp on the spot.
On the left side it's quite clear van den Bergh is out of the picture, that's highly unlikely to change. Brek Shea is winning the fight on this side but shockingly Anthony Wallace is also making a case for himself. Now that he has lost his protected status, Wallace is clearly motivated and has delivered a great spring that has far exceed anyone expectations. Can he win the spot off Shea? Hum, probably not. But Wallace's performance makes the VDB odds even longer.
For now this remains Heath Pearce's job. But with his training camp showing, the question has become when, not if, Zach Loyd takes over. Sharp, quick, confident, great feet, good defender, and he can pass well going forward. Age and experience are the only real problems. Loyd was good enough for Hyndman to can his only signing of the spring in Ansah.
For now Hyndman has also the luxury of playing Anthony Wallace out of position here when needed. Wallace with four years of MLS experience got the start again New England, Hyndman's admited game to judge team progress. Once Pearce returns the Wallace spot appearances at right back should end.
Like Harris at striker, Wallace playing right back isn't a good indicator for trialist Edson Edwards.
It appears that Steve Purdy continues to hold the 4th center back spot. For the first couple weeks in training Edwards got time here, but the last two weeks it's been all Purdy. Purdy will have to play his way off the team as no other option appears on the radar.
Almost by default at this point it's Sean Kelley. FCD has scouted some keepers, notably one in Germany we've mentioned before. But going back to question #1 in this piece, until the CBA is solved, FCD it appears won't be adding a big name keeper. So Kelley, performances good or bad aside, looks like he's the guy.
Josh Lambo, by the way, looks to be really improving and might be a legit #2 this year. He's looking more mature and confident, no longer just a kid. So at this point the question might become, does FCD go with just two keepers? Given Josh Lambo's age I would think not.
The Last Spot
Misho Fahim, Jason Yeisley, Eric Alexander, Duke Hashimoto, Edson Edward, and Dane Saintus... that's a lot of names. Which one gets that last spot?
I've felt for a couple weeks now that Alexander played himself into and has taken control of the 24th spot on the roster. Not only has be become the due facto back up to the aging Daniel Hernandez, he's also now playing the high mid spot in the place of the being protected David Ferreira. The last two games just the lineup alone tells us a great deal about Alexander. Florida International - 90 minutes holding mid. New England - 90 minutes attacking mid.
So coach, is he or isn't he?
“No, he’s a player that is with the academy team. He graduated from high school early. He’s been training with us and we thought we’d bring him down.”
Kid look good though, might want to look into it.
Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic
The games this weekend are going to be key. Roster cut down is early next week so keep a sharp eye on those lineups. We'll know a great deal more about 2010 FCD in four or five days.