On Saturday, FC Dallas took on Solar SC in MLS Next play in the U13s to the U19s. While I couldn’t spend the whole day out there, I was able to take in the bulk of three games between the top two local sides.
I don’t really care about the results, I’m out there taking a pathway to the pros angle. But here are all results anyway, some of which I got second-hand from people.
U13 – Solar won 2-1
U14 – FC Dallas won 3-0
U15 – Solar won 2-1
U17 – FC Dallas won 2-0
U19 – Solar won 3-1
I arrived about 20 minutes into the U14 game and watched all of it. Stayed for the U15s and watched 3/4s of the U17s before I had to leave to go watch FC Dallas in their final preseason tuneup against the Dynamo.
I’ll throw in a Solar SC player on each age group but I don’t have rosters for them so I don’t usually know their names.
Also, I’m just one dude taking notes so it’s very possible I missed stuff or got it wrong.
U13s (2009s) – Solar 2-1
I don’t know much beyond FCD being down 2-0 at the half. Diego Echevarria scored the FC Dallas goal. The kid’s a goal-scoring machine.
U14s (2008s) – FC Dallas won 3-0
I don’t usually watch the U14s until Dallas Cup, but that’s not all that far away so I figured why not and came early enough to catch most of the game.
I went in blind on the roster, just writing down notes on players and jersey numbers so I could look their names up later. This is how I used to scout the MLS Combine as it lets me at least attempt a fresh and clean viewing without any prejudice from tips people have given me.
I missed the first two goals and only found out FCD won 3-0 later.
Here’s the lineup when I arrived. Base 4-2-3-1 but #36 was the pure holder with #33 as a deep linking usually in the same neighborhood. #47 was quite high and free.
There is more subbing at this age group than older teams. Here’s the second half with changes.
I won’t go into everyone but here are a few players that made a good first impression.
#47 Andre Saucedo. FC Dallas’ playmaker attacking mid in this group. He was the big standout in this game and they give him a lot of freedom to roam. Serious quality, he covers ground and will defend, but it’s his touch and vision that stood out. Really nice. Best player in the game.
#36 Matthew Razo. Holding mid with a terrific foundational game for the 6. Sideline to sideline, clogged up the middle and stopped a lot of traffic in the center. Needs to work on progression (pass or dribble) forward after winning the ball but the base is there. Strong impression.
#32 Gabriel Rojas. Left center back. Tons of range and a very active defender. He covered up a lot of mistakes his teammates were making defensively. Not positioned like a sweeper but was able to cover up like one from the LCB position because of his range.
#37 Tadesse Hart. Winger, both sides. Enough ball skill and pace to dribble by defenders. Got in behind a couple of times to good effect.
The U14s (2008s) wear numbers 30 and up… except #9 Zach Molomo who is a 2008 but is rostered with the U15s (2007s) who wear 0 to 29. Molomo is back down with his age group today but didn’t see a lot of the ball while I was there.
#17 at left back for FCD is not on any roster I have. The 17 number means he’s either a 2009 coming up to play with the 2008s or he’s from FCD’s 2008 premier team. Hypothetically, he could be like Molomo and be a 2008 that is rostered with the 2007s… except the U15s have a #17 and this isn’t him.
Edit (Feb 21): #17 is Liam Vejrostek who joined FCD from RSL Arizona. He’s a 2009 and is playing up with the 2008s in this game… hence the mismatched number.
#11 – A taller linking mid with terrific ability to ball recover, hold off defenders, turn, and distribute. Good player. I quite liked his game. Played with his head up.
U15 – Solar won 2-1
This is a group I’ve seen 4 or 5 times now and I like the progression I’m seeing. They had more of the possession with Solar only getting a couple of chances mostly via set-pieces… one of which they scored on early.
After FCD scored late, Solar pushed hard, finally got a couple of scrambling chances, and got the winner.
Less subbing at this level, I didn’t see one (that I noticed anyway) in the first half. Technically FCD is in a 4-3-3 with a false 9 but he was so false it was often double-10 like with two wide wings and no 9 at all.
Second half. I’m not 100% sure about the keeper change. I didn’t write it down as changing but FCD usually swaps at the half and I think I recall the change.
#7 Mikey Cortellessa is pretty much the Ryan Hollingshed of this group. I’ve seen him play just about everywhere on the field at a pretty good level.
#17 Bryce Outman is indeed serious quality. He’s super tiny and it doesn’t even matter, the kid can ball.
#4 Myles Nicholes is miles (tee hee) better than I last saw him. Improvement is happening rapidly.
#15 Brice Miller I like much better as a wing than an 8.
#10 Jeyden Arboleda and #2 Cayne Madhlangove do nothing to change my opinion of them which is already quite high.
#9 Caleb Swann. Best player in the game, phenomenal talent. Impeccable first touch, dribbles multiple players, and creates. He plays as a 10 today for Solar but long run in his career he’s maybe more an 8, for me. But dang, this kid can ball.
U17 – FC Dallas won 2-0
While the U17 bracket is supposed to be 2005s and 2006s, for FC Dallas it’s mostly 2006s. Eleven 2005s are rostered with the U19s as the 2003s are mostly gone and there aren’t a whole lot of 2004s.
Still, even relying more on 2006s, this team is pretty good.
Again, the U17s use numbers 30 and up while the kids rostered with the u19s wear 0 to 29.
I’ve seen this group quite a bit by now. Today, this is mostly base 4-2-3-1 but as with most FCD Academy teams one of the deep mids is a pure holder and the other is much more of a linker, often getting forward to more of a double-8 look.
There were no FC Dallas subs before I had to leave about 75% of the way through the game. At least that I noticed.
#70 Kevin Kelley and #41 Kris Kelley I could have written on either wing. They flip wings constantly, even minute by minute. That’s gotta be really difficult to cover. They have both improved this last year in terms of turning the talent into game impact. Two players to watch for sure.
#54 Toro Brandon, this is the best I’ve seen him play in person. The dude is an immense presence and was a bull in the back. Is he good enough to be a pro center back at his height? That’s gonna be a tough road be he might just have the guts to do it.
My dude, #55 Ale Urzua, was again everywhere in midfield. Love this kid’s game, big fan.
Not a lot to say about this group as I’ve seen them a lot and written about them a lot already.
#27 in central midfield. Solid player even outnumbered in midfield (Solar was in a 3-4-3 it looked like).
U19 – Solar won 3-1
I had to leave so I don’t know anything about this game other than FCD was down 3-0 and got a late consolation goal.
Again, a heavy 2005 presence is in this team. Without knowing who was in, it’s hard to say how much.
I know their best player (in my opinion) Diego Hernandez is just back from injury and Antonio Carrera was with FCD (since he’s signing homegrown).
Glad to finally put names to numbers for the U14s. Rojas and Saucedo are ones I’ve been really impressed with watching them – happy to know you thought similar on first impression.