Dallas Cup 2021 – Buzz Notes Day One

I love this time of year as the Dallas Cup is one of my favorite events. Granted, minus the international teams it’s missing some quality and flavor, but I still love it.

I planned my viewing to try and take in a balance of FCD Academy teams. I’m just one man, so I have to put a priority on the Academy and the pathway to the pros. That’s our bit here at 3rd Degree. I wish I could cover more.

For some of the kids and teams, this is my first viewing so I tried to go in open-minded and just take in first impressions. I’m going to write about every player as that would take too much space. Instead, this will be a bit like my normal practice observations.

I started my day with a combo of U15s at 10 am and U14s 30 minutes later at 10:30 am. So I watched about 2/3s of each with the staggered start time. Then I had to run up to Frisco and back, before catching the U19s at 2 pm.

FC Dallas U15s

ID FC Houston Pro 06B DBL 1
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FC Dallas U15s 2021 Dallas Cup Game One.

This was a total mismatch and frankly almost more of a practice drill than a game. This kind of game is good for looking at the FCD touch, passing movements, and skill but not really very good for assessing mindset, willpower, soccer smarts, and mental toughness. But here are some notes anyway.

Also on the team above, entirely possible I missed a sub as I wasn’t watching 100% of the time. Sorry if I did.

Matthew Corcoran only played half the game. It was interesting to see him play as a linking-8 rather than a 6. He’s not usually with this group so they may not have wanted to disrupt the team flow. Anyway, Corcoran made a run into the box 5 minutes in and scored a terrific goal… after which the game was basically over.

Left Back Henry Canizalez is for real. What a baller. A bit short but damn, this kid can play. Burst, flies forward, adventurous… Reads well, understands body positioning already. Serious quality.

Alejandro Urzua and Jared Salazar (who is a pure lefty) are both class as well in central midfield.

Nayrobi Vargas on about three occasions made me think, “oh, that’s nice. This kid’s got something too.” He needs time and development but I’m intrigued. I’m moving him up my list.

Julian Eyestone only played the 2nd half and I don’t think he touched the ball much. Or maybe at all.

Malachi Molina is exactly as I remember. When this kid grows into his body, look out. I liked him much more as a wing than a right back, but I can understand why they are trying him some in the back.

FC Dallas U14s

TFC Academy OC TFA 2007 Gomez0
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A far more balanced game than the 15s as the scoreline indicates. First impression of the 2007s – as I’ve never seen them before – at this stage, they are missing a little at the top end. The elite difference-maker(s). But they are young and this just my first viewing. Brice Miller, who’s one of their best, was out hurt – that could factor certainly.

U14s DC2021 Game one
FC Dallas U14s in the Dallas Cup 2021, Game One.

Jeyden Arboleda – despite being pretty much the oldest player in this team – is the smallest player in the team. But he’s also the most influential in the offense. Nice player. He stays on my watch list.

Zach Molomo is a 2008 playing up and I can see why… and why he’s been mentioned to me. He’s not getting a lot of the ball in this game but his movement is really nice and in the action he got I can see some good quality.

Cayne Madhlangove I quite liked. He has a presence to the game. He played and right back and I enjoyed watching him play both.

I loved the mentality of left back Michael Cortellessa. He was constantly making aggressive forward runs and putting the opposition under pressure.

Joshua Torquato and Neo Che seemed to pretty much split time at left wing. Both made a positive impression.

Of the two center backs, Saul Guzman is the better game reader and all-around player but Myles Nicholes has the psychical size and attributes that made me write down, “Check back in 2 years and see if he’s a player.”

FC Dallas U19s

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Black Rock FC Residental Academy Northwood U190
FC Dallas U19s in Dallas Cup 2021, game One

Black Rock was a very big, fast, and direct team. Not a lot of nifty little triangle and tick-tac combos. It was a heavy get it and go style. The referee was letting a lot of physical play go but in an even fashion. A different ref might have seen multiple cards both ways.

Side Note: in a non-covid year with the SuperGroup, FCD could have used Ricardo Pepi and Dante Sealy in this tourney. Justin Che and David Rodriguez for that matter if not on loan. Not to mention Collin Smith and Beni Redzic who are with NTXSC full time these days it seems.

A really solid CB combo for FCD. Grady Easton has played with NTX already and Josh Ramsey (former Solar, USYNT, and SAFC) is heading to Notre Dame this fall. Both may be names you see again at the pro level.

Multiple guys played in spots I wasn’t expecting. Slade Starnes I thought was a center back. Ty Reynolds (2003 playing up) I expected at right back, he did move there later in the game but I liked him better as a wing. And Cesar Elizalde (2004 playing up) I thought was being tried at left back and he was playing free-8.

Speaking of Cesar Elizalde, he was the most influential attacking player on the day… and I wrote that down before he scored the game-winner. He could use a bit more burst but he’s a real quality player. Impressive game. Short but strong on the ball.

Antonio Carrera (a 2004 playing up) made 3 of 4 big saves to keep the shutout. Monster saves.

Ty Reynolds skills have jumped up since I last saw him about two years ago. He’s not quite as big and powerful as his brother but he won’t graduate till ’22 so may still mature some physically.

Riley O’Donnell had some nice moments at left wing. With some better shooting he might have had two.

Cesar Garcia (SMU commit) was smooth and calming as always. I like this kid’s game.

FC Dallas U17s

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I didn’t watch this game but someone was kind enough to send me this pic.

FC Dallas U17s in the 2021 Dallas Cup, Game One.

FC Dallas U13s

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FC Dallas U13s1

I didn’t see the 13s either. I don’t think I will go watch that low in age.

And that’s it for the Academy teams on Day One.


  1. Bummer that Miller and Bayless didn’t play with the U14s. They were the two that were making rosters with the ’06s the most often in the last DA season. I’m almost certain Nicholes was a ST at some point recently – like you say, one to watch and see if he can learn CB.

    Thanks for reporting on these games!

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