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Match Day 9 - Where've you gone Fred Montero?

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FC Dallas
Founded: 1996 as Dallas Burn
Home Stadium: Pizza Hut Park, Frisco, TX
Record Since 2000: 102-111-45
All Time Scorer in MLS: Jason Kreis (91)
All Time Cups/Shields: 1 US Open Cup
2008 Record: 8-10-12, 36 pts, 5th in Western Conference
2008 Leading Scorer: Kenny Cooper (18)
2008 Keeper: Dario Sala (1.32 GAA, 7 Clean Sheets)
Key Player: Kenny Cooper is on a quest for 20 this year

Capsule: Dallas looks to put a 2008 behind them and take advantage of the goal scoring duo of Cooper and Cunningham in a 4-4-2 diamond with team Captain Pablo Richetti as the holding midfielder. Dave van den Bergh left Red Bull to come to the Dallas left wing where he will look to add more to the potent offense. There are still questions in the Dallas defense, as there are for almost every team that didn’t make the playoffs. Former Husky George John now starts in Center Defense which gives you another reason to watch this match on KONG 6/16 at 5:30 on May 16th.

Further Depth:
State of Dallas
Will the real Montero please stand-up?
Life Without Riley

Dallas is struggling, which isn't really news. It is a club that has always had trouble, and now more than ever. Their starting foreign keeper is out, and so they will look to the struggling Ray Burse to stop the Sounders rapid transition to attack. Burse is young and can still learn, but right now he's putting up a 1.79 GAA. Oddly FC D fans don't see Keeper as their biggest need, but instead list the following positions as more needy than the Keeper - centerback, center attacking midfielder, two fullbacks and a forward partner for Kenny Cooper. In fact it might be easier to say that the only needs that Dallas doesn't have are with Kenny Cooper, Dave van den Bergh, Pablo Richetti and with George John. And Richetti might be out with an injury.

Dallas played Jeff Cunningham up top in their last match, but for a majority of the season have played David Ferreira as Cooper's partner. Dallas is in such need of change that one time defender/midfielder Brek Shea practiced as the "other" forward today. Shea would provide significant height for vdB crosses and a solid second target. Brek is also part of the youth that should intrigue Hoops fans for their future, but have them concerned about right now. Five FC D players will be in youth competition over the summer (four GA players and Kyle Davies).

Where've you gone Fredy Montero?

The quick answer is Colombia. Seriously, a quick trip with a full day of travel (basically 12 hours each way) to see Mom and relax with family. The question is does he come back with more focus, or will he still be lost?

Because Fredy has drifted a bit, and doesn't pair with Freddie well. While Montero was out for his Red all Sounders fans had to like what they saw from Sebastien Le Toux. So, now does the team bench the Man of March so it can play the USL MVP of 2007? I don't know that it makes sense. I think being a top player in Colombia likely means that a player has more pure talent than being a top player in the US 2nd division.

But, pure talent isn't the only thing that determines the quality of a player. The player must have a head on their shoulders that implements the strategies of the coach. Currently we can all see that Montero has a bit of difficulty with that. Le Toux on the other hand has done whatever Sigi wants. Asked to play Left Mid, Right Mid and Withdrawn Forward he has done well in all positions, but has yet to capture a place to call home.

I don't know the answer, but I do have a suggestion.

Life Without Riley

Well, yes, that was a poor segue, but it will make much more sense as I remind you all that Seba once was an outside back in France. And then remind you again that James Riley plays line to line. He has made up for the preferred usage of Brad Evans as more of a center/defensive midfielder, rather than a wide right mid. The current formation demands that the Right Back come forward in attack often.

I see only two answers to that quest.

Evan Brown, but he may not be ready to start in MLS
Sebastien Le Toux.

Sure Seba prefers to be up top, sure he is a significant offensive threat, sure his defense isn't as strong as the other options, and certainly vdB would be a tough matchup, but Seba provides the club with the most similar talents and styles as James Riley.

Plus it gets Seba and Montero on the field at the same time, something that most fans would want to see.

Lastly this has the advantage of keeping Brad Evans in his standard role and an overlapping right wingback on his outside. Playing Seba would put the least stress on the rest of the club, as every other player would be in their exact same role.

I think he can handle it, but not like it.