Memphis Faces Valentine's Day Test Against FC Dallas
Feb. 13, 2009
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Memphis men's soccer team will continue its series with FC Dallas of Major League Soccer on Sat., Feb. 14, at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas. This year's match-up will mark the fifth time in six years that the U of M has faced FC Dallas.
"We are really pleased to continue our relationship with FC Dallas," said Memphis head coach Richie Grant. "This game always seems to come along at a good time for us right at the start of the spring. I am really excited this year because we have such a young group of players. What an opportunity it is for all of our freshman to be able to compete against players from such a high level of soccer."
Saturday's match will be the first of the spring exhibition season for the Memphis men's soccer squad. The Tigers are coming off of a 2008 season which saw them finish 6-11-2, which was tied for third at the end of the regular season. The U of M earned the third seed in the Conference USA tournament, but ultimately fell in the first round with a loss to UCF, 1-0.
Returning from the 2008 squad is leading goal and point scorer Parker Duncan. Duncan, who was a freshman for Richie Grant's squad last season, finished strongly scoring six goals and tallying one assist on the season. Duncan was honored at the end of the season as a member of the C-USA All-Freshman team.
Also returning to the fold will be goalkeeper Michael Goodlett, a senior-to-be from Bolton, Miss. Goodlett claimed four shutouts in goal last season, including keeping a blank slate against Conference USA foes South Carolina and Kentucky.
The 2009 Tigers back will be anchored by senior Rick Alleman, who has appeared in almost every match in his three years with the U of M. Memphis is looking to replace seniors Michael Coburn and Thomas Hyland in the back. Coburn was a All-C-USA first team selection in his final season with the Tigers. Helping Alleman replace Coburn and Hyland, will be Rory O'Connor, a junior-to-be who joined the team last season after transfering from Lambuth, and Mark Weldon, a senior-to-be who transferred to Memphis last season from Appalachian State. Thomas Shannon, a freshman last season, will also move to the back after playing several matches last season at the midfield position.
FC Dallas is coached by former SMU head coach Schellas Hyndman, who took over the Dallas squad last season after coaching the Mustangs for 24 years. FC Dallas is led by forward Kenny Cooper who scored 18 goals and tallied three assists last season. Cooper joined the team in 2006 after spending two seasons with Manchester United.
In goal for FC Dallas will be Dario Sala, a 12-year veteran of proessional soccer. Sala posted a 1.32 goals against average last season while appearing in 28 games in goal.
Hyndman's FC Dallas squad finished last season with a record of 8-10-12, which put them in fifth place in the Western Conference of MLS.
Memphis will next hit the pitch for the Tim McCage Cup at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex, which will pit the U of M up against local teams Christian Brothers, Rhodes and Lambuth on Sun., March 1.