Monday Lunch: For FC Dallas Selling George John Would be a Mistake

Posted: August 22, 2011 in mls, professional sports, soccer, sports
Tags: , , , , ,

By Evan Ream

Last week, I wrote about FC Dallas’ chances to win multiple trophies this year. Though Dallas’ loss to Seattle this weekend probably puts them out of the running for the Supporter’s Shield, they still have very good shots at the US Open Cup and MLS Cup (as well as the CONCACAF Champions League, which doesn’t end until next year), but there is just one problem: George John.

George John’s play isn’t the problem nor is his value to the team; the problem is what FC Dallas would lose if (more likely when) they lost him. According to multiple sources, John is just a work permit approval away from a move to Blackburn Rovers in the EPL. From Ives Galarcep’s Twitter, “Blackburn and MLS have reached an agreement on George John, but nothing signed yet. John still needs to secure Greek passport/ID.” There isn’t any doubt that this move would be good for both John’s career and the United States Men’s National Team if he chooses to play for them, but why is FC Dallas letting him go?

According to Galarcep, John’s contract runs through 2012, so he could walk for free after then giving Dallas more incentive to sell now, but why would they? Let’s assume that Blackburn are willing to pay $5 million for John. This assessment is probably high, but I think that we can agree that it won’t be more than that. FC Dallas have won just one trophy in their history (1997 US Open Cup). Is a $5 million check (probably less) a greater prize than a trophy? FC Dallas are by no means guaranteed to win one, but they’re a lock for the playoffs and in the US Open Cup semifinal. It is my belief, and the belief of many others, that if you have a chance to win, you should go for it.

According to the Castrol Index, George John has been the third best player in MLS this year behind Landon Donovan and Thierry Henry. I think Brek Shea has been better but John has still been the best defender in MLS this year, but that is beside the point. According to MLS rules, Dallas won’t even get the full transfer amount, so I ask again, is a paycheck really better than a trophy? Dallas may not win one, but if they don’t have John, they definitely won’t win. Saturday’s game versus Seattle exposed how weak FC Dallas is at center back in terms of depth. John and Ugo Ihemelu are arguably the best center back pairing in the league (it’s either them or Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave of Real Salt Lake), but their backups are not the same. In Salt Lake, if Borchers or Olave goes down they have Chris Schuler. In Dallas, if Ihemelu or John goes down they have Zach Loyd. Loyd is actually a very good player but only as an outside back. Dallas really don’t have any other options if either of these guys is unable to play; a Loyd-Ihemelu partnership isn’t good enough to win MLS Cup.

So why doesn’t Dallas wait? They can wait until after the season to sell him. Though his price would be diminished, they would still get something back and then have a whole offseason to find a replacement for him. At the very least, they should wait to sell until after their August 30 US Open Cup semifinal against Seattle. If they win this game they will win the final which will be against probably Chicago (24 points in 25 games in MLS play). A Loyd-Ihemelu partnership will be good enough to win the final especially with the possibility of a David Ferreira return. If they won that game, they would qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League again and then it wouldn’t matter as much what they did in MLS Cup.

My whole point in writing this is my failure to understand why Dallas would ever even consider selling John right now. Am I wrong? Can someone tell me something that I may have overlooked, at least from the perspective of a Dallas fan? I think FC Dallas would be wise to avoid selling, at least until the winter, but please, tell me if I’m wrong.


Update: the deal seems to be done

  1. […] is a new Post at Monday Lunch: For FC Dallas Selling George John Would be a …. Last week, I wrote about FC Dallas' chances to win multiple trophies this year. Though […]

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