2011 Season in Review: Zach Loyd

FRISCO, TX - MARCH 26: Zach Loyd #19 of of FC Dallas looks to pass against the San Jose Earthquake at Pizza Hut Park on March 26, 2011 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images)

In a 2010 season of great stories, Zach Loyd's was one of the best. Drafted 5th overall by FC Dallas out of UNC in the 2010 draft, Loyd has turned out to be arguably Schellas Hyndman's best draft pick yet. Zach burst onto the scene starting 8 of the first 10 games of his rookie year and amassing 19 starts overall in a rookie year that saw him get some mention in rookie of the year talk. 

Loyd's rookie year was so solid it allowed FC Dallas to trade their star right back Heath Pearce to Chivas USA and hand a full time job to Loyd in the back four. Zach ended up starting 28 of 34 games this season for FCD with the majority of those at right back, though he did play at all three positions across the back four. While there was a bit of a sophomore slump at times, Loyd really came on towards the end of 2011 to produce a nice season. 

Keep reading for pros, cons, best moment and worst moment

Pros

Super Versatile Loyd is a guy that you can play at left back or right back without a problem, and it will be interesting to see if he is groomed to play at center back. Schellas has said in the past that he thinks his best position is center back, though Loyd has generally been used outside. There has even been talk of him moving to a defensive mid role in the past as he's certainly got the vision for it, though his size may hinder that. 

Perfect MLS player salary-wise You've got to think that Loyd will be locked up to a long term deal with Dallas at some point next season for around $100-$125k. He's proven to be a fringe-national team quality defender after just two years in the league and he's only going to improve. 

A Schellas guy Schellas likes guys who put their head down, work hard and do what the coach tells them. Loyd does just that, he's a good locker room guy and someone who you don't ever see causing any problems. Loyd can be a future leader on the squad if he wants to be. 

Best Moment

He was a huge part of the defensive scoreless streak, but if you had to pick one moment, as a defender you always have to pick his first goal scored against Portland in the 4-0 rout.

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Cons

Improve passing out of the back It's a small squabble, but Loyd is prone to turning the ball over out of the back on a regular basis. These types of turnovers are the ones that can really put a defense on the back foot and causes most of the goals from the run of play.

There's really not a lot else I can argue with. Maybe Loyd could get forward and overlap a little better, but I seem to remember him doing that on a fairly regular basis and he had a career high 4 assists this year, a good number from right back. 

Worst Moment

On August 20, Zach Loyd had to come off after just 24 minutes as he picked up a hamstring injury that would keep him out of action for nearly a month and cause him to miss a national team camp. Loyd would miss nearly a month of the season and wouldn't be 100% for awhile. 

Final Thoughts

Zach Loyd is a huge part of this team going forward and a guy that needs to be locked up long term. Loyd is quickly becoming a fan favorite amongst the FCD faithful and a guy that gives 100% every time he's on the pitch. There are rough edges that need to be smoothed out, but defenders only get better with time and I think Loyd is a guy that could be moved centrally as he refines his game and could potentially feature for the national team again. I gave him a B grade simply because he continued his development at a normal pace, but it would be a B+ if we did that sort of thing around here.

Final 2011 grade: B 

Previous Season in Review features: 

Schellas Hyndman

Fabian Castillo

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