February is nearly up and so is half of the preseason. So far FC Dallas has played three Major League Soccer sides in preseason games along with one against a D-3 side and two scrimmages against college teams. In all the preseason has been interesting for the club so far. Winter weather caused a lot of issues early on and the first friendly of the preseason didn't go nearly as planned as the Houston Dynamo downed the club 4-0 in Corpus Christi, TX, two weeks ago.
Moving forward into this week's wrap up of the Florida trip, Dallas looks more and more like they are getting close to their normal selfs once again. The midfield is playing better, the defense is coming along more so as guys continue to get healthy and even the offense is starting to show up more than some had expected.
But with all the changes mean some players in camp are still left wondering what their status is for this season. With the expanded rosters and the no cap of Home Grown players that a club can have now, teams are having to take a closer look at those fringe players that are on the bubble for the roster.
Daniel mentioned in his 30 Tickets to March 19 on Monday that the club has a few bubble players. With probably three senior spots up for grabs and only one developmental spot left on the roster the fringe players are battling it out even more now than they were when camp started.
Below are guys I see on the bubble and where they stand in my mind in terms of a roster spot.
Senior Roster Spots:
Kyle Davies - He's one that is still likely to make the final roster and be in the senior 20 when the season starts. But just as Daniel mentioned his spot isn't entirely that safe. My gut feeling is he'll be one that has to continue to work on keeping his spot all season long.
Bruno Guarda - When the club brought in Andrew Jacobson last week it showed that Guarda's place wasn't totally sure anymore. As he graduated into the senior role from the Generation adidas class after last season, Guarda had to step up his game. So far the jury is out on whether or not he's done just that. It's a transitional year for Guarda, should he make the final cut he'll have to battle all year long to prove he is worth keeping long term.
Maykel Galindo - I think with each passing game Galindo is gaining more and more confidence once again. He's not nearly the player he was four years ago when he burst on the scene with Chivas USA but deep down he's still got a ton of fight left in him. You can tell that he's very close to that elusive first goal with the club too. Should he net one against Houston tomorrow in Orlando, you can bet he'll make the final roster cut. Plus, not having an international status hanging over his head certainly helps his cause, at least until Barry Goreman and Schellas Hyndman find that foreign striker that they've been on the hunt for.
Bruno Martins - The Brazilian midfielder hasn't had a ton of press since coming into camp. More than likely his status with the club isn't looking so good. (UPDATE: Just got word he's been released from camp.)
Roberto Lopes - Another trialist that has yet to really get a lot of press. He saw some action in the New England game the other day and nearly drew a penalty kick. Other than that he's probably well behind the other trialist in camp.
Likely to stick: Davies, Guarda, and Galindo. All could change should the club find a striker between now and the start of the season. I still think the club isn't done dealing players either. Once they get back from Orlando I think they'll have another move, likely moving one of these fringe players.
Charlie Campbell - Injuries to rookies trying to prove themselves in a tight camp like this are never a good thing to see. Campbell looked decent until his injury that has sidelined him for a couple weeks. Still his abilities are there and he could still get a look down at the final roster spot. I'd still say his chances are pretty slim though.
Alexis Pradie - Hyndman has been infatuated with this kid since day one it seems. He's played in nearly every preseason game except the Orlando one yesterday. Apparently Hyndman sees something that others like myself and Daniel don't in him. He's been the cause of a lot of goals so far this preseason which has to count against him. The biggest factor going against him however his is international status. With the club looking for an international forward to round out their allotment of international players, Pradie could see himself out of luck should the club find a striker worth signing.
Scott Gordon - Aside from a couple mistakes against Orlando last night I thought Gordon handled himself pretty well. At 6'5", he's a big defender, something Hyndman loves. I for one also agree with the notion of having big defenders like him as well. I think his chances of making the club are growing by the minute. The game against Houston tomorrow will tell us more about that.
Paul Ogunyemi - Bim has been used as a reserve in nearly every game this preseason. His athletic abilities are very nice and he's not afraid to take on defenders, which is very nice to see out of a rookie. The jury is still out on whether or not he'll have enough going for him to be that final developmental player this year or not.
Likely to stick: Gordon. Though I have a reach hunch it could be none of them and they sign yet another Home Grown Player before the start of the season, which would fill their development roster up.