FRISCO, TX - APRIL 22: Midfielder David Ferreira #10 of FC Dallas dribbles the ball past Tyrone Marshall #14 of the Seattle Sounders at Pizza Hut Park on April 22, 2010 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Happy New Year to all the loyal readers! 2011 was an up and down year for FC Dallas that saw a historic win in Mexico, the breakout of Brek Shea and many more exciting moments. We also saw what life is like without David Ferreira and the affects that fixture congestion can have on a thin team. The one thing 2011 wasn't was boring.
It was a pretty damn awesome year for this blog, the first full year of running it, as we were the first to break transfer news regarding Heath Pearce, Fabian Castillo, George John and the potential players coming this winter. The site did as much as nearly 50k page views in a month and things will only get bigger in 2012.
Now it's time for some new year's resolutions
Remember how good this team is with David Ferreira I was lucky enough to get a new iPad for Christmas and one of the things I've been obsessed with is watching old game highlights via the MLS Matchday App. One of the things that struck me about them is reminding myself just how good this team looks with #10 David Ferreira in the middle of the park. Last year left us with a bad taste, but there's a ton of reasons to think Dallas could return to MLS elite in 2012 and DF10 is at the top of those.
Begin grooming a replacement for Daniel Hernandez Captain Hernandez should be back strong in 2012 with a new contract and a cleaned up knee, but it's very optimistic to think he has more than a year left as a starter. Defensive midfield is arguably the most important position on the pitch and Dallas needs to begin to figure out who will replace Hernandez. Speaking of Hernandez...
Improve set pieces The set pieces absolutely have to improve. Hernandez's free kicks were nothing short of awful in 2011 and FCD has to find someone that can be a threat to score on a free kick from 25 yards out. Maybe this will be a focus in the draft and maybe David Ferreira's return improves things.
Resolve the George John situation George John will be an FC Dallas player heading into preseason 2012, it's his status for preseason 2013 that is the big question. You don't have the opportunity to lock up a defensive back four with three players who have been capped for their national team and that will be an opportunity FCD has once John gets into one of the January USMNT games. If you aren't willing to pay the contract number John wants then trade him to another MLS team that will or transfer him to Europe at a lower price. What can't happen is simply losing him for nothing at the end of this season as that leaves a whole on the squad with no return.
Watch Brek Shea It seems simple, but enjoy every second you get to watch Brek Shea because this is likely his last year in Dallas. Will he continue his development to become the best attacking player in MLS or will he hit a wall with all the games and travel between FCD and the national team. I can't tell you the answer, but it will be fun to watch.
Get the homegrowns on the field Ruben Luna, Victor Ulloa, Moises Hernandez and Bryan Leyva all turn 20 in February and March of 2012. Some are skeptical when I say this, but at least two of those guys should be making real contributions to the squad this season. Ulloa took a huge step forward towards the end of 2011 culminating with his first MLS game minutes while Luna and Leyva both impressed big time in reserve games at just 19 years old. Schellas has to find ways to get these guys some minutes, after being patient on these guys it's time to finally reap the rewards.
Organize a pub night I've been meaning to do this for awhile. I WILL organize a pub night, hopefully before the season starts, where we can get together and talk about the team with maybe a big name or two there and some prizes.
What are some of your 2012 FCD new year's resolutions?