Building for 2013: Forwards

Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

Part four of a series that discusses building the FC Dallas roster for the 2013 season.

I promise this section won't be nearly as long as the last. One final group to tackle in the Building for 2013 series, today is all about the forwards of the team.

To give a quick recap, check out the previous reports on the goalkeepers, defenders and midfielders. All of them help lead up to part in this piece as well.

Just to reiterate once more, this series is about projections and potential salary numbers for the team next year. Nothing is set in stone obviously but it is all to give you a little insight as to where things could be headed with FC Dallas.


Background information

For starters once again, something I would like to point out with is that the MLS salary cap this year was a little over $2.8 million and given how it should climb a little in the next year, I'm going to estimate that it goes somewhere between $2.9 million and $3.1 million in 2013.

MLS teams as most of you know can buy down a players salary with allocation, a number that seems made up on a case by case basis in some ways. But in all reality it is real and it does have a lot of meaning. FC Dallas will be getting some extra allocation this winter due to the fact that they failed to reach the post season. This is also known as the "you suck money" from the league.

In 2012, if you include the salary of Julian de Guzman, FC Dallas spend $4.8 million on their roster. This was all based on total compensation per the MLS Players Union. Those numbers are a tad rough and since Toronto was said to be paying de Guzman's salary. FCD paid about $3.5 million in 2011.

Typically each year returning players see an increase in their salary unless it has been agreed with the club that they make less, such in the case of Daniel Hernandez when he re-signed before 2012 to be a player-coach. His player salary dipped considerably from 2011 to 2012 because of that. Most returning players however will see a slight bump.


The Players

As weird as it may be, the forward unit is one of the smaller ones on the team. Right now today, the club has three forwards signed. I know some folks like to count Fabian Castillo and David Ferreira in that group as well but they are midfielders in my book. Attacking-minded midfielders but midfielders nonetheless.

We do have some questions going into the winter with this group, but not nearly as many as we did in the previous two.

1. Will Sealy be back? I know some of you absolutely hate the thought of keeping someone like Scott Sealy around but everything I've been told by current players on this team and some of the staff, they don't want to see Sealy go anywhere in 2013. They love the guy and at his current price of $50k, it is hard not to argue with that. He is another locker room guy, and is someone that works extremely hard in practice. He's also a good role model for the younger players according to some people.

2. Keep Top in or loan in out? Jonathan Top had a nice season with the club. He got some minutes, scored some goals and proved he was willing to put in the extra work. Next season will be a big year for Top as he looks to prove himself even more. Does the club keep him around or find some extra minutes for him in a loan? Honestly, I hope it is a bit of both. A part-time loan to San Antonio would do him well, with the club's ability to bring him back when needed. Loans did wonders for some players this year, look no further to Bright Dike in Portland. His move to a third division LA side really spark his career once he returned to the Rose City in the late summer. Top could see the same sort of help from a loan if the right one presents itself.

The Money

After the first three groups, we're already looking at a little over $2 million towards the cap for next season. Last year Dallas had two HGPs, which helped out a bunch towards the salary cap. Dallas actually spent far less than most clubs at the forward position, and that includes what they spent on Matias Jara ($60k).

Most clubs spend anywhere between $600k-$900k on their forward groups, with the high ends naturally being in LA and New York due to Thierry Henry and Robbie Keane. I doubt Dallas has anyone like that lined up to come play in the Big D anytime soon.

Time to look at each player and their salaries.

(Note: I've included some potential raises for some players below, it's not exact so don't get attached to those numbers!)

Blas Perez - $350k (he was at $309k last year, got a feeling the club will use allocation to pay this down)

Scott Sealy - $55k (a modest increase from his $50k)

Jonathan Top - $44k - HGPs do not count towards the salary cap

Total towards the cap: $405k

Needs and wants for 2013

Naturally the need for a second striker with/behind Perez is a big need this offseason. In my book it is the second biggest need for the club after the DM spot. With Perez likely to miss a slew of games in 2013 due to the World Cup qualifying, Dallas will absolutely have to go after another forward either in the SuperDraft or elsewhere.

Dallas needs to find someone that is the polar opposite of Perez too. Possibly a speedy option that is just a goal poacher like you see in Chris Wondolowski. Perez is excellent at holding the ball and setting up the offense as well but he could use a burner-type guy to go with him up front in late game situations.

Final Thoughts

The needs are pretty simple, add in a striker or two for depth. The price tags should be reasonable to get at least one really good striker in to assist with Perez. The other striker in the depth charts needs to be dirt cheap, just like Sealy.

I do think there are options within the league as well if the front office isn't able to go out in South or Central American and find a strike partner for Perez. I won't bring up the name Conor Casey again, I promise but there are plenty of guys worth looking at around the league.

I hope to recap this series either later this week or next week. In that final piece I'll try to give you a look at how much cap space is really left for the club to work with going into next year when they could have anywhere between six and 10 roster spots to fill.

In the meantime, where do you think the forwards group is heading? Do you see a glaring need outside of a quality number two? Is there anyone within the league that you think FC Dallas should go after in a trade?

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