Roster Spots Up For Grabs In Orlando

SANTA CLARA, CA - AUGUST 6: Scott Sealy #9 of the San Jose Earthquakes tries to keep the ball away from Jeremy Hall #17 of the Portland Timbers during an MLS soccer game at Buck Shaw Stadium on August 6, 2011 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The next week will certainly be telling for FC Dallas and manager Schellas Hyndman.

The club is set to embark on a week and a half trip to Orlando, Florida, for the Walt Disney Pro Soccer Classic tournament. Dallas will play four games - in the final preseason tournament - before heading back to Frisco to prepare for the New York Red Bulls' visit on First Kick.

While there are going to be a few big stories to watch for in Orlando such as David Ferreira's ongoing return to full strength, the formation and line ups used and whether or not guys like Blas Perez and Hernan Pertuz are ready for MLS competition.

For me the bigger question will be surrounding who is left on the roster on March 1.

Why March 1?

Simple, that is the MLS roster compliance date for all clubs. Teams will have to have their salaries and rosters for the season set.

As it stands right now FC Dallas has anywhere between two and five open spots left on the roster. By the middle of next week we should have a good understanding of who will be in those final spots.

Just exactly which spots are up for grabs? And who is in the running for them?

Each MLS side has 20 senior roster spots and 10 off-budget development spots. As it stands today, there should be at least three open senior roster spots and one to three off-budget spots.

Also, two of the senior spots don't have to be used. Keep that in mind. And teams can also keep a couple developmental spots clear and get a small chunk of allocation in return.

Three Senior Spots

Right now spots 17-20 are really open for discussion. Two players are still with the team on a trial basis but could sign next week when the roster compliance date hits. One other player could get bumped from developmental to senior.

Scott Sealy - The former KC and San Jose striker has shown pretty well so far this season and looks to have the inside track to get one of the final three senior spots. He'll be with the club in Orlando, which is honestly the best news he can get in terms of landing a spot. He also carries a green card (he's from Trinidad and Tobago), which certainly helps his cause.

Matt Hedges - Yes, the rookie from UNC could end up with one of the the senior spots when it is all said and done. More than likely his salary won't be a massive hit, which is why he would land there. It all comes down to whether or not Hyndman and company think they'll be able to land a player or two this summer.

Dogba - The Ivory Coast international has been with the team for a couple weeks now. Hyndman has raved over his pace and athleticism. A big week in Orlando could be his ticket to MLS.

Other options - Keep the final two spots open, sign Sealy and keep Hedges in the off-budget zone.

Three Off-Budget Spots

A lot of this comes down to whether or not Hedges will be on the senior roster.

Hedges - For arguments sake we'll assume he doesn't get bumped to the senior roster and he'll stay here. My money is on this to happen.

Alex Lee - The Supplemental pick from Maryland has shown well enough to still be with the club to this point. I'd expect him to land one of the final off-budget spots.

Christian Ibeagha - The former Dukie has been with the club all preseason. A former US U-17 national teamer, Ibeagha may finally be getting his career back on track after some nasty injuries a couple years ago.

Side Note

Sealy, Dogba, Lee and Ibeagha are all on the travel roster to Orlando. All certainly have a big week a head of them considering the numbers the club handed out to them. Sealy is wearing #31, Dogba has #39, Lee has #35 and Ibeagha will don #26. Numbers tell a lot in soccer, I'd say at least for the first three, those are trial numbers. Then again numbers can change a lot in soccer, especially in MLS.

No matter what it is a big week for those four. Nothing is official yet for them but by Thursday we should know something.

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