Apr 5, 2012; Frisco, TX, USA; FC Dallas defender Zach Lloyd (17) congratulates defender Ugo Ihemelu (3) on scoring the game winning goal along with defender Herman Peruz (13) after the game against the New England Revolution at FC Dallas Stadium. FC Dallas beat the Revolution 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE
Something that was bouncing around my head(literally) on my daily run(humble brag) the other day was the thought that the lack of depth at FC Dallas is brought on by a strange gap in age groups on the roster. You have the young core of the team, led by guys like Brek Shea(22), Fabian Castillo(19), Matt Hedges(22), Bryan Leyva(20), Hernan Pertuz(23), Carlos Rodriguez(22), Bobby Warshaw(23) and now even a guy like Jackson(23). Then, you have the older core of the team with guys like Kevin Hartman(37), Daniel Hernandez(35), Ricardo Villar(32), Jair Benitez(33) David Ferreira(32) and Blas Perez(31).
What is missing from the roster are players from the ages of 27-30. You have a few guys who are close like Andrew Jacobson(26) and George John(25), but the only player on the entire roster who has seen a minute of action this season is captain Ugo Ihemelu(29) with Scott Sealy(30) as the only other player on the squad between 27 and 30 years old.
I went through every MLS roster(and I picked the 27-30 age group before looking, so the stats are not propped up by creativity on my part) and FCD's two players in that age group are by far the fewest in the league. Toronto FC is close with four players between 27 and 30, but the vast majority of teams have between six and eight players in that age group while a couple have over ten.
Keep reading for what that could mean, if anything
What do I think this all means? Well I think it shows the lack of proven, veteran depth that Dallas has to bring off the bench. Those two to three fewer veterans Dallas has on the roster can make the difference by bringing that calming influence off the bench that can help to see off a 1-0 lead in the last ten minutes or it could be that cagey forward who scores two or three huge goals every season.
Another interesting note that I take from this is that Dallas is really building a remarkable young core of players. If you add in Zach Loyd(24) to that list of young core players I mentioned, there's three pieces to the back four, three electrifying young offensive players and a calming defensive midfielder. If Schellas can keep it all together, that's a very, very strong core of players who haven't even hit 25 years old.
All of this information could mean pretty much nothing, there's no rule in MLS that says you have to have players of a certain age to win a championship. However, Dallas is a team that I believe is just a piece or two away from seriously contending for MLS Cup. Unfortunately, those pieces, proven veteran depth that is not nearing over-the-hill status, don't come cheap.