SANDY UT - NOVEMBER 6: Jair Benitez #5 Ugo Ihemelu #3 Daniel Hernandez #2 and George John #14. Which of them will be here next year? (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
For those few still harboring hopes of an epic turnaround, here are the numbers behind the hopelessness of FC Dallas playoff aspirations. They have "earned" 0.96 points per game so far. To have a reasonable shot at the postseason (51.5% according to Sports Club Stats), they'll need to average 2.18 PPG and reach 46 points overall. FC Dallas' remaining schedule have on average (double-counting those they play twice) allowed their opponents 1.33 points per game. If the disparity between 2.18 and 1.33 wasn't enough, FC Dallas will play 7 of their remaining 11 matches on the road. Now is the time for FCD to assess who will be in Frisco next year and beyond, and try to get value for anyone whose usefulness ends this season.
Unlikely to return in 2013:
There is no reason to think George John will be on FC Dallas in 2013. Great player, but he doesn't seem interested in extending, and FCD is stacked at center back anyway. After showcasing his health and abilities, FCD should be able to trade him to a title contender.
Jair Benitez is expendable. He's still useful this year, but he's already lost a step (though still faster than most in MLS). His game is highly reliant on his speed, and at 34 next year there is no reason to think his pace won't regress further. Carlos Rodriguez and Moises Hernandez will be smarter uses of his playing time going forward. A playoff contender that needs more bite and speed on the right side this year should be interested in Jair.
Further assessments after the jump:
Sticking around this season for better or worse:
Daniel Hernandez is also declining, but I can't imagine him having much trade value, and the clause in his contract makes it almost a certainty that he sticks around anyway. Hopefully his move from cleats to clipboards comes this winter.
Hopefully Scott Sealy won't be around in 2013, but I can't imagine another team wanting him anyway.
Personally I don't think James Marcelin projects very well, but like Sealy it's unlikely anyone wants him.
Past that everyone seems capable of contributing over the next couple years. Age doesn't yet seem to be affecting Hartman, Ferreira, or Perez in any terribly noticeable way. Hard to say what Villar has left, but it's doubtful FCD could get value for him right now anyway. Julian de Guzman is another interesting case. They should be exploring the possibility of an extension, and if it seems impossible re-trading him could be possible (assuming there's no provision in the CBA preventing a trade within a certain timeframe). At the same time, they'll always be favored to retain him if he stays in MLS.
FC Dallas' preseason for 2013 starts now. They have an opportunity to use competitive matches to mold this team into the squad it should be going forward. For me, that simply means trading or benching those unlikely to contribute next year (to review: John, Benitez, DH, Sealy, and Marcelin). Then make it clear to everyone else that they're fighting for their jobs come next year, and giving playing time to those who get their heads right and give the most effort in practice. See what people can do, and which pairings can develop chemistry with each other in competition.
When writing comments, I'd request that we debate mainly roster and playing time issues, which should be complex enough to carry conversation. We've spent enough space on Schellas-bashing, and surely will do so further in other places. These roster questions should be relevant regardless of who's coaching next year:
Who do you think should/could be traded or benched now?
Who should be getting more playing time?
Can you think of realistic (current reserve with low salary) trade targets within MLS?