Some of the most entertaining aspects of any pre-season are the roster battles. There's not a ton of them on FC Dallas as the starting XI is relatively set, but I've picked out five battles I'm going to be watching this pre-season as we barrel toward March 2. These could change big time depending on what players are brought in, but here's how it stands right nwo.
5 - Fernando Clavijo vs Time
So I'm getting a little creative with this one, but it's going to be very interesting to see if Fernando Clavijo can lock down a forward and a winger in time for them to get acclimated and ready for the start of the season. We all know how essential it is for Dallas to bring in another forward if they plan to go 4-4-2 and another winger is badly needed to back up Shea/Jackson/Castillo.
4 - Defensive Midfield
Every practice that Peter Luccin misses as he works to get his papers sorted out brings Bobby Warshaw a little bit closer. Both Warshaw and Victor Ulloa must challenge Luccin for that starting spot if they have long-term plans in Dallas and both are pushing very hard early in this pre-season to impress. Luccin's spot is fairly safe right now, but the longer he misses, the more opportunity is given to one of the youngsters to impress Schellas Hyndman.
3 - Backup Forward
Depending on whether FC Dallas stays at 4-5-1 or moves to 4-4-2, the backup forward could be a hotly contested battle. There's still a lot up in the air with this one depending on whether or not Clavijo brings in an unquestioned #2, but this is really a key position when you consider how much time Blas Perez will miss next year between World Cup Qualifying and possible Gold Cup game.s
2- Three Players for Two Wing Spots
I addressed this one earlier today, but it's worth mentioning again because it could be a battle that rages into the season. Brek Shea, Fabian Castillo and Jackson are three starting quality MLS wingers with only two spots between them. Castillo and Jackson will likely be the starters on opening day, but if Shea returns to action earlier than we had expected then there could be a major battle here.
1- Starting Goalkeeper
Initially, after Raul Fernandez was signed, I thought he would likely be the slam dunk starter, but after seeing Chris Seitz on Wednesday, I'm not so sure. Seitz dropped nearly ten pounds this off-season(that Hyndman said Seitz gave to him) and looks to really be in the best form of his career heading into this pre-season. This is going to be a battle that rages all pre-season and if Fernandez ends up a bit lacking on the match fitness side of things, don't be shocked if Seitz is the opening day starter.