Otto Greule Jr
We've looked back at the moments that shaped the season, the resolutions and player evaluations. It's January 2013 and it's time to look forward to the season which starts in just two short months.
At the start of everything it's time to work out the new year's resolutions for FC Dallas. I'll list mine below, but if you have others feel free to include them in the comments. I couldn't possibly address everything.
Stay off the exercise bike
That pesky exercise bike. At times there were players practically lined up to use it during practice with all the injuries to the squad. In fact, it got so bad that FCD moved the exercise bikes inside towards the end of the year.
Simply put, the most important thing for Dallas is to simply stay healthy. The way this team is constructed is with a starting XI that can compete with anyone in the league, but depth remains an issue. If players like Brek Shea, David Ferreira and Ugo Ihemelu can play 25-30 games in 2013, this team is going to be very good. If injuries hit similar to the onslaught of 2012, this team doesn't have a prayer.
A fearful bench
Remember that game in San Jose where Steven Lenhart came off the bench and destroyed a tired FC dallas defense for two goals? Of the 42 goals that FC Dallas scored this season, just three came from substitutes. Three substitute goals in 34 games, and just one of those goals, Carlos Rodrigez's header against Colorado, was either a game-tying or go-ahead effort.
Obviously a lot of that has to do with the injuries Dallas suffered, but if they can't find players to come off the bench and change the game, they're going to struggle. Signings like Pipico are nice and perhaps FCD can find another young impact forward in the draft.
Get Zach Loyd locked up
Zach Loyd doesn't always get a ton of recognition, but the Oklahoma native led FCD in appearances with 32. He's a consistent and versatile performer that does his job without much fuss. He has a few things in his game that can be improved but at 25, he can be a huge part of this team for many years to come and has time to improve. However, rookies generally sign four-year contracts which would mean he's up after 2013. Get him locked up long term.
Hold onto your leads and protect your house
Making the playoffs in MLS is pretty simple really. Hold onto your leads and protect your home field. FC Dallas did neither in 2012. FC Dallas was 6-3-8 when scoring the first goal in 2012...dropping an astounding 22 points from winning positions. They ironically held an identical 6-3-8 record at home this year which is just not even close to where you need to be. No game typified both these shortcomings more than the Chivas USA game to end the season in which Dallas was cruising with a two-goal lead only to let it slip in the waning moments of the match.
Keep calm and pass Ferreira the ball
Dimitar Berbatov said it best, just get the ball to David Ferreira in good spaces and let him do the rest rather than trying to over complicate things by dribbling through five defenders. Looking at you Jackson.
Be patient with Brek Shea
Everyone wants Brek Shea to return to his 2011 form, but the fact is that Shea will return to the field in late February having failed to play a game in almost six months. It's not going to be a David Ferreira-like transition back to the pitch. Fans and coaches alike must be patient with Shea as it's imperative to have him firing on all cylinders in August rather than in April. Strong early-season performances from Jackson and Fabian Castillo could go a long way to helping with that.