Looking position by position to try and decipher the best draft strategy for FC Dallas
Having taken a look at a few factors, now it's time to look at where FC Dallas should look to improve on the field in this draft. I'm just going to look at every position and envision where Dallas can improve there rather than looking at the players available
There's not really any goalkeeper in this draft that would warrant spending either the #7 or #20 pick on. Andre Blake at UCONN is a can't-miss talent that will go in the first round, but he was not offered GA this year and will be back at UCONN for another season. It wouldn't shock me to see FCD take a flyer on a goalie late in the draft, but not in the first two rounds.
Here's where it gets interesting. A lot depends on the status of Ugo Ihemelu. If Ihemelu can play next year, Dallas has George John, Matt Hedges, Stephen Keel and Ihemelu, London Woodberry and even Zach Loyd to pitch in at center back. You can certainly see a scenario where Dallas could use a true #4 center back, especially if Ihemelu can't go, but I don't see this as a position where Dallas uses the #7 overall pick. A Generation adidas player like Walker Zimmerman could slide to Dallas at #7 which would open the conversation, but it doesn't make a lot of sense for me to have Dallas pick a starting-caliber center back early in the draft.
At outside back, Dallas has Loyd, Jair Benitez, Ihemelu(?), Woodberry and perhaps Kellyn Acosta as well. There's certainly a little bit of an opening for another outside back, should Ihemelu not play, but again, I don't see this as a spot you're going to find at #7. Perhaps an outside back like Kory Kindle of Cal St Bakersfield at #20 will be available though.
For me, there's a ton of options available in midfield that could work for FC Dallas. I think there's a huge hole at the winger position. FC Dallas has Brek Shea who probably won't be healthy early in the season as well as Jackson and Fabian Castillo who are all great, but there's nothing behind them. Ricardo Villar has never proven to be MLS-level on the outside and behind that there's really no true wing players on the roster. I can certainly see a situation where FCD targets a wing midfielder to fill that first-off-the-bench hole.
There's also definitely a possible need at central midfield. Defensive mid has only Peter Luccin, Victor Ulloa and Bobby Warshaw while Andrew Jacobson really doesn't have a true backup. I've seen a couple mock drafts that have FC Dallas targeting Plano-native and Notre Dame 2-way midfielder Dillon Powers with the #7 overall pick and you can certainly see where he fits with FCD.
At attacking midfield, I just don't see Dallas going in that direction. True attacking midfielders are very difficult to find in this draft and while Carlos Alvarez of UCONN or Creighton's Jose Gomez are certainly possibilities, they don't make a lot of sense to me or follow any sort of previous pattern from Schellas Hyndman.
Schellas Hyndman has drafted two forwards, Peri Marosevic and Andrew Wiedeman, in his MLS drafts and neither really worked out. With Blas Perez, Pipico, Bradley Baladez and Jon Top as the current forward crop, there's certainly a spot for a speedy, slasher-type forward that would be filled by Deshorn Brown of VCU. The big question is, will Brown drop to FC Dallas at #7? As I presented in the earlier piece, it wouldn't shock me to see Dallas trade up in order to grab a guy like Brown or perhaps JJ Johnson, but I really don't see Zavaleta falling to FCD or Dallas taking a look at a project forward like Kekuta Manneh.
There is, of course, the tried-and-true line of thinking that position be damned, you go with the best player left at #7. For FC Dallas, this would probably mean drafting whatever Generation adidas player was available. I generally don't hold to this line of thinking as you find yourself with an unbalanced team including players who have huge potential but never seem to realize it because they don't see the field. However, unlike 2011 where Dallas was absolutely going to take the best center back available, they come into the 2012 draft with two good picks and little holes all over the field that can be plugged so the opportunity is certainly there to simply take the best player they see fit to join FC Dallas