The preseason for FC Dallas is a week old now. The club is rounding into their second week of two-a-days that will culminate on Saturday with a scrimmage.
As the club gets deeper into the preseason as February approaches, a few players are going to be having to prove themselves in big ways in order to stand out in 2013. For some guys it will be about proving they are worth using for playing time off the bench, for others it will be able keeping their starting position.
It is all still fairly early in the game and we'll certainly know more about this club in the coming weeks as they head to Mexico followed by a trip to Portland.
Here are the five I see in need of a big preseason.
Victor Ulloa - The young midfielder knows this is a make or break type of season for him. He lost two big teammates and friends in the offseason when the club waived Ruben Luna and Bryan Levya. Given how Ulloa signed around the same time as those two, he knows he has to come up with a big preseason to prove his worth to Schellas Hyndman and the rest of the technical staff. He has a big positional battle in front of him though, with Peter Luccin and Bobby Warshaw above him in the depth charts. Also, should Hyndman switch into a 4-4-2 this year, he'll also see Andrew Jacobson above him.
Bobby Warshaw - Speaking of Warshaw - the third-year midfielder also should know this is a big preseason for him as well. After struggling with injuries in 2012, and seeing the likes of Daniel Hernandez and Julian de Guzman ushered out in the offseason, Warshaw has a chance to break into the line up for good this preseason. He does have Luccin possibly ahead of him in the depth chart but Warshaw is a strong guy that wants to prove himself. He was itching to do so late last year.
Pipico - The early returns on the Brazilian haven't been great yet. But again it is still early. He won't unseat Blas Perez up front in the lone striker role but Pipico needs to show folks why the club brought him in last month. He has a month to really prove himself here.
Jackson - The veteran midfielder now has a little more pressure on his shoulders. With Brek Shea gone, he will absolutely have to step things up a notch in my mind. I think his counterpart Fabian Castillo will bring it this year but Jackson, a player who didn't get a full preseason a year ago and had other issues the season prior to that, has to prove that this is his year with Dallas.
Zach Loyd - Yes, this one may be a surprise but let me explain. This is year four for Loyd and Dallas which means it is a contract year for him. He will need to get off on the right path this preseason and have a big year to get a nice payout in the end. I see Loyd as a cornerstone of this club for years to come but this is a season that will define whether or not that will be the case.